Why should food processors have all the fun? When it comes to new products, even third-party cold storage providers can develop new products.
That’s exactly what happened at United States Cold Storage (USCS). A 119-year old warehousing company with 35 nationwide locations, USCS, Voorhees, N.J., last year created an entirely new business: USCS Logistics. Leveraging millions invested in freight consolidation and transportation management technologies, USCS created a separate USCS Logistics arm to specialize in temperature-controlled transportation strategies.
To learn more about the new group, Refrigerated & Frozen Foods spoke with Keith Mowery, USCS director of transportation and logistics.
Refrigerated & Frozen Foods: Why create this new business?
Keith Mowery: We are constantly looking to improve upon our “best-in-class” industry position and make it easier for customers to do business with us. Customers require more than just warehousing and outbound transportation and by extending our services into third-party logistics, we have done that.
R&FF: Tell us a little more about USCS’ approach to this.
Mowery: USCS’ culture emphasizes superior service for all customers – no matter the size and every employee recognizes that this is our No. 1 responsibility. We also have a proprietary state-of-the-art transportation management system (TMS) that is constantly updated so we stay in step with market needs.
R&FF: Did USCS see “gaps” in the market?
Mowery: We see many small to mid-size manufacturers struggling with execution and information gathering, in areas related to transportation. Typically, the personnel managing transportation have other job responsibilities requiring significant time, typically in customer service or planning.
Because these individuals have multiple duties – and because they may not have experience in transportation – they may see transportation costs increasing over time. We believe that some of these cost increases are unnecessary. Additionally, because of system constraints it’s harder for them to review data to see where costs are out of line.
R&FF: How does USCS select carriers and manage them?
Mowery: Carrier qualification is very important – as there have been recent court cases where third parties and shippers have been held financially responsible for injuries or deaths resulting from an accident (where a motor carrier they hired was found liable).
We ensure that all carriers have the proper operating authorities and insurance – as well as meet our minimum standard safety requirements. We continually monitor every carrier within our network to ensure they maintain these standards through the duration of our relationship.
R&FF: How is your group structured?
Mowery: USCS Logistics is based in Voorhees along with our logistics services group, which focuses on network optimizations for current and potential customers. In every instance, this group helps identify the locations and number of distribution centers to meet each customer’s unique supply chain.
Our outbound consolidation programs operate regionally nationwide. We do this to develop strong relations with the regional carrier base and to be at the warehouse location to execute alongside the warehouse staff. Additionally, we have a USCS Transport business with shuttle services and local deliveries from our warehouses nationwide.
R&FF: Can you share an example of your group’s work?
Mowery: Our logistics services group conducted a network optimization study for a national customer and recommended a three-distribution center network. The customer uses USCS Logistics to manage all shipments from their production facilities into the USCS warehouse and our outbound consolidation programs for product shipments to their [end-receiver] customers. In the end, USCS Logistics was able to help this company reduce its overall warehousing and transportation cost by more than 20 percent.
-- United States Cold Storage
www.uscold.com / (856) 380-8025