PRODUCERS AND SUPPLIERS of refrigerated and frozen food products have several goals in mind when their freshly made and packed items are ready for shipment to points all around the nation and, often, to places all around the world. Those goals include:
• Using the best transportation means available, balancing considerations about reliability, safety, efficiency, and economy.
• Keeping the products free from damage and spoilage.
• Getting the products to the end supplier/customer in the right quantities, at the right time, and at the highest quality possible.
• Maintaining the optimum wholesale price for the products.
As key links in the cold food chain, public refrigerated warehousing (PRW) operations work daily to help food suppliers — their customers — achieve their transportation, distribution, and business goals.
PRW companies don’t just store and refrigerate products and keep a watchful eye on product temperature and integrity; they help to manage inventories for the original shippers. It’s all about good customer service. That’s especially true in the case of forward inventories, or bulk shipments that are maintained in intermediate storage for final distribution (to grocers, restaurants, hotels, etc.) in staged intervals and quantities.
Computer software is the critical element in modern inventory management at PRWs worldwide. Refrigerated warehousing involves hundreds, if not thousands, of moving parts, but software helps to keep track of those parts and make inventory management relatively seamless. The software keeps tabs on everything — from the products on hand and the companies that shipped them to critical product creation and best-sell-by dates. For example, if a product has been kept in warehousing for a lengthy time, the software can raise a computerized “red flag” and produce a critical-date report. PRW managers then can use that report to notify the producer-supplier that a buyer for the product needs to be quickly secured.
If PRWs didn’t have the inventory software, they likely would have to quadruple the number of people on the payroll — and devote a lot of their floor space for storage of paper records.
This column is sponsored by Adams Cold Storage, LLC.
column by BEN ADAMS, JR.
BIO: Ben Adams, Jr. is an owner and president of Adams Cold Storage, LLC, in Auburndale. He has been directly involved in citrus production, warehousing and distribution, as well as state and community support, since 1980. His facility incorporates about 200,000 square feet of multitemperature warehousing, with an extensive expansion project currently under way.