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streamline food logistics

How 3PLs Can Help Streamline Your Food Logistics

Nathan McGuire
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February 3, 2023
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How 3PLs Can Help Streamline Your Food Logistics
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Let’s face it. Food shippers don’t get enough credit. Consumers depend on them everyday so we can eat. Most people outside of logistics don’t stop to think about the complicated network of interconnected supply chains that exists in order to bring millions of pounds of food to our favorite grocery stores. Before the products reach the store shelves, food companies are responsible with sourcing all the ingredients and packaging materials; in their production facilities, factory workers manufacture our favorite products, while farm workers pick our favorite fruits and vegetables. Food shippers and their 3PL service providers also oversee the distribution and transportation of all the time-sensitive commodities that appear on store shelves. This elaborate process helps feed hundreds of millions of people each day, making food logistics one of the most critically important industries in North America.

The food logistic industry faces a variety of daily challenges in maintaining their vast supply chains. A Freightwaves article published last year reported on the massive labor shortages facing warehouse and distribution centers throughout the United States. These concerns place strains on production and operations as businesses struggle to fulfill a high volume of orders. Even when trucks are loaded and gone from the pickup, shippers struggle with poor route optimization, tracking and tracing issues, and poor communication between carrier partners and logistics coordinators. Facing these challenges, many food shippers depend on 3PLs to help streamline their supply chain. This article takes a closer look at how transportation service providers that specialize in food logistics are helping shippers streamline their supply chains and ensure on-time delivery.

What is 3PL Food Logistics?

3PL food logistics is a management process that oversees the elaboration, packaging, labeling, warehousing,  transportation, distribution, and delivery of food products from a supplier to the end customer. This complex system involves careful planning to ensure products maintain proper handling, are stored at the correct temperature and humidity requirements, and are traced and tracked correctly through every touch point in the supply chain. All of these steps must be properly met to ensure that the end product is delivered on-time and in full. Food shippers who partner with 3PL food logistics professionals look for companies that specialize in food and beverage logistics and supply chain solutions.

How do 3PLs Help Streamline the Operations of Food Shippers?

Some 3PLs that specialize in hauling food-grade commodities can offer a variety of flexible services designed to help food and beverage shippers streamline their shipping operations, including:

Warehouse and Distribution Services

Food shippers depend on ample storage space that includes temperature-controlled environments to make sure their products are fresh and safe for consumers. Throughout the year, many food shippers outsource their warehousing and distribution with 3PLs like Wicker Park Logistics, to help ensure their company has ample storage available to be prepared for seasonal surges in purchase orders. 

Food shippers also turn to 3PLs to provide practical solutions to help manage and optimize facility-specific operations. Automation is helping shippers streamline food logistics by reducing the time spent on manual data entry and on operational procedures. 

On-Demand and Well Vetted Capacity Sourcing

Time-sensitive freight needs dedicated capacity to ensure products deliver on time at the customer’s door. The cost of maintaining capacity through an in-house fleet is often too expensive for most food shippers, who instead turn to 3PL food logistics providers to fulfill service needs. Fresh produce, frozen, and cold food shippers require properly maintained food-grade reefer trailers to transport their perishable commodities.  Cold chain food shippers turn to experienced food logistics partners with a large network of dedicated reefer and dry van capacity available to maintain their supply chains year round. 

Real-Time Visibility and Tech-Enabled Solutions

Whether the product is getting picked up from a farm, distributor, or shipping terminal, food shippers need peace of mind from their carrier partners that the time-sensitive products were loaded properly on the truck and delivered on time. Good communication between truck drivers, logistics coordinators, and shipping managers are what separate good carriers from the rest of the pool. Modern 3PL food logistics partners like Wicker Park Logistics offer food shippers value-added incentives such as TMS enabled visibility on the entire lifecycle of each load. Their custom portal allows shipping managers to track and monitor all shipments, and the ability to organize their data into an easy-to-use platform.

Strengthen your Supply Chain with Wicker Park Logistics

Food shippers across North America depend on Wicker Park Logistics each day as their main provider for handling their time-sensitive food logistics. Whether your company ships alcohol, frozen, dry goods, or bulk supplies, Wicker Park Logistics will build dedicated capacity around your shipping lanes. Their on-demand dry and reefer capacity is carefully vetted, ensuring the best trucks are sourced on your loads. Wicker Park Logistics helps food and beverage shippers optimize their shipping, providing end-to-end visibility, up-to-the-minute tracking updates, and complete supply chain management when you need it most. Don’t wait until your current provider makes a mistake!  Call an Expert at Wicker Park Logistics today!

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