Food and beverage logistics are not for the faint of heart. When you add the unforgiving elements of time sensitivity and temperature control to the already complex nature of supply chain management, you have an entirely different animal from other industries’ logistics. The many blind spots become apparent when you’re trying to scale your business and grow your customer base.
If you have an established food or beverage brand, you also probably have an established supply chain. Perhaps you already partnered with a 3PL that has done a nice job of helping you get this far. The question now is, how do you get to that next level? Scaling a business always brings difficult but necessary decisions to achieve success. One of those decisions in your case may be to engage a new 3PL partner that specializes in scaling food and beverage logistics. Here’s how food and beverage logistics companies like ODW can provide the solutions, resources, and expertise needed to overcome the specific logistics challenges you may be running into right now.
Simply More Space
For fast-growing food and beverage brands, the initial hurdle often involves outgrowing their warehouse space. As your operations scale up, your warehousing needs naturally follow suit. The challenge isn’t just about finding a larger space; it's about securing a solution that can quickly accommodate your growth without bottlenecks.
A smaller 3PL may promise to grow its footprint alongside yours and expand its capacity as needed. However, this process can be painstakingly slow and hinder your growth. You need things to happen within weeks, not months. Waiting too long for additional storage capacity can lead to missed opportunities and customer dissatisfaction. With over 7.5 million square feet of warehousing space across 30 distribution centers, ODW has the real estate you need to scale seamlessly. You won't have to compromise on storage or worry about where to house your increasing inventory. Space becomes a strength instead of a weakness.
Complete Quality Control
As your brand outgrows its warehousing space, a product becomes more prone to mishandling and spoilage. While quality control is an important part of any supply chain, the stakes are much higher and the requirements are much stricter in food and beverage logistics. There are multiple dimensions to maintaining quality control of food. It starts with meticulous control of inventory. Every detail matters, from managing expiration dates to ensuring precise storage temperatures.
There’s also the regulatory side. Food storage and frozen warehouse facilities must adhere to stringent food safety and quality standards. If your warehouse isn’t compliant, your business and brand are at risk. ODW offers cold chain warehousing solutions for any product requiring frozen warehouse storage down to -10° F. Our centrally located food-grade facilities are certified by the British Retail Consortium (BRC), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), and Safe Quality Food Institute.
The importance of quality carries from warehousing to distribution, especially when delivering to big-box stores like Walmart, Kroger, and other large retailers and grocers. These stores operate with meticulous retail compliance programs that can seem nitpicky but are a necessity due to the volume of incoming deliveries from hundreds of channels daily. Retail compliance helps maintain control and consistency so they can process and accept your shipments and continue to stock your products on their shelves.
Navigating retail compliance while scaling your business requires a logistics partner who already understands your customers and has experience adhering to their unique programs. Leading food logistics companies like ODW also invest in warehouse automation to reduce manual labor, improve accuracy, and meet the different requirements of each customer without slowing down operations.
Retail compliance begins before your product ever leaves the warehouse to minimize the occurrence of chargebacks. Even so, chargebacks are inherent to the business of large-scale logistics. Your 3PL should be equipped to audit and dispute questionable chargebacks on your behalf using thorough documentation maintained every step of the way from the warehouse to the customer.
Integrated Food & Beverage Logistics Solutions
Transportation and distribution are directly connected. Yet, they are often separated by different providers. In food and beverage logistics, it’s common for transportation costs to be three or four times more than warehousing and distribution costs. If you’re looking for a distribution provider without looking at the transportation side, you are likely missing opportunities for efficiency and cost savings. When you consider warehousing, distribution, transportation, and freight optimization holistically rather than independently, you can minimize complexity and reduce supply chain costs, both of which are crucial to scaling successfully.
Are you essentially putting all your eggs in one basket when you give your entire supply chain to one provider? Yes. It’s understandable to be wary, but the larger risk lies in having multiple providers that aren’t communicating effectively. A single integrated logistics provider will always be communicating internally and externally, daily, even down to a per-load basis, all with clean data in the process. That fluidity simply isn’t realistic for any two providers to achieve with each other as organizations naturally function and communicate differently.
Entrusting your supply chain to a large 3PL with many food and beverage clients can also enable you to benefit from multi-client consolidation. This is when we build optimized loads based on similar freight going to the same customers to create cost savings across the board. ODW has a robust multi-client consolidation program in place in Columbus and Central Ohio, where we deliver to regional centers for roughly 20 big-box retailers including Target, Dollar General, CVS, and others. In addition to cost savings, multi-client consolidation drives sustainability by reducing the number of trucks on the road. It also strengthens relationships with retailers, who always appreciate a consolidated effort in receiving.
Case Study: Bellisio Foods
ODW Logistics partnered with Bellisio Foods, a leading frozen food manufacturer, to address their specific logistics challenges. Bellisio Foods needed a reliable and agile logistics solution to support its growth and complex distribution needs. Transportation, route planning, and freight billing were largely manual processes that were causing supply chain inefficiencies and carrier partnership challenges.
ODW Logistics implemented a comprehensive strategy combining warehousing, transportation, and technology solutions. This enabled Bellisio Foods to streamline its supply chain, improve order accuracy, reduce lead times, and enhance its overall operational efficiency.
Through ODW’s freight optimization, Bellisio Foods saw $1.4M in transportation savings within the first 12 months. We also built strategic carrier partnerships that reduced layover fees by 73.9%. The successful collaboration between Bellisio Foods and ODW Logistics shows the effectiveness of a customized, integrated logistics approach in overcoming food industry challenges.
Who Are Your Customers — Now and in the Future?
This growth-minded question sets the stage for us to design a supply chain solution that will enable you to grow your business on purpose-built logistics. Read more about partnering with the right 3PL for scalable food and beverage logistics. Contact us to start the conversation today.
ODW LogisticsSince 1971, we’ve been providing warehousing, distribution, and transportation solutions for hundreds of brands. We operate as an extension of your business to control costs throughout your supply chain that deliver you a competitive advantage over your competition.
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