by Hanson Logistics Hanson Logistics

Continuous Improvement “The Hanson Way”

Continuous Improvement “The Hanson Way”

The Hanson leadership team recently launched a new three-year strategy focusing on growth and enabling capabilities. The foundation of the strategy is known as “The Hanson Way.” This new effort will allow the organization to accelerate embedding a culture of continuous improvement and operational excellence. Building an environment that focuses on every teammate helping to improve our work.

To kick off this initiative, twenty of our top leaders gathered together to partake in numerous training exercises designed to improve Hanson’s internal processes. The training took a variety of forms all leading up to a final unifying experience, which combined the takeaways from previous lessons and culminated them into a concluding experience to see how our team-working processes had improved.

The simulation divided the Hanson leaders up into two competing teams to pack meals for Lifeline Christian Mission to benefit families in Haiti. Once the groups were separated into their competing teams, they completed three rounds of meal packing, which lasted 20 minutes each. In between each round, the teams met for 45 minutes to improve their process.

The teams took different approaches and implemented quite different improvements, yet both teams saw impressive results. In the first round, each team created and packed approximately 216 meals each. After two rounds of process improvement, each team packed around 850 meals each.

“It was an amazing experience for everyone involved,” said Ken Whah, Executive Vice President of Hanson Logistics. “Not only did we pack 4,590 meals in one hour for Haitian families in need, we were also able to apply our learning and there was a 400% improvement in production output in a very short amount of time.”

As we continue to implement The Hanson Way, management looks forward to creating an environment where ideal behaviors are evident in every teammate, and the meal packing experience training is the perfect embodiment of that ideal. The Hanson Way will now be rolled out to all Hanson teammates and meal packing will be an integral part of every training moving forward.

Yes, We Can!

by Hanson Logistics Hanson Logistics

Thank You, Mr. Hanson.

Thank You, Mr. Hanson.

Merlin-HansonMerlin Hanson was recently appointed Chairman Emeritus of Hanson Logistics, following a decades-long successful career in tool and die, logistics and automated equipment systems. Mr. Hanson was Chairman of the Board since he purchased the company in 1989. Hanson Logistics is just one of several thriving companies Mr. Hanson has built during his career. He shares that of all of his successes, he is most proud of the employees he has been able to work with over the years. “We’ve been fortunate to build major companies into fine operations with great people, offering them good wages and benefits,” Merlin said. “That’s overall what I’m as proud of as anything.”

A Tool Man at Heart

After an honorable discharge from the Navy, Merlin began learning the toolmaking industry as an apprentice. He soon worked his way to a supervisory position. During this time, he was able to continue gaining experience building a team of dedicated staff, which he grew from 20 to 100 employees under his watch.

A Logistics Company Bears His Name

 A toolmaker by trade, Mr. Hanson stepped out of the machining arena to purchase Southern Michigan Cold Storage in the late 80’s. Under his leadership, he drove a company rebranding to Hanson Logistics. The company has since grown to nine facilities in Michigan and Indiana, employing 300 Teammates, with a refrigerated transportation fleet and the country’s largest and most successful frozen food consolidation program located in Hobart, Indiana.

A Vision for the Future

 A key consideration for Merlin within his various organizations is the impact that they have on the surrounding community and to the families of current and potential employees. “Our purpose is to create an environment that is comfortable to move into, with good schools. I think that’s part of the responsibility for people who employ others in the area,” he said.

Building for Upcoming Generations

From beginning his career as an apprentice to leading several successful companies, Merlin understands the importance of training future generations. With a passion for growing his companies and also supporting and encouraging his employees and bolstering the surrounding communities, Hanson continues to advocate for individuals and families in the area. Through apprentice programs and with upward growth within the organizational ranks, Merlin has established an ongoing legacy that will benefit many people for years to come.

by Hanson Logistics Hanson Logistics

U.S. Growers Thrive as Consumers Load Up on Fruits and Veggies

U.S. Growers Thrive as Consumers Load Up on Fruits and Veggies

Spring planting time is here and as the produce season kicks into full gear it looks as if 2018 will be another good year for the nation’s food growers. With consumer tastes continuing to tilt in the direction of fresher, local, and more wholesome meal options, the companies that supply fruits and vegetables are in high demand. According to Packaged Fact’s Fresh Produce: U.S. Market Trends and Opportunities report, consumers’ consumption of fresh produce grew steadily—albeit modestly at about 1.3%— between 2011 and 2016. Those moderate annual gains are expected to continue over the next several years through 2021. “Fruit and vegetable producers benefited from steady growth among the U.S. population, as well as from the fact that all age groups have high usage rates, especially Gen X adults,” says Packaged Facts’ David Sprinkle in a press release. “Fruits and vegetables are expected to continue experiencing growth in niche areas as consumers persist in seeking out novel flavors from around the world. Increases in disposable personal income will support purchases of premium fruits and vegetables, including non-GMO, organic, and locally grown types. Also, marketing strategies focusing on health and the delicious taste of fresh produce will help fruits and vegetables to expand their appeal and per capita consumption.”

Millennials Love Frozen Foods

Frozen foods are on a tear this year, and both fruit and vegetable growers are benefitting from consumers’ renewed interest in frozen options. Forty-three percent of Millennial shoppers said they have purchased more frozen foods this year than last year, according to a new report from Acosta. The frozen food revival also crosses generational lines, with 27% of GenXers, 19% of Baby Boomers, and 19% of the Silent Generation are also buying more frozen this year. Acosta attributes the growth to several industry trends, including:
  • Convenience drives prepared meals, and frozen meals enable consumers to have a stock of meals whenever they are out of time/ ideas/ fresh ingredients
  • Health and wellness – frozen food enables companies to offer longer shelf life without preservatives; textures are maintained without the use of artificial ingredients, and manufacturers are able to offer niche products at a better price point, including vegan options.
  • Better value for the money – hectic, unpredictable meal consumption leads to a staggering amount of food waste, and frozen food decreases the amount of food spoilage.
  • The rise of breakfast – with the search for new breakfast options, consumers are warming up to breakfast sandwiches and other frozen baked goods.

Nutritious and Natural Both Rank High

Right now, Food Industry Executive says grocery shopping preferences are “trending heavily toward nutritious, natural foods from transparent manufacturers that share their health goals.” Successful manufacturers are following suit, the publication reports, while convenient and healthy frozen options from restaurant-style appetizers to full dinners and desserts are “revitalizing the frozen food aisle, despite the common belief that fresh trumps frozen.” Packaged Facts points to the Green Giant brand as a good example of how frozen food marketers are getting back on track. The brand changed hands in November 2015, when B&G Foods purchased it from General Mills for $765 million and began breathing new life into the brand. In less than a year it was rolling out a series of new and innovative Green Giant frozen products, including veggie tots, a “kid-friendly, mom-approved alternative to potato tots and French fries that are filled with vegetables such as cauliflower or broccoli instead of potatoes; riced veggies, made from 100% vegetables and with no sauce or seasoning, are positioned as alternatives to traditional rice; and mashed cauliflower, an alternative to the typical potato side dish. “Since the acquisition of this iconic brand, we have been working tirelessly to meet consumer desire for new, delicious ways to incorporate more vegetables into their daily lives,” Robert Cantwell, chief executive officer of B&G Foods told Packaged Facts. “This consumer desire has inspired the creation of new Green Giant frozen innovations, as well as the brand’s modernized persona, with the intention of bringing back the Green Giant with a purpose — adding more vegetables to America’s plates.”

Addressing Logistics Challenges

As produce season heats up, both manufacturers and their logistics providers are keeping an eye on capacity, rates, regulatory changes, and other issues that could impact their supply chains. With U.S. crop volumes growing between May and July—and due to the time-sensitivity of such shipments—expect available frozen and refrigerated capacity to shrink and rates to rise accordingly. “Tight U.S. truck capacity and rising rates marked the first quarter of 2018, and the outlook for the remainder of the year is more of the same, if not worse,” JOC reports. “That is the dilemma for shippers of perishable goods, especially food, who are seeing growing demand from buyers, on the one hand, tempered by a capacity crunch on the other.”