VersaCold on the evolution of cold chain logistics and 3PL/4PL
Whether it’s through distributors, producers, manufacturers or retailers, the food industry is constantly evolving. From new buying trends to shifting regulations, there are many recent factors that have been impacting the industry around the globe. And as consumer demands continue to change, supply chains must continue to evolve with them.
This evolution also creates a greater demand for technology supported solutions and controls. VersaCold’s technology is constantly innovating and improving to ensure they remain on the cutting edge of temperature controlled logistics. In addition, as companies focus on core competency outsourcing all of (or portions of) their supply chain to experts like VersaCold continues to be an option used by an increasing number of companies.
Rick Tremblay, Senior Vice-President & General Manager, VersaCold Transportation Management & 4PL Solutions, is among those who have witnessed the cold chain industry evolving. He shares its most recent changes and how 3PL and 4PL providers can stay ahead of the curve during these changing times.
Food Safety and Increased Regulations – not a bad thing
Food safety regulations have increased drastically in the last few years. As one of the world’s safest food supplies, Canada, through its Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), has also made significant changes. Other major countries are doing the same.
“You want your food safe for consumption”, says Tremblay. “From the time it’s picked or processed, to the time it’s on your plate, monitoring temperature in the cold chain is a critical aspect. VersaCold’s sole focus is food. Our investment in food safety has been an important underpinning of the company’s value proposition. Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) is a given in today’s world, but having access to a Cold Chain Assurance team whose number one commitment is food safety and quality, has given VersaCold’s customer base a leg up. Our investment in our Cold Chain Assurance team allows us to work closely with our customers providing resources unmatched in the industry, creating a conversation well above the basics”, says Tremblay.
The bottom line is this: consumers are concerned about food safety. Because of this concern, regulations around the globe are being strengthened to ensure effective tracking of food products throughout the cold supply chain. These improved controls, along with the upcoming development of blockchain, will ensure complete control in leveraging technology and promote greater safety across the cold chain.
Outsourcing to a specialist drives success and competitive advantage
Tremblay believes the advancements in technology over the years have contributed to customers outsourcing portions of their supply chain. “VersaCold equips all of its road transportation with multiple types of sensors. Through our operations center, we monitor temperature, door openings, and mechanical operations of our fleet as it travels throughout North America. This allows our operations team to proactively respond to alerts. Given our business is solely food, we can make large investments to improve efficiencies and integrity in this area”, says Tremblay.
VersaCold’s in-house team of supply chain engineers and consultants works closely with their customers to understand their strategic and supply chain goals and determine their optimum inventory levels and best warehouse locations. From there, VersaCold is able to find a specific solution to meet a customer’s needs, whether they’re looking for speed to market, on-shelf availability, cost savings, reduced capital, or other key organization goals.
“Outsourcing to an industry-specific 3PL or 4PL gives our customers a tailored solution”, says Tremblay. “Our 3PL group provides asset based solutions including Dedicated Contract Carriage, dedicated warehousing or production, and other customized 3PL solutions. Partnering with an industry expert allows our customers to use their capital for their prime area of focus, which isn’t typically trucks and warehouses.”
VersaCold’s qualified 4PL service team provides services including customs brokerage, freight forwarding, intermodal transport, shared warehousing, and management services anywhere in the world. These non-asset based services offer VersaCold customers flexibility to shift their supply chains quickly to meet dynamic market needs or where volumes don’t warrant a dedicated 3PL service.
The changing customer
The changing demands of consumers are creating further complexity and demands in the food supply chain. Customers are now focused on high quality, easy to prepare and ready to eat food products. Which in turn demands for greater availability, shorter shelf lives, freshness and the need for SKU proliferation. And because the food supply chain is becoming more global and using more unique inputs, the complexity is even greater, in many cases, working against the changing needs.
“Companies are looking to VersaCold as industry experts to provide its core expertise in Supply Chain Services specifically focused on food products”, says Tremblay.
Today, having an effective cold chain partner offers a competitive edge. VersaCold’s innovative 3PL and 4PL services are designed to do just that.