Third-party logistics companies acknowledge McCain Foods USA efforts to become "America's Best Food Company."

With dance tunes cranked up and the food flowing, McCain Foods USA always serves up fun -- along with French fries and appetizers -- during the National Restaurant Association's annual Chicago exhibition.
Behind the scenes, however, this Lisle, Ill.-based company is expanding into other food areas and quite serious about becoming one of the food industry's best all-around performers. That much was evident as Refrigerated & Frozen Foods recently honored McCain Foods as the magazine's annual Logistics Leadership Award winner.
R&FF presented the award earlier this summer during the American Frozen Food Institute's 2007 Distribution and Logistics Conference in Phoenix.
Having surveyed nearly 50 third-party warehousing, transportation and logistics providers, R&FF recognized McCain for year-over-year improvement in logistics as well as for the company's proactive work with the third-party logistics community.
Accepting R&FF's award was Ron Pillsbury, McCain Foods' vice president of planning, distribution and customer service. In a special luncheon session, Pillsbury talked about his company's strategic goals and recent growth.
Last year saw McCain purchase Jon-Lin Foods, a Colton, Calif., processor of prepared frozen appetizers as well as frozen industrial fruit and vegetables. Closer to home, the company also purchased a dough-enrobed products plant in New Albany, Ind.
"We have expanded our portfolio to include grilled vegetables and dough-enrobed products and we continue to explore and pursue additional acquisitions and co-packer alliances," said Pillsbury. "Our goal is to 'Build America's Best Food Company' and we are taking the necessary steps in the marketplace."
Pillsbury then addressed his company drive to be "best."
"Our customers continue to raise the bar of performance and -- to realize that goal -- we actively work with them on 'differentiators' in terms of R&D, inventory management, etc." he said. "Innovation is a strategic importance to McCain and as an organization. When it comes to execution, that means we're paying tremendous attention to detail and emphasizing high levels of service to the customer."
Accordingly, he said McCain Foods recently recast its organization. It created a collaborative, cross-functional sales and operations planning team to better align demand and supply capabilities. Secondly, McCain realigned its executive team so that one senior vice president Dave Cowperthwait, is now responsible for all procurement, manufacturing and logistics activities.
Meanwhile, improvements within the logistics group are indeed drawing notice from the outside world.
Said one public refrigerated warehouse company executive, "[We appreciate the] constant feedback between McCain and all of its 3PL providers with regard to key performance indicators, total supply chain logistics and reporting."
A railroad executive adds, ". . . McCain is the most thorough in the industry when it comes to getting all players in a room for the rollout of a new program. This type of meeting clarifies roles and responsibilities, clarifies expectations each of the players has for each other and identifies potential disconnects that can be resolved before they create a breakdown in the process."
Another industry supplier, a trucking company executive, told R&FF, "McCain has become more proficient over the past year in Electronic Data Interchange. Their initiatives to enhance and reconcile their EDI data pertaining to on-time performance has been exemplary."
Suffice it to say that those types of comments are music to Pillsbury's ears. "The McCain logistics team has a passion for winning and thinks and acts proactively. Our sales and operations planning is an example of this."