Five Logistics Capabilities Food & Beverage Companies Need to Master

If you take a quick look at our customer case studies page, it’s easy to see that Redwood has deep expertise and proven experience in the food and beverage industry. We’ve helped some of the world’s leading consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies master their tough logistics challenges, whether by providing multimodal transportation warehousing, freight brokerage services or proprietary technology.   

PepsiCo_logo.svgRedwood has comprehensive capabilities to help food and beverage companies optimize just about every aspect of their logistics operations. As just one example, recently we hosted a LinkedIn Live event with PepsiCo that focused on how it’s leveraging advanced technology to improve its logistics sustainability.  

When choosing a logistics partner, it’s critical that food and beverage manufacturers look for hands-on, proven experience in the industry. Why? Because storing and moving food and beverage products is fraught with complexities — and it’s a whole different ballgame than moving durable goods.     

Winland Foods LogoLisa Obecny serves as Transportation Manager for Winland Foods, a global manufacturer of private-label and branded foods for retail and co-pack customers. She recently told us, “Shippers encounter many challenges as the market cycles, one of the largest being how to protect service levels while balancing cost. Now is the time to collaborate with internal and external stakeholders to ensure your needs are properly scoped out. This partnership mentality is crucial in breaking down internal silos — and it fosters a collaborative relationship with external vendors.” 

Based on our work with customers like PepsiCo and Winland, here’s a look at the top five capabilities food and beverage shippers need to master today. If you’re looking for a logistics partner, make sure they can support every one of these core competencies.    

1. Maintaining Temperature Control 

Ensuring consistent and appropriate temperatures during transit is crucial to ensuring food and beverage quality and safety. This can be difficult to achieve during long journeys, especially for temperature-sensitive items like fresh produce and frozen goods. Refrigerated trucks and containers require proper maintenance and monitoring to maintain optimal conditions. If you want to avoid spoilage, waste, product recalls and damage to your brand reputation, temperature control needs to be a core competency of your global logistics operations. You need to choose reliable logistics partners, whether carriers or brokers, that can be trusted to diligently monitor temperatures as part of a strict standard operating procedure that ensures quality deliveries. 

2. Minimizing Delays and Disruptions

Time is of the essence in food and beverage transportation. Product perishability, seasonality, retail promotions and other factors make it imperative that food and beverages arrive on time, every time. Delays caused by extreme weather, traffic congestion, border crossings and other events can significantly impact product quality and freshness — and, ultimately, your financial results. Find a logistics partner that knows how to anticipate these issues in advance and resolve them quickly. Efficient route planning, real-time tracking and flexible transportation options are essential for mitigating your risks. 

3. Eliminating Handling and Contamination Risks

Just about every day brings news of a food or beverage product recall. Logistics plays an enormous role in minimizing these events. It’s no secret that improper handling during loading, unloading and transportation can damage packaging, lead to product spills and introduce contaminants. Work with a logistics partner that knows how to ensure product integrity and prevent foodborne illnesses. Ask about their ability to maintain uncompromising hygiene standards, use proper equipment and train their personnel in safe handling practices. 

4. Optimizing Transportation Costs

Transportation is one of your core competencies as a food and beverage manufacturer. But it’s also one of your largest cost centers. Logistics expenses are growing all the time, driven by rising fuel costs, labor shortages, faster delivery demands and vehicle maintenance expenses. Your logistics partner should have deep expertise in minimizing costs, while still flawlessly meeting service-level agreements. They should be employing best practices like optimizing routes, utilizing smaller and more fuel-efficient vehicles, and exploring alternative transportation modes such as rail and short-haul flights. To maximize your return, your logistics partner should also offer consultative services for network optimization that help you minimize costs. 

5. Meeting Increasing Consumer Demands

As consumer demand grows for fresh, local and sustainable choices, food and beverage manufacturers are under special scrutiny. Consumers are increasingly looking for transparency and traceability when they make food purchasing decisions, which necessitates robust information systems, connectivity and partnerships with local producers. Food and beverage manufacturers need to design their logistics networks for speed, flexibility and agility — and leverage advanced technology to digitally connect, in real time, with a range of trading partners. Prepare to meet increasing consumer demand by finding a logistics partner that’s “been there and done that” when it comes to meeting specialized customer needs. 

While these are the top food and beverage capabilities today, new market trends and demands are always emerging. Prepare your logistics team to master both current and future complexities by reaching out to Redwood today. 

Gearing up for Food Shippers of America 2024? Find our booth location, activities, and helpful resources here.