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Having the site flexibility to not only turn the temperature dial but to compartmentalize the asset...

requires significant capital investment.”

goods, however, entails a wide range of storage temperature requirements. A room full of strawberries, for example, will not thrive in the same room as ice cream. “Cold treatment for produce is different than it is for vegetables than it is for bakery. Thus, having the site flexibility to not only turn the temperature dial but to compartmentalize the asset by building walls in rooms that are flexible enough to match shifting demand requires significant capital investment,” notes Fowler. “One of the most difficult things to do in this industry is to forecast what demand is going to be two, three and four years out. Skew proliferation in our grocery retail outlets is exponentially higher than what it was 10 years ago, so that corresponds with the complexity and variety of temperature zones that we need to support for downstream distribution activity,” he adds. “The best way that we’ve found to do that is through collaboration on what demand looks like and what’s needed.” Americold works with it partners to understand the temperature profiles of the participants in their markets. This creates an opportunity to have flexibility in the types of products its partners can serve and is especially important, Fowler says, when retrofitting an existing facility.

Americold

Carl Fowler, senior vice president of regional sales, Americold

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“You have to have a strong view on what the market demand is in that geography before you invest all that capital to convert an existing facility,” he adds. According to Greg Lehmkuhl, president and CEO of Lineage Logistics, companies have been forced to move closer to their customers in order to create these profiles, which help them understand and predict their customers’ buying behavior. In turn, cold storage facilities are now also moving closer to their customers. “By collaborating and sharing data with both the suppliers and the retailers, we are helping to dramatically change the way product moves through the supply chain and ensure fresher, more convenient items that are available when and where the consumer wants it,” he adds. In addition to a shift in asset location and variable temperature capabilities, the modern cold stor-

age facility has become increasingly complex, featuring more automation, robotics and technological innovation. New facilities often feature infloor heating to prevent moisture from freezing and to prevent the cement from cracking, as well as internal storage areas to support different temperature zones. Drains and water reclamation plans are common when dealing with produce or floral, and the ability to handle other value-added services is essential. Fresh produce that has a short shelf-life such as apples, oranges and kiwis require quicker turns, which means your warehouse also must be able to support increased traffic to and from your facility. “Our customers are looking for more complex supply chain solutions,” adds MTC Logistics’ Ferguson. “When I got into the cold storage side of the business almost 20 years ago, it was really about moving a lot of full pallets through the facilities. Now, we’re touching cases constantly. We also have customers that are looking for us to do different things that might traditionally be done at the processing plant.” MTC Logistics broke ground in December on a 300,000 squarefoot, $58 million, cold storage facility on property owned by the Alabama State Port Authority in Mobile, Alabama. This new facility will feature advanced automation and technology to address a lack of labor availability and the increased turns required for temperature-sensitive product. Specifically, a relatively new-to-the-U.S. technology called mobile racking will increase the number of rack pallets in position within a facility to maximize space, which is especially important in facilities around ports and on the East Coast and the Southeast where there’s a limited amount of land at a premium cost. MTC Logistics is also considering the installation of an automated storage and retrieval system (ASRS), which is even more automated than a mobile racking system. “[In Mobile] we’re looking to be www.foodlogistics.com

3/1/19 11:34 AM

Profile for Supply+Demand Chain/Food Logistics

Food Logistics March 2019  

Food Logistics is the only publication exclusively dedicated to covering the movement of product through the global food and beverage supply...

Food Logistics March 2019  

Food Logistics is the only publication exclusively dedicated to covering the movement of product through the global food and beverage supply...