by Hanson Logistics Hanson Logistics

Cultivating the Next Generation of Supply Chain Leaders

Three strategies cold chain shippers can use to ensure strong supply chain leadership today and in the future.

With the national unemployment rate hovering around 4%, the supply chain field is in the same quandary that many other industries are in right now—namely, finding skilled and available talent to fill their employee pipelines.

Going a step further, identifying and cultivating individuals who can lead the supply chain of the future is even more difficult, what with the abundance of jobs and opportunities that experienced professionals literally have at their fingertips online.

“Manufacturing, retail, logistics, and a range of other companies are scrambling to find supply chain professionals amid a severe talent shortage that threatens those companies’ very livelihoods,” Margaret Harrist writes in Supply Chain Talent Shortage: What’s an Industry To Do?

“At the same time, the skills needed are changing rapidly,” Harrist continues. “The challenge for employers is to find people with the necessary technical and operational competencies, as well as the ability to lead, apply analytical thinking, and innovate.”

Three Steps to Take Right Now

Here are three strategies that cold chain shippers can use to start shoring up their supply chain leadership pipelines for the future:

  • Define your company’s mission. According to the American Management Association, only 18 percent of managers and executives have a succession plan in place to respond to a sudden loss of key executives—not nearly enough to keep business productivity up as people retire, despite the added number of supply chain undergraduate and graduate programs. This is a major oversight for any cold chain shipper that wants to ensure a smooth transition to the next generation of supply chain leadership. “To get started, define an organization or team mission that identifies the specific objectives of your vertical, then use that mission as the foundation of your succession plan,” Tisha Danehl points out in Supply Chain Quarterly. An example of a mission may be something like: “Our goal is to provide quality service to customers while using technology to be sustainable.”
  • Position supply chain as a hotbed for new technologies. According to a recent industry survey, 70% of companies said that candidates’ perception that the “profession lacks status and opportunities for career growth have a high or very high impact on employers’ ability to find, attract, and retain talented people,” Harrist writes, noting that in many cases, those perceptions sometimes are perpetuated by the employers themselves. To buck this trend, focus on how supply chain professionals use emerging technologies (i.e., the Internet of Things, machine learning, robotics), and on how it “allows professionals to focus on several areas that are attractive to young people: improving environmental sustainability and increasing standards of living.”
  • Look outside of your organization’s four walls. “While it’s ideal to look internally, the truth is that sometimes you must go outside your organization to find the right person to lead your logistics or supply chain organization in the future,” Danehl suggests. “With senior leadership potentially approaching retirement, partnering with outside resources, such as a recruiting firm, can help you fill important roles.” Social media (i.e., LinkedIn and the new “Jobs on Facebook” feature), professional trade organizations, and partnerships with area educational institutions are all good resources for shippers to explore.

“By hiring talent directly out of college,” Danehl writes, “you can get an early sense of the candidates’ capabilities and build your workforce from the ground up to ensure that your future supply chain leaders have the right management skills.”

Are you interested in joining the Hanson Logistics team? We look forward to getting to know you, contact us today to learn about our current openings!

by Hanson Logistics Hanson Logistics

5 Reasons to Bundle Transportation and Warehousing with One Provider

Siloed logistics approaches don’t work in today’s cold chain shipping environment. Here’s how to centralize those functions and get back to doing what you do best.

With organizational silos rapidly giving way to more open and collaborative business styles, being able to “flatten out” the logistics function and bundle multiple services with a single provider is becoming more and more important.

“For both small and large transit companies, maintaining multiple locations or expanding into new markets involves lots of variables,” FleetOwner reports. “Exploring costs and service-bundling options could mean greater efficiencies and money saved—and a better chance of success.”

Here’s how cold chain shippers can benefit from bundling:

  1. Focus on your core competencies. No more running around, trying to oversee and micromanage multiple providers and getting them to “talk” to one another. When it’s all under one roof, your central transportation, warehousing, and logistics provider will handle it all for you and allow you to focus on what you do best: supply customers with refrigerated and frozen goods.
  2. Use your provider’s infrastructure to save time and money. Delegating multiple company functions—such as warehousing and distributing—to a single service provider can result in significant time and cost savings. “Bundling these services together with one provider serves to reduce the resources required for oversight as well as provides for economies of scale,” FleetOwner notes, “as a transportation and distribution provider can often utilize their infrastructure and purchasing power to reduce distribution and fleet cost.”
  3. Have a single point of contact. Bundling logistics services with a single provider means you need only make one phone call, send one email, or schedule one meeting to get everything you need. Because this provider will serve as your focal point, you’ll avoid the wasted time, effort, and cost associated with tracking down multiple providers to get your questions answered or problems solved.
  4. Get consistent results. If you’ve historically used multiple providers for your cold chain transportation and warehousing needs, then you probably understand pains like inconsistent service levels, fluctuating rates, and unpredictable outcomes. By bundling these services with a single provider, you can avoid these uncertainties and focus on getting consistent results from one business partner.
  5. Create a win-win partnership. When companies skip around from supplier to supplier, they never really get the chance to create true, lasting partnerships with those providers. By putting the time and effort into working with one logistics provider, companies can create win-win collaborations that can help them shepherd their cold chains through even the toughest logistics environments (i.e., the current driver shortage and capacity crunches).

Demand for next-day delivery, the driver shortage, and rising transportation rates are all pushing cold chain distributors to find ways to work smarter, better, and faster in today’s transportation environment. In their quest to manage more volume and deal with more complex customer demands than they’ve ever faced in the past, more shippers are bundling fulfillment, warehousing, and shipping with single providers that can meet all of their current needs while also helping them prepare for the future.

To improve your cold chain shipping efficiency, contact us today to learn how Hanson can help.

by Hanson Logistics Hanson Logistics

U.S. Growers Thrive as Consumers Load Up on Fruits and Veggies

Spring planting time is here and as the produce season kicks into full gear it looks as if 2018 will be another good year for the nation’s food growers. With consumer tastes continuing to tilt in the direction of fresher, local, and more wholesome meal options, the companies that supply fruits and vegetables are in high demand. According to Packaged Fact’s Fresh Produce: U.S. Market Trends and Opportunities report, consumers’ consumption of fresh produce grew steadily—albeit modestly at about 1.3%— between 2011 and 2016. Those moderate annual gains are expected to continue over the next several years through 2021. “Fruit and vegetable producers benefited from steady growth among the U.S. population, as well as from the fact that all age groups have high usage rates, especially Gen X adults,” says Packaged Facts’ David Sprinkle in a press release. “Fruits and vegetables are expected to continue experiencing growth in niche areas as consumers persist in seeking out novel flavors from around the world. Increases in disposable personal income will support purchases of premium fruits and vegetables, including non-GMO, organic, and locally grown types. Also, marketing strategies focusing on health and the delicious taste of fresh produce will help fruits and vegetables to expand their appeal and per capita consumption.”

Millennials Love Frozen Foods

Frozen foods are on a tear this year, and both fruit and vegetable growers are benefitting from consumers’ renewed interest in frozen options. Forty-three percent of Millennial shoppers said they have purchased more frozen foods this year than last year, according to a new report from Acosta. The frozen food revival also crosses generational lines, with 27% of GenXers, 19% of Baby Boomers, and 19% of the Silent Generation are also buying more frozen this year. Acosta attributes the growth to several industry trends, including:
  • Convenience drives prepared meals, and frozen meals enable consumers to have a stock of meals whenever they are out of time/ ideas/ fresh ingredients
  • Health and wellness – frozen food enables companies to offer longer shelf life without preservatives; textures are maintained without the use of artificial ingredients, and manufacturers are able to offer niche products at a better price point, including vegan options.
  • Better value for the money – hectic, unpredictable meal consumption leads to a staggering amount of food waste, and frozen food decreases the amount of food spoilage.
  • The rise of breakfast – with the search for new breakfast options, consumers are warming up to breakfast sandwiches and other frozen baked goods.

Nutritious and Natural Both Rank High

Right now, Food Industry Executive says grocery shopping preferences are “trending heavily toward nutritious, natural foods from transparent manufacturers that share their health goals.” Successful manufacturers are following suit, the publication reports, while convenient and healthy frozen options from restaurant-style appetizers to full dinners and desserts are “revitalizing the frozen food aisle, despite the common belief that fresh trumps frozen.” Packaged Facts points to the Green Giant brand as a good example of how frozen food marketers are getting back on track. The brand changed hands in November 2015, when B&G Foods purchased it from General Mills for $765 million and began breathing new life into the brand. In less than a year it was rolling out a series of new and innovative Green Giant frozen products, including veggie tots, a “kid-friendly, mom-approved alternative to potato tots and French fries that are filled with vegetables such as cauliflower or broccoli instead of potatoes; riced veggies, made from 100% vegetables and with no sauce or seasoning, are positioned as alternatives to traditional rice; and mashed cauliflower, an alternative to the typical potato side dish. “Since the acquisition of this iconic brand, we have been working tirelessly to meet consumer desire for new, delicious ways to incorporate more vegetables into their daily lives,” Robert Cantwell, chief executive officer of B&G Foods told Packaged Facts. “This consumer desire has inspired the creation of new Green Giant frozen innovations, as well as the brand’s modernized persona, with the intention of bringing back the Green Giant with a purpose — adding more vegetables to America’s plates.”

Addressing Logistics Challenges

As produce season heats up, both manufacturers and their logistics providers are keeping an eye on capacity, rates, regulatory changes, and other issues that could impact their supply chains. With U.S. crop volumes growing between May and July—and due to the time-sensitivity of such shipments—expect available frozen and refrigerated capacity to shrink and rates to rise accordingly. “Tight U.S. truck capacity and rising rates marked the first quarter of 2018, and the outlook for the remainder of the year is more of the same, if not worse,” JOC reports. “That is the dilemma for shippers of perishable goods, especially food, who are seeing growing demand from buyers, on the one hand, tempered by a capacity crunch on the other.”
by Hanson Logistics Hanson Logistics

The Future of Cold Chain Logistics

The future of cold chain logistics is almost always in transition: from growth to slow-downs, modified trends to shifted needs from customers. After two considerably slow years for the industry in 2014 and 2015, shipping providers are eager to see a new era for logistics.

That new era might be closer than we think: the Council of Supply Chain Logistics released its 27th Annual State of Logistics Report and suggested a shift to a more sound logistics industry. The report documented the positive changes in the logistics market from last year. This showed providers it may be time to accommodate accordingly.

The Findings

In this year’s report, what began as lulls in traffic and a rise in costs for businesses has accelerated into a cost efficient system. This includes having services available in plenty, with agreeable pricing and rationalized demand. The report mentioned an increase in supply chain transparency as it continues to grow. Another highlight was technological changes for 3PLs, helping enable more efficient production of data to drivers and coordinators alike.

Interpretations

What does this mean for providers? An air of excitement looking forward into a stronger industry. This also infers more promising results as the next few months finish out the quarter.

Partner with us in the new era for cold chain logistics. At Hanson, no matter the change in industry, we are always saying “Yes, We Can!” to providing solutions and pursuing excellence.

by Hanson Logistics Hanson Logistics

Down with Red Tape: Compelling Reasons to Work with Smaller, Family-Owned Service Providers

Down with Red Tape: Compelling Reasons to Work with Smaller, Family-Owned Service Providers

Defined by Merriam-Webster as a system of government or business that has many complicated rules and ways of doing things, “bureaucracy” is often used to describe the inner workings of any organization that tends to operate with a lot of red tape, rules, policies, and decision makers. Hanson Logistics, on the other hand, has effectively bucked this trend and instead focuses on making it easy for customers of all sizes—and across numerous industries—to do business with it.

Counted among the largest refrigerated public warehouses in the country, Hanson is smaller than the conglomerates and internationally held PRWs.  Smaller companies are well known for their agility, growth potential, and ability to turn on a dime when the market calls for it, and Hanson is no exception.

Add “family-owned” to the equation and the attention to customer service, longevity, and sustainability becomes that much more focused. Rather than concentrating on what’s best for shareholders, for example, smaller firms empower their employees to make decisions instead of just deferring to corporate management. These qualities translate into less bureaucracy and more personal client and supplier relationships.

“When looking for a company to do business with, whether that’s as a supplier, a distributor, or service provider, it can be easy to go straight to the biggest names in the field,” notes Complete Biz Systems’ Size Matters: The Benefits of Doing Business with a Small Company. “However, when you look at the day-to-day reality of business, smaller companies often offer much more in return, providing you with a personal service that could suit your requirements far better than any global corporation ever could.” Just a few of those benefits include:

  • Understanding:  A small company is far more likely to recognize how your business works and what it needs to grow.
  • Accountability:  In large national or international companies, finding the person who is responsible for dealing with your query or complaint can be almost impossible.
  • Accessibility:  When contacting a small company, they’ll know exactly who you need to speak to, and if they’re not in the office, should be able to help you get in touch quickly.
  • Personal service:  Smaller operations are far more likely to take each client on individually, talking through their exact requirements and molding products and services to suit those needs. This way, you get a much more practical and targeted solution for your business needs.
  • Price:  Big businesses may be able to offer competitive prices due to the volume of business that they take on, but generally small companies will be able to offer you better deals on their products.

According to the National Research Center, other great reasons to work with small businesses include the ability to easily build relationships with owners and staff (and perhaps even feel like they’ve become part of a “family”); the opportunity to support the nation’s biggest job creators; and the fact that small business owners are generally experts in their field. This makes them better equipped to answer complex questions or provide innovative solutions for their customers.

For more information on how to leverage Hanson Logistics’ strength as a small, family-run logistics provider please visit us online at www.hansonlogistics.com.