While transportation and grocery store companies are making all these new changes, third-party logistics are also changing their storage techniques.
Third-party logistics, or 3PL, is a company that takes care of supply chain processes like warehouse inventory and management, transportation and delivery, and more.
In simpler terms, they can hold the stock for grocery stores.
3PLs also have to adapt and change technology so food can be delivered to them.
In 2017, Wabash National, North America’s largest producer of semi-trailers, bought Supreme, a truck body maker. This was done to accommodate the rise in e-commerce food deliveries and resulted in the launch of dry and refrigerated body trucks.
D&D Wholesale Distributors is working with Volta Air to test all-electric refrigeration units for vehicles so they can deliver a wider variety of products.
3PLs are growing with the demand for fresh products. In fact, global 3PL revenues reach $802 billion in 2016 and are currently on track to exceed $962 billion in 2020.
Due to the rise in fresh produce, 3PL’s were also forced to evolve to consumer’s demands and are adapting to hold cold chain supply.
More demand for fresh food means that 3PL’s need to make more space for fresh food inventory and industrial freezers aren’t cheap.
This can begin to open up problems that warehouse managers usually don’t have to worry about, like learning how to keep a warehouse cool in the summer, so the product is ensured to be fresh.
The product must remain fresh in storage and on the go, but the more distance between the supplier and the customer, the more of a chance there is for the food to go bad.
Demand for fresh produce calls for better inventory storage, product stability, and visibility throughout the distribution process. It’s crucial that companies are transporting products at maximum efficiency because every delay can have negative consequences – whether it be unhappy customers or a product recall due to illness or death.
If a recall, sickness, or death is linked to a product, then that brand name is potentially ruined forever.
In 1993, an E. coli outbreak occurred when 732 people were infected from eating contaminated beef patties from 73 different Jack in the Box locations. The outbreak resulted in 173 hospitalizations and four deaths. Lives were changed forever, and the company is still recovering from the outbreak and bad publicity.
Each product has a specific perishability time, so each product must be carefully attended to for maximum shelf life.