Author: Ken Whah, President and CEO —
Innovation, transformation, collaboration. . . do it well and do it now.
Like virtually all businesses, the ‘normal’ pre-pandemic day in the life of a temperature-controlled supply chain always included its fair share of challenges. Our leadership team focused on continuous improvements while Hanson Teammates did the heavy lifting to make sure the right product is delivered to the right door at the right time. We encouraged new ideas and improvements that drove value in the eyes of the customer.
Then the whole world changed.
Many believe the pandemic has pushed e-commerce five years into the future. At first, the sudden growth in online meal delivery was an obvious solution to social distancing. Now consumers, including those 55 and older, have become accustomed to the channel, citing convenience as a benefit of online shopping. Channels for foodservice and DTC frozen foods have been pried open by the pandemic and are not likely to close anytime soon, if ever.
Consider that it wasn’t too long ago that the health of the frozen food industry was based on USDA reports for the volume of product stored 30 days or longer. Today, the frozen food industry is measured in part by Per-capita Receipt Index, the total of transactions, as measured by consumer receipts, that occurred in each online shopping channel indexed to a pre-crisis baseline.
Equally important, I believe, is that both shippers and 3PLs agree that their relationships are evolving from transactional to strategic. According to the 25th Annual 2025 Third-Party Logistics Study, published by Penn State, CSCMP, and others, the future success of 3PLs “will be the ability to understand, anticipate and respond to factors and trends that may impact customers’ supply chains in a general sense. This will require not only the ability to act quickly and appropriately but also to become core competent in being able to innovate, change, and transform. Success will require an ability to ‘outrun the bear,’ but also an ability to determine when the bear may not be the most significant threat.”
Like e-commerce, our agility and responsiveness have also been pushed into the future by the pandemic. Until someone gives us the all-clear, we are focused on helping our clients outrun the bear.