Food Logistics March/April 2023

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Learn more about wearables, drones, robotics, emerging technologies and more.



food retail requires fi rst-class logistics.

European SC AWARD 2022 - honor for E.LECLERC Socamil and WITRON.

The „Supply Chain – Project of the Year 2022“ Award for the best European logistics project of the year was presented by the European Logistics Association (ELA) to the French food retailer E.LECLERC Socamil and its project partner WITRON. Both companies were awarded for the design and implementation of the new fully automated omni-channel / multi-temperature distribution center in Castelnaudary. In addition to the implemented OPM solution in the dry and frozen food area, the world’s debut FPM will be used for the fi rst time for the picking of fresh and ultra-fresh items.

E.LECLERC Socamil and WITRON were able to convince the international jury of experts with a variety of criteria that were successfully implemented “end-to-end” - economically, ecologically, with the focus on customers and employees.

General contractor for the design, realization, and operation of logistics and picking systems for retail business, e-commerce, and industry.

ON THE MENU March/April 2023 ISSUE NO. 230 14 COVER STORY How Warehouse Automation Keeps Cold Food Chains Moving While warehouse automation may mean different things to different companies, at the end of the day, the various solutions and technologies help keep cold food chains moving. COLUMNS FOR STARTERS 04 Women in Supply Chain Award Comes to Food Logistics Editor-in-chief Marina Mayer discusses the Women in Supply Chain award, which now also includes women in the cold food chain. DEPARTMENTS 06 Farm To Fork 10 Food on the Move WEB EXCLUSIVES SOFTWARE & TECHNOLOGY Supply Chain Visibility Transforming Food Logistics Roambee explains the importance of improving supply chain visibility. 30 SAFETY & SECURITY Sustainable Packaging Regulations in 2023 BHI provides 3 ways to get ready for new packaging regulations this year. 32 WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT 6 Ideas to Change Supply Chains in 2023 EY details how supply chains can assess and rebuild in 2023. 33 3PL/COLD CHAIN Best Practices in Cross-Border Perishable Transport Transporting perishables across borders can be tricky. Experts break it down. 22 WAREHOUSING Warehousing Challenges in E-Commerce Labor shortages, real estate costs and increased speed in click-to-ship orders. 25 TRANSPORTATION Reshoring the Food Supply Chain The Reshoring Institute details why now is the time to rethink and reconstruct global supply chain strategies. 26 • Premium Content:Insights, Trends, Technology, Best Practices • Women in Supply Chain Forum • Supply Chain Network Virtual Summit MARCH/APRIL 2023 | FOOD LOGISTICS 3



Three years ago, we created and launched the Women in Supply Chain award, designed to honor female supply chain leaders and executives whose accomplishments, mentorship and examples set a foundation for women in all levels of a company’s supply chain network.

This award has always been exclusive to Supply & Demand Chain Executive’s audience… until now!

New this year, we are expanding the reach and mission of our Women in Supply Chain award to now include the women in the cold food chain.

Gender diversity continues to be top of mind for many of today's supply chains. In fact, women only occupy 21% of supply chain’s VP and senior director-level positions, a dip from 2021, according to a Gartner report. Yet, another 85% of supply chain organizations are implementing initiatives focused on gender diversity recruitment.

While the supply chain industry

is excelling at incorporating more women in the supply chain, there's still more work to be done.

This award is a way for female leaders across all supply chains, including the cold food chain, to be honored, recognized and celebrated for their achievements in the supply chain and logistics space.

Who is eligible? Executives, operators, managers, truck drivers and more. If this female nominee works in the supply chain, she is eligible.

Women leaders can self-nominate, but nominations can also come from suppliers, vendors, customers, co-workers, PR/marketing firms and/or the companies themselves.

Nominations close Friday, July 14.

Furthermore, all nominees and winners are encouraged to attend our second annual Women in Supply Chain Forum, Nov. 14-15 in Atlanta. Go to to register.

Go to to learn more about the award.

Want to be notified when the award opens up? Just email me!


Editor-in-Chief Marina Mayer

Managing Editor Alexis Mizell-Pleasant

Associate Editor Emry Lloyd


Audience Development Manager ....................... Angela Franks


Senior Production Manger Cindy Rusch

Art Director Willard Kill


Brand Director Jason DeSarle

Account Executive Brian Hines

Account Executive Jay Gagan


Chief Executive Officer Ron Spink

Chief Financial Officer ........................................ JoAnn Breuchel

Chief Revenue Officer ..........................................Amy Schwandt

Chief Digital Officer Kris Heineman

VP, Audience Development Ronda Hughes

VP, Operations & IT Nick Raether

Content Director Marina Mayer

Director, Online & Marketing Services Bethany Chambers

Content Director, Marketing Services Jess Lombardo

Director, Demand Generation & Education Jim Bagan


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You Should Mark Warehouse Floors Efficiency. Speed. Accuracy. All are critical factors for a well-run warehouse or DC. And all are enhanced by a properly marked floor. Get Organized Floor striping pairs with overhead barcode signs to organize bulk items for fast and efficient placement and picking. They divide spaces, highlight hazards, direct traffic and support OSHA safety guidelines, too. Ready to earn your stripes? ID Label is one of the nation’s leading providers of floor striping services. We’ve also got you covered with custom engineered rack and LPN labels, signs and nationwide installation. Contact us today to request samples or a quote. 800-541-8506 • When We do The Barcodes, You Can Do More

Quiet Quitting in Packaging Industry

“Quiet quitting” has plagued several industries of late, and the packaging industry isn’t immune. For decades, packaging professionals have been asked to do more with less and have often remained behind the times as other industries digitally transformed. Matthew Wright, founder and CEO, Specright, outlines the personnel challenges impacting packaging and how the right tools, resources and engagement can provide an immediate impact.

Scan the QR code to learn more.

Boosting Plant Operations and Employee Retention

While maintaining the same operating standards year-over-year is important to ensuring boxes are continually checked across the board–from informative touring, onboarding and training to daily safety procedures and more–refreshing a plant’s approach with new, innovative solutions can take efficiency to the next level. Rick Farrell, president of PlantTours, outlines why clear communication, employee feedback, up-to-date safety protocol and training opportunities are imperative for smooth operations and employee peace of mind.

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Disaster Aid Access

The American Logistics Aid Network (ALAN) launched an initiative, with funding through a Walmart Foundation grant, to help non-profits build stronger disaster supply chain networks. The ALAN project will provide disasterfocused non-profits with the opportunity to learn and apply a variety of best supply chain practices that have been gleaned from other humanitarian organizations as well as the commercial logistics community. The project will also create a stronger framework for more frequent logistics collaboration between non-profits and private businesses.

Scan the QR Code to learn more.


Demand for Healthier Food is on the Rise

The food and beverage industry is still recovering from the pandemic. For example, consumers have emerged more health-conscious with a preference for cooking at home. While this isn’t expected to change, anticipate consumers will be eager to venture out and embrace the familiar and comfortable. Paul Bradley, senior director of product marketing at TraceGains, outlines the Top 5 trends set to impact restaurants and grocery stores nationwide.

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Driver Health and Wellness Matters

The e-commerce industry has undoubtedly seen tremendous growth over the last several years–fueled largely in part by COVID-19–and shows no signs of slowing down any time soon. In fact, e-commerce sales are projected to increase from $3.3 trillion today to $5.4 trillion by 2026. While retailers are continually working to meet rising demand, there is immense pressure on drivers to support this growth. Walter Heil, SVP of developed markets for Locus, provides a number of strategies for companies to keep driver turnover rates down.

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Food System Reform Amid a Climate Crisis

Food and food system innovation was a key topic of discussion at the 2022 United Nation Climate Change Conference (COP27). The solutions and strategies fall on the $4.5 trillion industry in new economic opportunities that could be generated in the next eight years by transforming the world’s food system to create a net-zero and nature-positive world. But, some may wonder how nature will actually fit into the solution(s).

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Getty Images Mojix Ytem Food Safety

Sustainable Packaging Regulations in the New Year

As many in the industry strive to be better environmental stewards, industry standards are changing as well. More state mandates for sustainable packaging are coming in the food and beverage industry and across various sectors. California has been leading the way and other states have also begun the process toward greater packaging regulation. Patrice Sellès, CEO of Biotalys, details how crops can be grown more efficiently and regeneratively.

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Policies and Federal Action are Necessary

In a recent Bureau of Labor Statistics readout, wholesale prices are reflecting a rise in ongoing production cost pressures. Consumer demand and the need for goods is not matching up the ability to produce said goods. Ongoing production cost pressures have continued to rise since the pandemic and will not stop until the industry takes action. Consumer Brands Association exposes the need for supply chain policies and even further federal action to be taken.

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Automation is Key for Consumer Demands

Nearly 30% of food in U.S. grocery retail stores is thrown away each year, equal to about 8 million tons of waste and $18 billion in lost value. All of this food waste is bad for the environment and bad for business. Adam Gurga, sales manager at Cimcorp, outlines why fresh foods need to move from farm to store as quickly and efficiently as possible.

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A Look at Global EPR Packaging Laws

The world has welcomed 2023 with enormous anticipation as demands press for concerted climate action. A great portion of which involves the complex world of packaging. From sweeping bans to labeling specifications, the European packaging field is transforming rapidly as more and more governments are recognizing the long-term benefits of extended producer responsibility (EPR). Elena Rotzokou, global researcher for Ecoveritas, breaks down the number of laws already in force.

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Supplier Diversity Improvements Benefit Supply Chains

Companies on average spend 3.6% with certified diverse suppliers— with a best-in-class average of 9.1%—and 7.5% with small and diverse suppliers, which highlights the importance of looking at consistent data, according to a survey. Meanwhile, 80% of companies spend less than 5% with diverse suppliers, and the Top 10 diverse suppliers receive 17% of all diverse spend. Top-performing companies are seen to more than double their industry average, with top performers in energy achieving 27.8% spend and in high tech achieving 19.2%.

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Brands are Cutting Back on Plastic

The latest glut of plastic waste, which piles onto the huge amount of plastic already generated, has drawn more attention to the enormity of the problem. In some places, legislators are working to write limitations or outright bans on usage of plastics in online shipping, which is driving companies to desperately search for sustainable packaging. Fortunately for them–and for the planet–those alternatives do exist, perhaps most importantly in the form of compostable packaging. Merav Koren CMO at TIPA Corp., details why replacing single-use plastics for shipping with compostable packaging will go a long way to squashing shipping’s impact on the environment.

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The Importance of Last Mile for Grocery Retailers

The grocery industry saw major shifts in consumer buying patterns during the pandemic and is unlikely that the market will return to its pre-pandemic state. Rather than going to grocery stores, consumers went online to buy everything from toilet paper to produce to ice cream. Last-mile logistics for groceries has become increasingly important. Dave Csontos, SVP of logistics at Transervice, details the importance of last-mile logistics for groceries.

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A Recession Could Disrupt Shipping

Inflation and inventory drawdowns remain the two major challenges to the freight market in 2023, according to a new study from Transportation Intermediaries Association (TIA). Supply chain executives agree that Q1 of 2023 will be a period of downward rate adjustments for contract and spot market loads. With capacity expected to loosen in 2023, shippers and third-party logistics (3PL) executives are more selective of who they do business with and are hesitant to choose the lowest cost providers in a down market.

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The Importance of Cold Chain

The cold supply chain is critical to ensuring that perishable products not only make it into the hands of consumers but are also safe to consume when they arrive. If perishable goods are exposed to excessive temperatures during transport or storage, they will degrade and may become unsafe to eat. Jeff Schroeder, marketing manager for R2 Logistics, breaks down the differences between a cold food supply chain and the repercussions from poor supply chain management.

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The Difference Between Friendshoring and Nearshoring

Friendshoring and nearshoring are two related but very distinct approaches to managing global supply chains. Friendshoring, for instance, refers to the practice of sourcing from trusted, long-term suppliers regardless of their location. Nearshoring, on the other hand, refers to the practice of moving production or sourcing closer to the end market. Here’s a breakdown of both.

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New Software Bots

Datamatics plans to unveil 12 intelligent automation software bots for supply chain and logistics operations and finance processes. These intelligent automation bots are customizable to suit supply chain companies’ growing needs and will include ways to track vessels, fuel statements, bill of lading, leased vehicles and more.

Scan the QR code to learn more.

A Look Back at Manifest

The saying is true: you go big in Vegas or you go home. Manifest 2023 was big in all the ways you could think. With over 3,000 attendees, 1,000-plus vendors and 350 speakers, the event was jam packed with plenty to take in. Our managing editor Alexis Mizell-Pleasant walks us through her experience on the tradeshow floor, which included robots, puppies, autonomous vehicles and more.

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Supply Chain Leaders Concerned About Forecasting Demand

Just 39% of survey respondents felt they could accurately predict trends and activity for the holiday season, according to a study commissioned by ProGlove. Nearly 51% of respondents stated that forecasting demand was their biggest inventory management concern. And, looking ahead, less than two in five (38%) expect supply chain issues to be resolved next year.

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Mid-Size Fleets are Going Electric

Electrification is coming for mid-size fleets, but are businesses prepared? Looking ahead to 2023, the pressure is on, but so are incentives to help mitigate costs. Tim Krauskopf, CEO of Motiv Power Systems, shares how with the electric medium-duty vehicle market booming and sustainability deadlines looming, companies must keep a pulse on these four key industry trends throughout 2023.

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On-Demand Service to Accommodate Freight Surges

Convoy introduces Convoy Dedicated On Demand, a new service providing dedicated truck and drop trailer capacity that can flex to accommodate freight surges. Dedicated On Demand gives shippers the cost stability and quality service from traditional asset carriers, along with Convoy’s unrivaled flexibility to source a single truck or an entire fleet in just a few days. Find out how Dedicated On Demand solves challenges through an automated routing technology and network of 400,000-plus trucks.

Scan the QR code to learn more.

Getty Images

Survey Finds Industry Leaders Want More Flexibility and Agility

A Fleet Advantage industry benchmarking survey revealed that respondents are showing more interest in battery electric vehicles, are leasing their trucks more and have a greater focus on ESG results in shorter truck life cycles. And, 40% of respondents plan to deploy alternate fuel trucks within the next 1-2 years.

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Supply Chain Efficiency Tips for Trucking

Every supply chain has inherent requirements that must be met to run as efficiently as possible. Having the right equipment, people and technology available are some of the most important pieces of the puzzle. Freight characteristics, weight restrictions, tight delivery windows, highway regulations and restrictions are all part of the everyday challenges that make logistics interesting. Chris Valante, director of supply chain solutions for A. Duie Pyle offers some tips.

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Top 3 Threats to Fresh Produce Transportation

Since childhood, we’ve been taught that eating fruits and vegetables is the cornerstone of a healthy lifestyle. Today, that lesson is a leading trend with consumers. Over the last decade, there has been a 500% increase in U.S. adults adopting a plantbased diet. Chris Wilson, VP of business development for TA services, details the Top 3 threats to look out for in food transportation.

Scan the QR code to learn more.




For many companies, warehouse automation is not new. In fact, many organizations within the cold food chain have implemented some form of automation and robotics throughout their facilities and supply chains over the past couple of years just to gain more visibility and help protect against future disruptions.

But for some companies, warehouse automation still remains a foreign way of doing business; one that supersedes the way “they’ve been operating for years.”

It involves wearables, drones, robotics and emerging technologies that are costly to implement, difficult to learn and somewhat cumbersome to existing staff.

And more often than not, automation is only being implemented into certain parts of the supply chain vs. end-to-end.

“Automation was more conventional automation vs. autonomous mobile robots (AMRs), as AMRs have not been fully adopted in the cold chain (freezer storage) due to various physical

and technical challenges with condensation due to frequent movement between different temperature zones,” says Joe Couto, EVP robotics and 3PL, Körber Supply Chain.

Yet, the evolution of warehouse automation consists of a long line of innovation and re-invention. This means that warehouse automation means different things to different companies to resolve different problems.

“Warehouse automation solutions are incredibly valuable in climate-controlled facilities. These systems can minimize space, creating a smaller footprint and allowing warehouse leaders to save on utility spend. Automation also helps alleviate labor constraints within climate-controlled environments, which is a big deal with the current labor market and warehouse employee turnover,” says Greg Meyne, senior director, automation at enVista.

Here's how warehouse automation keeps cold food chains moving.




Adopting warehouse automation

In 2021, more than 80% of warehouses had no automation whatsoever, according to Research and Markets.

Fast forward to present day, and more and more companies in the cold food chain are adopting warehouse automation solutions for a variety of reasons. North America leads the warehouse automation market with over 26% share in the total revenue.

“The labor shortage and high turnover rates are the main reasons for the continued rise of automation in cold storage warehouses,” says Norm Saenz, Jr., partner, distribution managing director, St. Onge Company. “Operating in coolers and especially freezers can be tough working environments compared to ambient operations. With an already tightening labor market, cold storage operators are in an increasingly difficult position to attract and retain employees. In addition, the development of more automated freezer applications is helping expand the use of automation in cold storage operations. The use of automation,

such as AS/RS pallet-load crane storage systems, removes operators from working within cooler and freezers. This and other areas of labor savings continues to drive the use of automation in cold storage operations.”

Another driver is the utilization of space and the cost to condition space, says Kyle Nevenhoven, principal consultant, food and beverage for Dematic.

“Having a very dense storage mechanism and taller buildings with better cube utilization can help to reduce the cost of construction as well as the ongoing costs to condition the space. Increased density also reduces carbon footprint per pallet stored,” Nevenhoven says.

Other factors involve increased e-commerce within cold food chains, rising demand for automated warehouses, the need to alleviate labor constraints and providing an added layer of food safety regulations. MARCH/APRIL 2023 | FOOD LOGISTICS 15

From innovation to reinvention

The warehouse management software (WMS) industry in the cold food chain is projected to reach $975.2 million globally by 2026, according to ABI Research. By 2027, mobile robots will account for 30% of total warehouse automation revenues, equating to around $14 billion, according to Interact Analysis. And, control software will remain the largest segment throughout the forecast period to 2027, as outlined in a different Interact Analysis report.

What’s more is, over the last 12 months, many of the new technologies released to the market have been in the AMR and robotics realm, says Nevenhoven.

“These solutions have advanced significantly over the past 12-plus months,

becoming solution types that can be implemented rather quickly, at a favorable price point and with very little infrastructure change, mitigating major interruptions to existing operations,” he adds. “For many companies, the automation journey can be one of significant change in both operational behaviors and culture. It is important to address both throughout the process of the adoption of automation.”

Companies are also testing camera technology “to recognize inbound goods and auto identify the SKU, lot and pallet ID to avoid manual scanning or recording of inbound goods,” says Couto.

The industry can also expect the merging of technologies, such as voice automation, where robots and humans can communicate with each other.

“Another great example would be the new ‘layer picker AMR’ system for food retailers, FMCG and 3PL,” adds Austin Power, general manager, automation, Körber Supply Chain NA. “The ‘layer picker AMR’ is an innovative solution combining the control and versatility of a layer picker with the transportation speed and efficiency of an AMR. Although integrated,

these systems maintain their compact and modular characteristics. This means they can easily be deployed in any warehouse and connected with any system, making them extremely brownfield friendly.”

Features such as artificial intelligence (AI) are also becoming more widespread.

“Inventory control systems that use cameras in multiple form factors (such as on material handling equipment, at dock doors and on drones) allow a solution to track material throughout a building, even in vastly different storage methodologies (i.e. floor bulk, double-deep racking),” says Gary Allen, VP of supply chain excellence for Ryder System, Inc.

From B2B to B2C and back again

It’s not unusual for many B2B companies to dabble in—and sometimes branch out into—a B2C environment. Many grocery retailers, for example, were forced to add some form of online delivery to their business in order to survive the pandemic.

With the increase in U.S. online grocery sales, which finished in February with $8.8 billion in total sales, up 1.5% compared to last year, according to the monthly Brick Meets Click/Mercatus Grocery Shopping Survey, innovations within warehouse

 Artificial intelligence helps farmers operate smart farms.
Warehouse automation involves wearables, drones, robotics and emerging technologies.

automation will continue to expand as well.

The year-over-year growth in e-grocery sales was partly driven by an increase in monthly active users.

Fortunately warehouse automation is one way to help bridge the e-commerce gap. That’s because most warehouse automation solutions are designed to handle multiple order channels, such as retail, B2B, B2C and more.

For instance, Cimcorp introduced a fast, flexible and future-proof solution for automating existing distribution centers. The modular, gantry-based design enables rapid installation in any existing facility footprint. And, high-density, floorbased storage makes the solution ideal for meeting food safety and sanitation requirements.

Fiserv, Inc. introduced a new Delivery Optimization solution enabling enterprise restaurants, retailers and grocers to optimize delivery operations, reduce costs and regain control of their customers’ delivery experience. Leveraging the Carat commerce platform, businesses can connect their digital commerce operations to more than 40 different delivery providers through a single integration.

Other solutions entail Brightpick’s Brightpick Autopicker, an autonomous mobile picking robot for e-commerce and grocery order fulfillment. Like humans with carts, Brightpick Autopickers move around the warehouse, retrieve product storage totes (bins) from shelving and robotically pick items from those totes to consolidate orders directly in the aisles.

Meanwhile, InOrbit Inc. launched InOrbit Robot Space in Mountain View, Calif., a community space, product showroom and concept store where visitors can see the latest AMRs in action and get hands-on with the InOrbit RobOps platform.

And, Fulfil Solutions unveiled a fully automated platform to revolutionize online grocery by doing all the picking and packing across all product categories and temperature states.

“Omnichannel fulfillment spans multiple industry segments, including food logistics, to cover order size from pallet to parcel end user delivery. Automation design for each application is unique and much depends on how much capital a client is

willing to spend with solutions ranging from high to low automation,” adds Meyne.

If you operate a cooler temperature environment, AMRs can play an important role in B2C/e-commerce fulfillment, adds Couto.

“As it is automation that is flexible and scalable, you can continue to add robots as the volume increases. Many suppliers also support a Robot-as-a-Service (RaaS) program. Robot manufacturing supports adding robots to a fleet during peak periods and then scaling back down to non-peak period levels,” Couto says.

An additional advantage is that automation adds a B2C/e-commerce component into an existing building with minimal square footage and staffing requirements, Saenz, Jr. says.

And, where many cold food chain companies have traditionally picked at the pallet, layer and case level, “automation allows for the introduction of efficient each picking, providing additional value to consumers. A cold chain provider that provides B2C e-commerce services can also serve as an enticement to some producers to bring not only the B2C but also the more traditional B2B business vs.

a competitor that does not offer the B2C capability,” says Nevenhoven.

Plus, automation helps “buffer the impact from multiple outside influences such as labor shortages, volume volatility and short lead times,” adds Allen. “Many automation types like AMRs and AGVs are scalable and transferrable, which allows solutions to grow and flex with an operation’s volume, further improving the value return. With today’s variability, especially in the B2C environment, these attributes of an automated system are indispensable.”

What’s next?

Despite the increased adoption rates of various warehouse automation technologies, there are still several companies just getting started.

So, what’s next? How/where to start?

First, consider lead times, as almost all automation solutions have extended lead times due to supply chain and volume issues.

“Technology suppliers are bursting with orders; this, along with supply chain disruptions, is extending lead times,” says Meyne. “Some solutions can take as long

More and more companies are adopting autonomous mobile robots in the cooler, non-freezer environment, especially with the goods-to-person solution for order selection.

as 24 months to implement, which is almost double the usual lead time from pre-COVID.”

In addition, cost for material handling equipment continues to be a factor in project planning and execution.

“This includes vying for the attention of technology and equipment suppliers who are being more selective with the projects they support. The market is flooded with automation seekers, putting an increased strain on finding the right equipment, suppliers, affordable costs and attractive lead times for projects,” says Saenz, Jr.

Industry experts encourage those companies just starting out to not go it alone.

For example, 84% of supply chain professionals in a Körber study say digitizing is a strategic or high priority, yet only 31% can plan and execute digitization projects in-house.

“Many food chain businesses start with the WMS and WCS at the center of their integration efforts. It is viewed as

@Körber Supply MARCH/APRIL 2023 | FOOD LOGISTICS 19
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a hub and used to synchronize the flow of goods and resources throughout warehouses and distribution centers and the adjacent stages of the supply chain. It is the WMS that orchestrates warehouse technologies and software solutions, such as transportation, yard and order management,” says Couto.

Industry experts advise companies to explore the options available in the automation market.

“Explore the current utilization of climate-controlled space in your general area. A lot of companies have excess space available and will act as a 3PL for other companies to use that space. That could benefit your company without requiring a costly build,” says Meyne. “The next step would be to connect with a consulting or engineering group that is familiar with the benefits of automation in your environment to size the area correctly. This step can be a big cost saver. Then, connect with an architect to adequately build the area to maintain the required temperature and properly insulate the area, including the floor.”

In short, automation is one of the best weapons against the potential of labor shortages, high employee turnover and inflation, says Saenz, Jr.

“Both cost and lead time for storage and material handling equipment has risen over the past 12 months, and continues to be a factor in project planning and execution. Planning must start sooner than ever before to have an automated (or conventional) solution go live,” adds Saenz, Jr.

What’s more, equipping workers with the right tools and technology “will enable them to work as efficiently as possible, while directly addressing labor challenges such as lower unemployment rates and high employee turnover,” say Couto.

“We would always encourage end users to really take the time to develop, challenge and validate the operational data that drives their automation concept and investment. There are many product experiments out in the market as a reaction to the surge in demand over the past three years. Make sure your investment is made with obsolescence and system sustainability in mind,” says Power.

While warehouse automation may mean different things to different companies, at the end of the day, the various solutions and technologies help keep cold food chains moving.


Industry experts provide a Top 10 list of warehouse automation technologies available for cold food chains.

1. Warehouse management systems (WMS)/warehouse execution systems (WES)

2. Order fulfillment/picking

3. Pallet storage

4. Automated guided vehicles (AGVs)/autonomous mobile robots (AMRs)/ autonomous fork trucks

5. Robotics

6. Automated storage/retrieval systems (ASRS)

7. Gamification software

8. Ultra-high density (UHD) storage and retrieval solutions

9. Artificial intelligence

10. Wearables

Fulfil Solutions
Fulfil’s platform leverages advanced AI, machine learning and optical and sensor technologies to enable next-generation inventory management and quality control.


Nominations Open April 3, 2023 | NOMINATION DEADLINE: July 14, 2023

Winners announced in the September/October 2023 issue

ON Nomination dates and issues are subject to change. Consult for current information.
Logistics partners with Supply & Demand Chain Executive to provide you the opportunity to
a female supply chain leader or executive whose
accomplishments, mentorship and examples set a foundation for other women in the supply chain.


Trucks await entry at border crossing.


When it comes to moving perishables, there are plenty of considerations to take into account to keep items in good condition and meet specialized regulations. Moving these shipments cross-border may result in some extra steps to ensure the shipments are timely and smooth, overcoming challenges such as time delays that may decrease shelf life and profit. How the industry mitigates these issues and follow regulations are some of the efforts that lend to the best practices for this type of transport.

In a recent survey by NAPCO Research, 56% of shippers cited customs delays as their No. 1 challenge in cross-border shipments. According to Andrew Welling, director of cross-border services at TA Services, having diversity in their network of locations is something premier cross-border third-party logistics (3PL) providers might offer to mitigate time restraints.

“Specifically, for cross-border shipments, companies will want to partner with a 3PL that has trained personnel on both sides of the border as well as nearby to the border,” says Welling. “When problems arise, and they inevitably do, having people close at hand keeps hiccups from becoming missed deadlines. These trained employees should be fluent in both languages, allowing them to troubleshoot with a variety of stakeholders.”

The understanding of those geographical nuances can allow 3PLs to become more diverse and customary to ease the process. Welling points out that companies can struggle with a lack of bilingual personnel to make communication easier at borders and with the people coordinating and directing shipments from their respective country. Diverse hiring is important in its own right, but it could also be a key to optimizing cross-border strategy; at the very least, a 3PL could utilize connections and partnerships in these outside countries and ultimately save themselves time and struggle in the communication department, meeting time efficiency in the process.

In this heightened age of technology in logistics, there’s also plenty of ways technology might improve timeliness. Mayra Shaw, international sales senior manager, cargo solutions at Emerson Cargo's climate technologies business, considers temperature and location tracking devices, portals and mobile apps coupled with analytics for improved visibility to positively influence the way MARCH/APRIL 2023 | FOOD LOGISTICS 23

cold freight moves cross-border.

“3PLs need access to a robust, connected cargo tracking and monitoring technology infrastructure comprised of temperature and location tracking devices in each container or temperature zone, connected software portals and mobile apps that keep all stakeholders aware of shipper location and conditions, with real-time alert capabilities that keep 3PLs, grower/shippers and retailers informed of realtime information to protect perishables and make decisions,” says Shaw. “This allows visual mapping of live shipments and the ability to establish geo-fences around specific high-risk regions or strategic border-patrol locations and provides an automated record of shipment temperatures for 3PLs to give border patrol with proof of proper cold chain management.”

Additionally, Shaw explains that data analytics capabilities that can aggregate data points and provide historic data are then able to be leveraged to deliver insights into cold chain performance, uncover root causes of issues and provide objective score-carding of all stakeholders.

“When it comes to protecting and preserving perishables, it’s essential to have real-time visibility to in-transit shipment temperatures, location and security. 3PLs need tools to provide this visibility, simplify compliance and provide the documentation to expedite border inspections,” says Shaw.

Cross-border calls for added attention to a country’s specific regulations and customs. As a best practice, it’s important for 3PLs to understand this aspect of cross-border freight dependent on the destination country. Take for example U.S.-Mexico shipments, like the journey of the avocado, which goes through U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) with plenty of paperwork filled out and prepped in advance to meet criteria. Welling explains that navigating these regulations can be challenging and often, depending on the food, require prior notice of import and a phytosanitary permit and proof of food facility registration.

Simply put—many countries of origin don’t have the same strict food safety regulations or requirements enforced in destination countries like the United States or the UK. For Shaw, this means that 3PLs must be prepared to understand and demonstrate proof of compliance before crossing a border. Often, this goes hand in hand with the technology proposed for visibility, to produce temperature logs and other tracking that clearly shows how the refrigerated shipping container maintained the proper setpoint throughout the cold chain journey.

On the topic of cross-border regulations and tech, Welling also predicts that going paperless will be a major advantage for 3PLs involved in cross-border logistics. He says, “while the U.S. CBP does not yet require 3PLs to submit paperwork electronically, things are moving in that direction.” This means that in the future, there’s potential for 3PLs tracking shipments with pen and paper, or even with Excel, to struggle.

As seen in other sectors, like ocean freight, regulations

are shifting to a greater focus on environmental, social and governmental (ESG) concerns. These may take shape further and reach the cross-border logistics space as companies act to meet the customers who want greater visibility into where their products come from and how they’re being made.

“At first, sustainable and ethical practices were a way to add a competitive advantage to your value chain—and they still are—but increasingly, this is shifting from a differentiator to a requirement,” Welling says. "I think we’ll see more regulations, such as the UFLPA and WRO, which require companies involved in crossborder trade to dig into due diligence processes.”

In combination with technology to meet the goal of positive and productive movement of perishables, there’s a chance for trends in shipping practice to also provide help. For example, less-than-truckload (LTL) shipping has grown in popularity, as logistics companies use more advanced technology and customers seek to reduce shipping costs. Most logistics companies are only able to do LTL shipments for domestic freight but for 3PLs like TA Services, there’s proof that the practice can be implemented in cross-border as well, as they’ve been able to develop LTL consolidation for northbound and southbound shipments across the U.S.-Mexico border.

For Shaw, one of the most important things a 3PL can do to mitigate risks and pitfalls in cross-border cold shipping is having the data tools to monitor and maximize quality, safety and security.

“For 3PLs, following these procedures can be a trust builder and a true differentiator from their competitors. These advance quality and security measures are proof that they are willing to go the extra mile in protecting their customers’ perishable products, and in the process, growing their profits too,” she says.

Best practices are a culmination of what keeps things moving. Through understanding and planning the locations for shipments and maintaining a grasp on technology is critical to tracking the goods and service done through cross-border freight, 3PLs can positively identify themselves in the space and provide quality to their customers and the cold products they move.

3PL/COLD CHAIN continued 24 FOOD LOGISTICS | MARCH/APRIL 2023 A truck travels across border lines through bridge entry.


Warehouses everywhere have been transformed in the past few years as supply and demand has ebbed and flowed with the times. Now, as the e-commerce boom has reached its peak and a new wave of shoppers chose online vs. in person, volumes have seen spikes and lows at record-breaking levels. Labor shortages, rising real estate costs and pressures to increase speed in click-to-ship order processing are among the challenges being faced in warehousing today in the e-commerce sector.

According to FourKites, fulfilling e-commerce orders can pose unique challenges due to the high frequency of smaller orders and the need to serve a larger footprint of customers. Glenn Koepke, general manager, network collaboration at FourKites says, “inventory allocation also becomes more challenging when using an omnichannel sales strategy, which can increase costs, especially when shipping direct to consumers. With a high volume of orders comes the need for more labor to do the picking and packing and more coordination of appointments with transportation.”

Technology is transforming this operation. Sara Sayre, solutions engineer at ODW Logistics, explains that “AMRs are in much wider use and have become more available and at better financial terms than was the case before the pandemic. They are adaptable and flexible, making it easier to move them between different warehouse operations.” Additionally, AMRs have been noted to reduce labor requirements by cutting employee travel and offer more efficient picking. And, Robots-as-a-Service (RAAS) is also on the rise, often available to smaller warehouse operations where permanent fleets of owned units aren’t justifiable in costs.

Management systems have key capabilities in e-commerce strategy through transportation management systems (TMS), order management systems (OMS) and warehouse management systems (WMS) and it’s possible that streamlining

this information to a single view platform can improve efficiency in inventory management, cost control and labor productivity.

Automated storage and retrieval systems (ASRS) and goodsto-person systems specifically, can help high-volume food and beverage distribution centers through dense storage systems, according to ODW, to better utilize vertical warehouse space— that’s extra square footage for organizing warehouses with many products or a surplus of inventory.

As the future of warehousing comes to fruition, “automated systems help fill in the gaps created by the labor shortage, but they can also be quickly redeployed to keep customers satisfied even when there are major demand surges,” says Sayre. Training speeds, retention rates, labor flexibility and improved picking accuracy are a few advantages of adopting automation in e-commerce warehouses to alleviate real estate costs and woes of possible economic downturn impacts.

Another major trend in warehouse utilization is an uptick in the need for more multi-tenant, short-term warehousing that “gives shippers the flexibility to move product closer to market,” says Koepke.

Additionally, micro-fulfillment has been noted to optimize efficiency and offer better fulfillment of e-commerce orders. Through micro-fulfillment items are picked, pared and delivered directly to the customer without a third-party. Koepke says, “having micro-fulfillment infrastructure can help products sitting at certain nodes in the supply chain be sold and distributed more quickly, eliminating the need for discounts as these products become out of date or out of season,” and freeing up much needed space in warehouses.

The full scope of improving warehousing for e-commerce is centered around the strides in technology that companies can leverage to keep their products moving and free up space to ultimately, improve efficiency, worker shortage and profit. Collaboration—whether it be with other businesses, employees or robots—are all great investments for the future of e-commerce to create a sustainable and healthy logistics process. MARCH/APRIL 2023 | FOOD LOGISTICS 25 SECTOR REPORT WAREHOUSING BY ALEXIS MIZELL-PLEASANT, MANAGING EDITOR
Perishable fruit and vegetables stacked for warehousing. dusanpetkovic1/

Global supply chains are headline news. Shortages and disruptions over the past few years have caused companies in all industries to reconsider where they are sourcing and processing products and the potential for reshoring their supply chains.

The pandemic exposed risks in supply chains not visible in the past and led to supply chain disruptions, labor shortages, a shortage of ingredients and the inflation of prices.

Before the pandemic, global food supply chains suffered from the tariffs on aluminum and steel used for canning food products and on imports from China. Now the war in Ukraine has caused global shortages of agricultural products.

All of these symptoms point to a lack of supply chain strategic planning.

For so many years, we were lulled into believing all was well because global supply chains were running smoothly. U.S. companies sourced, produced and shipped products globally. Supply chain risk and mitigation were just an afterthought and bringing production back to the United States was cost-prohibitive. Supply chain professionals focused on execution— moving products to their destination in the most cost—effective and efficient way. Only a handful of companies considered the possibility of reshoring operations.

Fundamental lack of supply chain planning

This lack of strategic planning and consideration of global risk was and still is evident across industries. Electronics are still mostly made and shipped from China. Automotive parts are produced in China, Mexico, and Brazil. Pharmaceuticals and related chemicals are produced in China and India. Apparel and footwear are produced in China, Vietnam, Turkey, and Bangladesh. Food is grown and packaged


around the world. Globalization has flourished over the last 25 years.

Now is the time to rethink and reconstruct global supply chain strategies.


Concern over global warming has also caused a rethinking of strategies based on droughts, floods, snowfall and wildfires. Companies now consider alternate regions for farming, processing food and other products, and are working to produce biodegradable packaging, reduce chemicals in processing and recycle waste products.

Logistics and transportation are now additional concerns based on fluctuations in pricing, container availability and port congestion during the pandemic. Producing products closer to markets where those products are being sold reduces the carbon footprint. The Reshoring Institute calls this

“Local for Local,” producing in the market you are serving.

Consideration for growing, processing and packaging in local markets is now the strategic direction of supply chain leaders. Products that are the growth or production of America may be labeled “Made in the USA” or “Product of USA,” and these labels have intrinsic value.

A study conducted by the Reshoring Institute showed that Americans are willing to pay up to 20% more for products made in the United States. The study concludes that there is more perceived value to products made or grown domestically and therefore these products can command a higher price.

Sustainability and reduction of a company’s carbon footprint are likely to be on every company’s strategic agenda for the foreseeable future.


All parts included

It’s not just the shortages of raw materials or ingredients that have wreaked havoc on supply chains; it is also the shortages of packaging materials. Take canned food for example. Shortages of aluminum for canned fruit have resulted in empty shelves and a limited selection of some brands.

Shortages of available and inexpensive aluminum are caused by the 232 import penalty tariffs placed on aluminum and steel and the 301 penalty tariffs on almost everything coming from China. These tariffs make aluminum imports considerably more expensive—up to 15% more for most imports, plus an additional 25% for imports from China. The intent of these tariffs was to make U.S.-made aluminum and steel products more cost-

competitive, but with limited aluminum and steel production capability in the United States, the result is rising prices and shortages.

Geopolitics and war

The geopolitics of Asia and the war on Ukraine have also made matters worse.

The escalation of the trade war with China introduced additional tensions between the two nations and a vulnerability across Asia. With China threatening to invade Taiwan (when, not if) the U.S.-China relationship is on shaky ground. Companies in America and Western Europe are actively seeking sources outside of China.

The war on Ukraine has also taken a toll on food production. Ukraine is one of the world's major grain producers. The country mainly grows and exports wheat,

corn and barley. According to the European Commission, Ukraine accounts for 10% of the world's wheat market, 15% of the corn market, 13% of the barley market and 50% of the world's sunflower oil market. The loss of food production in Ukraine has contributed to global shortages and has driven up the prices.

Production close to home

The pandemic exposed the many reasons for producing products close to the markets in which they are being sold.

Most companies experienced shortages, on-and-off-again factory production, particularly for products coming from China during the various COVID-19 shutdowns and lockdowns. Inconsistent and unreliable suppliers caused shortages and chaos in many industries.

Mitigating the risk of long global supply chains and addressing the need for more sustainable products means that producing closer to home should be considered a viable alternative.

But it’s not that easy to change global production and processing. It takes longterm strategic planning to answer the question, “where in the world should we manufacture and process goods”?

With more than 84% of U.S. companies indicating that they are now reshoring or considering it, we will soon begin to see the regrowth of industry in America. MARCH/APRIL 2023 | FOOD LOGISTICS 27
ROSEMARY COATES executive director, Reshoring Institute.


Companies currently comparing and contrasting offshoring vs. nearshoring may not be spending their procurement resources wisely. The practice of using the best resources for handling the business processes required to run an efficient and productive food logistics operation is, in a word, outsourcing.

Newcomers to this strategy might not grasp what it takes to foster revenue growth, gain and maintain a competitive advantage, streamline operations and boost profitability; they may need an experienced and dedicated partner who offers outsourced services backed by technology and industry expertise.

Considering recent reports from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), it is a decision most may have to make sooner rather than later. While in December 2022, the trucking industry gained around 2,100 workers compared to the previous month, throughout 2022, average job growth in transportation and warehousing was about half the rate experienced in 2021.

Overall, DOL data points to steady job growth across the economy. With companies continuing to add jobs and recent unemployment rates dropping to a five-decade low, competition with other industries for available workers is poised to intensify.

All of that points to the need to consider outsourcing some essential functions, and if considering business process outsourcing (BPO). Understand that while there isn’t a one-sizefits-all solution, the criteria you prioritize will determine if your choice is effective and the approach is successful.

Here are the Top 4 factors for food logistics companies to consider when searching, researching and choosing a prospective BPO partner or solution.

1. Consider your provider’s dedication to meeting your operation’s needs. Having the confidence that your BPO partner will prioritize facilitating the needs of your logistics operation is crucial, even more so considering the constantly changing and

unpredictable freight market.

Ask if they have the ability to quickly scale the services they provide up or down as freight volumes change. Find out if they have the resources in technology and talent to assist when unforeseen circumstances arise. Inform them of your business goals and have them pitch how their work supports achievement of those goals. It’s very important to know that your provider will work diligently as an extension of your team.

Consistent, timely and frequent communication is vital for any business, and perhaps even more so in a BPO relationship. Does the provider you’re considering have those capabilities? Are they transparent and will they be a true partner, not just a vendor?

2. Insist on the right Service Level Agreements (SLAs). Uncharted waters are common in food logistics operations. Does your BPO provider have the experience and expertise to help you navigate? At their core, SLAs are contractual agreements, so making sure they include key components that reflect your needs and business goals is essential. Those include:

Increased visibility. Communication and reporting capabilities that allow you to make better business decisions, whether conducting business as usual or facing a highly disruptive external market force.

Accuracy rates. Agree on KPIs that reflect your company’s customer service and accounts receivables goals, including the possibility of incentives for meeting and exceeding accuracy rates defined in the SLAs.

Average handling time. For voice-related functions, such as inbound customer support requests, set metrics that align to your customer experience goals.

Robust data protection. Confirm that BPO is delivered in a highly secure manner, with protections in place for network infrastructure, your data and that of your customers.


Processing speed and service hours. Ensure that turnaround time and processing schedules make sense for your operation.

Productivity rates. For inside sales, use revenue per rep. For data entry, use keystrokes per hour. Either way, setting this SLA will lock in outsourced team’s productivity at your desired output level.

Cost containment. Choosing pricing that does not penalize you for growth and also safeguards you from market slowdowns. In short, a long-term SLA should shield you, not just your BPO provider, against unforeseen circumstances.

3. Look into the provider’s application of technology. While technology innovations can be exciting, it’s all too easy to get caught up in the promise of new tools, products and services. Never implement a BPO solution without ensuring that the technology behind it makes your operation smarter and more strategic.

It’s important that your partner remains current with the right technology and knows how to apply new innovations that make the most sense. A good sign is a business process outsourcing provider with a track record of developing programs and technologies in-house designed specifically to make their processes for clients more efficient and customizable as needed.

4. Find an experienced business processing solution provider. Don’t settle for the least costly or a less experienced company in the BPO space. Although you’re saving costs, you are about to make a significant move by entrusting key business functions to the hands of a provider. A good threshold is industry specialization for a minimum of 10 years—a vendor who is a true expert in not only the processes you’re looking to outsource but also in the industry you serve. Remember they represent you, so experience not only with process but with adapting to company culture is key.

Due diligence should include asking these questions:

What are their existing clients saying about their accuracy, capabilities and reliability? Don’t be afraid to vet their referrals and industry sources.

Do they truly understand the food logistics industry and your business model?

Do they know and can they fully support your business goals?

Can their capabilities, capacities and functionality adapt with your changing needs? How flexible and customizable are their solutions and systems?

How many years of experience do they have?

Do they have solid business continuity planning?

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Taking the time to make an effective offshoring vs. nearshoring—or rather an outsourcing—decision will provide the most value by allowing you to focus resources on what really matters— the ability to drive growth and improve profitability. MARCH/APRIL 2023 | FOOD LOGISTICS 29
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How Supply Chain Visibility is Transforming FOOD LOGISTICS

Customers' growing demand for greater transparency and sustainability in the products they consume is transforming food logistics. Customers are increasingly interested in the origin of their ingredients, the business practices across the value chain and the impact their food could have on the environment.

The food industry is becoming extremely competitive to meet the eccentric customer demands. Today, with newer business models and the entry of heavily funded startups, food market leaders are accelerating the introduction

of autonomous and self-healing supply chains to address these short and longterm challenges and retain their market leadership.

The autonomous, selfhealing food supply chain

The food value chain, often an ambient temperature-controlled or cold chain operation, is the most vulnerable type of supply chain. It has more moving parts than a non-temperature-controlled one, and therefore more potential for breakdowns. In addition, food supply chains face higher pressure than pharmaceutical

supply chains to optimize for cost while maintaining product quality.

Cold chain management presents several unique challenges that must be addressed to ensure the safe, automated, sustainable and efficient transportation. Some of the most common problems include the following:

Automating environment condition regulation throughout the supply chain is critical to guarantee product quality and safety. However, temperature control can be challenging due to factors such as weather conditions, equipment failure and transportation delays requiring real-time intervention that’s preferably system driven.

Managing the right packaging for the correct journey and season to protect sensitive products from temperature fluctuations during transportation. Packaging, especially the reusable type that also improves sustainability, can be expensive and may not be readily available in all areas of the supply chain.

Automated control tower operations can help resolve complications in multimodal orchestration, long transit times and complex customs and regulatory requirements with minimal overheads.


However, today’s control tower operations are often manual and unproductive owing to lack of deep insights in real time within the network.

Automation needs more than visibility; it requires intelligence

The first step to automate is to create an efficient food supply chain operation, or else the inefficiencies get magnified too. Efficient operations can only be created through actionable intelligence built on reliable visibility. A major drawback with existing supply chain analytics tools in the market today is that they rely on manual (inaccurate), untimely and unactionable source data. While this provides a rough picture on location or condition, it is highly unreliable for automating power decisions.

To get reliable visibility and actionable intelligence, companies need a combination of healthy visibility data and artificial intelligence (AI)-powered analytics to gain deep insights into their supply chain operations and make swift, informed decisions. Healthy visibility data requires accurate, timely, firsthand sensor-driven signals.

With healthy visibility data and AIpowered analytics, swift informed decisions can be made to optimize their processes and reduce the risk of product spoilage and waste.

According to a report by MarketsandMarkets, the global predictive analytics market was valued at $10.5 billion in 2021, and is projected to reach $28.1 billion over the next five years, driven in part by increasing demand for

predictive analytics solutions in the cold chain management industry.

Building intelligence on healthy visibility data

Getting accurate, timely, first-hand visibility powered by sensors is only 25% of the problem solved. To build an autonomous supply chain using AI, it is important to follow these three steps to achieve realtime data:

Step 1. Deriving contextual business signals from location and condition visibility to effectively orchestrate a supply chain. Simply knowing that a temperature excursion occurred is meaningless. An example of a contextual business signal is informing stakeholders whether or not the shipment will pass quality control on arrival, days before it reaches its destination, so that corrective measures can be initiated to ensure usable stock on shelves.

Step 2. Generating prescriptive and predictive network analytics for rapid optimization of food logistics. With increasing supply chain disruptions combined with eccentric customer demands, planning cycles need to be much shorter. By analyzing historical data on their supply chain operations, companies can use predictive analytics to identify patterns and trends that can help them anticipate potential issues before they occur. For example, a large European chocolate manufacturer improved their cold chain compliance from 59% to 85% in just one season by identifying the Top 20 out of its 93 lanes that caused more than 50% of their cold chain compliance risks.

Step 3. Building a self-healing digital twin. With the right type of insights and foresights in the food supply chain operation, a virtual replica of your entire operation can be created with the power of AI and machine learning for specific applications. “What if” scenarios on-time, in-full, in-quality order fulfillment by lane, region, or distributor can be modeled in real time to automate or ease logistics decisions.

Building a data-driven culture enables companies to streamline their food logistics operations and gain end-to-end supply chain visibility that is reliable and actionable. It is essential that businesses empower their teams to improve supply chain visibility with data intelligence to help identify flaws, optimize processes for efficiencies and automate for repeatability and gain competitive advantage. MARCH/APRIL 2023 | FOOD LOGISTICS 31
@ / @ Golden


As many in the industry strive to be better environmental stewards, industry standards are changing as well. More state mandates for sustainable packaging are coming in the food and beverage industry and across various sectors.

In California, for example, the Plastic Minimum Content Standards law took effect this year, requiring plastic beverage containers covered by its bottle deposit program to contain at least 15% of post-consumer recycled (PCR) content by 2022, 25% by 2025 and 50% by 2030. California already mandates minimum recycled content for glass and rigid plastic packaging containers.

Maine and Oregon passed extended producer responsibility (EPR) packaging programs in 2021. Beginning in 2023, Washington will start phasing in PCR standards for plastic beverage bottles, among other items. New Jersey will follow suit in 2024, with requirements for non-beverage plastic containers, plastic beverage containers and glass containers.

There are distinct advantages for companies when they adopt sustainable packaging standards. According to the 2022 Global Buying Green Report, 86% of consumers under 45 are willing to pay more for sustainable packaging, up from 83% in 2021. In other findings, 57% of consumers are “less likely” to buy products in harmful packaging; 74% say they would be interested in buying products that come in refillable packaging; and 68% have chosen a product in the last six months based on its sustainability credentials.

According to 2020 data from IBM and Morning Consult reported by Vogue Business, Gen Z is willing to pay 50% more for an item that is sustainable and Millennials up to 33% more. A 2020 article in Glossy noted that 82% of Gen Z and Millennials would switch to a natural product with comparable results, while 77% would switch to a sustainable product when the product efficacy was the same.

Companies can also see potential benefits from greater sustainability in terms of raising capital. For those seeking equity financing, for example, some private equity sponsors do incorporate sustainable criteria in their assessment of potential investments.

Sustainable packaging mandates also mean that companies will have to contend with the costs. Production costs for sustainable options run about 25% more compared to traditional packaging, according to some reports, and companies say materials also tend to be less effective in maintaining freshness. While it is anticipated that costs will come down with greater adoption and increased supply, new state sustainable packaging regulations are likely to

bring with increased expenses in the short term. Here are three ways to get ready from a financial perspective.

Assess your needs for working capital. Companies should begin to evaluate projected increases in operating expenses, which could go beyond the actual implementation of the packaging. Adherence to new regulations could also entail additional marketing or promotional costs, as companies communicate the message of their sustainable packaging credentials to consumers.

Work with your banker on capital expenditures. What kind of financing will your company need to support sustainable packaging initiatives? Will you need to increase revolving lines of credit? Your banker or financial partner can work to identify options to support your company’s compliance.

Plan for future growth. In addition to future expansion, plans should include the possible implementation of more new initiatives going forward as consumers and other stakeholders increasingly favor more sustainable brands.

It is likely that states will continue to enact sustainable packaging mandates for food and beverage. If your company invests in planning for regulatory changes now, you could see a return in terms of easier compliance and a potentially favorable perception.



who feel the same.

A servant leadership model creates time for every leader to engage the organization every day to build capability, eliminate barriers, align priorities and reinforce culture. A focus on employee enablement instead of managing empowers the workforce to contribute at their full potential.

2.Vision: Challenge the status quo and collaborate on a why that inspires

Within supply chain circles, there’s a lot of talk about artificial intelligence, the autonomous supply chain and “lights out” planning. Many COOs and CSCOs think it’s still years out. They would be wise to challenge that assumption.

Acombination of disruption to global supply chains and intensifying economic headwinds have resulted in a supply chain re-set.

Virtually every company is looking at their supply chains and assessing how to rebuild them to help ensure they are resilient enough to withstand further disruption. Many recall the ghosts of previous attempts at transformation and the ones that didn’t unlock the value that they set out to create.

Taking a closer look at recent research by EY teams and the University of Oxford reveals that 75% of chief operating officers (COOs), chief supply chain officers (CSCOs) and their direct reports have experienced at least one underperforming transformation in the last five years. It’s unsurprising that many are asking what they can do differently to improve the likelihood of success this time around.

The answer is to better understand and address human emotions. By paying more attention to the human factors that are often the root cause of

transformation failure, COOs and CSCOs can increase their chances of a successful transformation to as high as 73%. Developing and implementing leading practices in the following six areas will put leaders in better position to succeed.

1. Lead: Practice courage, demonstrate curiosity and adopt a we, not me mindset

Regardless of whether they have climbed the ladder within one organization or risen to the C-suite through a number of progressive roles across several organizations, COOs and CSCOs have an opportunity to improve their leadership skills by opening themselves up to new perspectives and ways of working.

Displaying curiosity and looking at things from multiple perspectives is an essential skill, as is recognizing the limitations of your current mindset and capabilities. Nearly 52% of operations leader respondents say they understood the needs and views of the workforce vs. just 32% of operations worker respondents

Shifting to an autonomous supply chain will be a massively complicated initiative that many workers may not have the skills for, and where many of today’s jobs will become redundant. Similarly, at a time of economic uncertainty, COOs and CSCOs may pursue a transformation that only considers reducing supply chain costs. Both scenarios for transformation will create anxiety for workers if leadership doesn’t craft a vision that inspires them to believe in the transformation and go the extra mile when times get tough. Yet, according to the EY and University of Oxford research, operations leader respondents are 11 percentage points less likely than other functional leaders to say their transformation vision addressed an issue they were passionate about.

Employees understand it’s a competitive world. When they understand cost dynamics and how they can contribute to making a difference, vision becomes more than just a corporate slogan. MARCH/APRIL 2023 | FOOD LOGISTICS 33 SECTOR REPORT WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT

3.Care: Be transparent and engage in deep listening

During a transformation, there can be a surprising naïveté about what the journey entails and what it’s going to take to get to the next level. COOs and CSCOs need to be completely transparent with their teams about the ups and downs of the journey ahead so that there are no surprises.

They also need to demonstrate more empathy and psychological safety than they may be accustomed to. Only 32% of the operations workforce respondents agree that their function offered high levels of emotional support vs. 45% of operations leader respondents who feel the same. Supply chain and operations are high-octane environments that require a lot of fire fighting. These kinds of settings don’t tend to lend themselves to deep listening and emotional support. To provide their people with the right level of psychological safety, COOs and CSCOs may first have to embark on a process of personal development so that they can

better understand the emotional journey and become the leader that workers need them to be.

4.Empower: Foster an environment of disciplined freedom

The idea of being given the autonomy or responsibility for their role can be scary for many workers. It’s a process from simply operating the machine or performing a series of tasks to understanding every aspect of the equipment and taking the lead on problem-solving. During the transformation journey, there may be some workers who aren’t willing to assume that level of responsibility initially. For those who are, the experience is empowering. However, even though 45% of operations leader respondents say the process encouraged innovative experimentation and new ideas, only 32% of operations worker respondents agree.

Of course, within the freedom to make autonomous decisions, there also

needs to be discipline around reaching macro targets. A machine operator may have complete authority for shutting their equipment down in the middle of a shift to service it, but will also need to understand the bigger picture in terms of the key performance indicators (KPIs) their line needs to meet. They will need to try and ensure that any decisions they make at a micro level align with the desired objectives or outcomes at a macro level.

5.Build: Address the human dimensions of technology

Conversations with the COOs and CSCOs almost always includes technology. Today’s supply chains are entirely reliant on technology, end-to-end. However, it’s important that COOs and CSCOs don’t chase the latest technology simply for the sake of it. They need to stay focused on the business problem they are trying to solve.

At the same time, they need to understand the impact technology has on


their workforce. There is the issue of reskilling and upskilling talent to use new technology and giving them the time and space to learn and experiment with it. In EY’s research, 33% of operations worker respondents say they have the digital skills and mindset needed for transformation vs. 44% of other workers surveyed.

Along other parts of the supply chain, leaders need to help workers prepare for new technology that may make day-to-day activities obsolete but will free them up for more strategic activities and decisionmaking. One of the ways to foster engagement and buy-in is to use technology to drive visible action. Technology isn’t the vision, but it can help to bring the transformation vision to life.

6.Collaborate: Create a culture of collaboration and cocreation

Creating a culture of collaboration is critical. Much can get lost in the seams of a supply chain, particularly when various parts continue to cling to siloed ways of working. Indeed, 45% of operations leader respondents say they collaborated well across units, functions and geographies, but only 34% of operations worker respondents agreed with this assessment.

The traditional approach to transformation is often one of separation and independence. Leaders do the thinking, workers do the doing, strategists do the strategizing and managers do the implementing.

For new ways of working to be successful, leaders and workers need to work together to reimagine the concepts around process, delegation, ownership and empowerment and the KPIs by which performance is measured should shift to include behavioral metrics as well as capability metrics.


The supply chain industry is always doing new and interesting things by providing education and training .

Toyota Forklift Learning Studio

Toyota Material Handling donated three models of forklifts and components to Cornell University’s Forklift Learning Studio, and partnered with Cornell University to educate future engineers and provide the equipment needed to succeed.

The Forklift Learning Studio will eventually have seven different engineering courses to give students the interactive tools needed to study thermofluids, how to model structural mechanics and how to experiment with control dynamics. Students will also learn how to deconstruct and assemble forklifts, and learn about the components inside of forklifts and how these components work together in a larger system.“

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and the Future of Female Drivers

In March 2022, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCA) launched its Women of Trucking Advisory Board (WOTAB) to help support female commercial vehicle (CMV) drivers. This board was also created as a part of President Biden’s Trucking Action Plan, which was created to help with the ongoing truck driver shortage in the United States.

In September 2022, the FMCA announced $80,714,223 in grant awards to invest in their programs. One of these programs includes WOTAB to help expand scholarship opportunities for women and enhance trucking training and outreach programs for women. WOTAB also wants to expand scholarship opportunities for women, enhance trucking training and outreach programs for women and ensure driver safety.

British International Freight Association Develops Training Program in Freight Forwarding

The British International Freight Association (BIFA) partnered with Manpower to create the Freight Development Pathway (FDP) to give workers the opportunity to get paid and learn skills at the same time. This program will also include group training so that potential employees can learn what it is like to work in a group on a real job.“

Millennial, Gen Z Drivers Desire Coaching

By adopting leading practices in six key areas, COOs and CSCOs will be better able to harness the power of their people to drive transformation success.

While Millennial and Gen Z drivers are partially motivated by pay, the majority of them consider initiatives, such as rewarding veteran drivers for informal mentorship to help build the community-centered cultures that younger drivers seek, according to a new report from the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI). MARCH/APRIL 2023 | FOOD LOGISTICS 35

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