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West Coast and California Logistics Blog

Benefits of an Upgraded Transportation Management System

Sep 17, 2015 / by Connie Anderson posted in Transportation Strategies, Logistics Technology, Refrigerated Trucking, LTL

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Our society today is all about upgrading to the next big thing. We wait in line for hours and hours to get ahold of the newest gadgets. Why? Because, they are usually smarter, better, faster and stronger. Who doesn’t want that, right? Well, a new upgraded transportation management system (TMS) has made Weber’s transportation services smarter, better, faster and stronger. We are excited about its functionality and the capabilities it brings to our team. Here is a list of functions that you can also benefit from by having a provider that utilizes an upgraded TMS.

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Cold Chain Distribution: Check out this 2-Minute Video

Dec 30, 2014 / by Connie Anderson posted in Logistics Technology, Cold Chain Managment, Refrigerated Trucking

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Do you manage distribution for temperature-controlled products?

If so, you know that expiration date management and product integrity are constant worries. Choosing an experienced partner for cold chain warehousing and transportation is critical.

Check out this 2-minute video from Weber Logistics on cold chain logistics management. 

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Save with Pool Distribution for Refrigerated Trucking

Dec 17, 2014 / by Connie Anderson posted in Refrigerated Trucking, Temperature Controlled Warehousing, Pool Distribution

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You need to get across town fast.

With no car, your choices are public transport or a cab.

Of course you want to take a cab.  But the wallet’s a little thin, so maybe a bus is the way to go.

But hold on.  What if you could share an air-conditioned cab ride with a few others who are also headed across town, and pay the same as the cost of a bus ride?

Welcome to pool distribution: direct car service for a mass transit price.

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Benefits of Pool Distribution for Refrigerated LTL

Sep 17, 2014 / by Connie Anderson posted in Refrigerated Trucking, LTL, Pool Distribution

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Companies with temperature-sensitive freight that don’t have the volume to ship direct, full truckloads must rely on a limited number of refrigerated LTL carriers.  Because demand exceeds freight capacity, particularly in the chilled and frozen category, freight costs are high. 

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Choosing the Right 3PL for Cold Chain Logistics and Food Distribution

Aug 14, 2014 / by Connie Anderson posted in Refrigerated Trucking, Food Supply Chain, Temperature Controlled Warehousing

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You know the perils of cold chain logistics and food distribution. Let your guard down, and a pallet of chocolate turns into a gooey mess, or you get stuck with racks full of canned goods nearing their sell-by date.

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Controlling Costs for Refrigerated Trucking

Apr 22, 2014 / by Connie Anderson posted in Transportation Strategies, Refrigerated Trucking, LTL

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Why, with so many manufacturers of food and temperature-sensitive products, are there so few temperature-controlled carriers?  And it’s not just food manufacturers that require refrigerated trucking services, other industries like pharmaceuticals face an equally challenging task to get their product to market and still sustain a reasonable profit margin.

In California, many trucking companies promote that they are refrigerated carriers, but are only brokers who hand off the cargo to an asset based refrigerated trucking company. So, not only are the choices limited in using a temp-controlled carrier, but costs could be high due to simple supply and demand.

For more information on strategies, like pool distribution, to control costs for temperature-controlled trucking, read our Insight paper:   Jump in the Pool – Shippers of Temperature-Controlled Freight Collaborate to Save.

How do the prices get so high?

Well, along with the supply and demand issue there are other components that drive up the price of refrigerated trucking equipment.  In the US, the annual cost of fuel to operate just the diesel reefer unit is nearly $4000.00.  Add annual maintenance costs of over $1500.00 to that and you have a sizable overhead that general truckers do not have.  Electric reefer units have less fuel and maintenance costs. But remember that that does not cover the cost of the reefer unit system or additional insurance coverage that the carriers must cover.

Am I overpaying for temp-controlled services?

Possibly.  Larger manufacturers have the benefit of using FTL refrigerated services, which controls their cost per unit sold.  Small to medium-sized manufacturers are forced to ship via LTL.  Based on the weight and density of the cargo you will pay for the space used in the trailer.  So the cost per unit is higher and can make it difficult to compete with bigger companies.

Also, when you are restricted to shipping LTL consignments for your refrigerated trucking needs, the transit time is usually longer. The carrier will collect various shipments over a set period to build a FTL to a particular destination.  Longer transit times also mean a longer “days sales outstanding” for receivables, which does not help the cash flow.

How do I control my costs?

There are a few ways that you can keep those costs from cutting into your profit margin.  

  • Collaborate with other shippers of temperature-sensitive products and pool your freight volume.  3PLs who serve multiple food shippers can coordinate this collaboration.
  • Contact a 3PL with warehousing and refrigerated trucking assets who specializes in storing and shipping refrigerated cargo.
  • Look for refrigerated LTL partners.  There aren’t many, particularly in California and the Western U.S.  But providers like Weber Logistics can combine your temperature-controlled, final-mile shipments with other companies to reduce your distribution costs.

The limited refrigerated trucking services in California are not likely to grow in the future.  But with some careful collaboration with similar shippers and a reputable temp-controlled carrier, you can control your costs and improve your bottom line.

Weber Logistics has one of the largest temperature-controlled delivery networks in the western US.  We specialize in food-grade warehousing and refrigerated LTL shipments. With our fleet of late model equipment and the latest generation of reefers we will get your product to market in a timely and cost effective manner.  Contact us at 855-GOWEBER (469-3237) to learn more about our 3PL services.

Download our Weber Insight on Pool Distribution for Temperature-Controlled Products:

pool distribution temperature control

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Refrigerated Trucking Company Cold Chain Product Integrity? Prove it!

Sep 5, 2013 / by David Cardadeiro posted in Warehouse operations, Cold Chain Managment, Refrigerated Trucking

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As a provider of refrigerated trucking services, one of the questions we are often asked is: “How can you demonstrate that products are being maintained at the required temperature range?”

This question is addressed in our recent Insight paper: “Choosing a 3PL for Food Product Distribution.”

On the temperature controlled warehousing side, we have precise digital thermostats and can program the cooling system to maintain temperature and humidity within a specified min-max range, including frozen (0°– -10°F), chilled (34° – 38°F) or confectionery (55° – 65°F).  This system is integrated with a monitoring system that captures actual humidity and temperature readings, compares them with customer-required ranges and issues immediate alerts to key managers if readings fall out of range.  Email and text alerts continue until the issue is resolved.  Experienced 3PLs like Weber can output a report at any time showing historical temperature and humidity levels over any required time period. 

As for refrigerated trucking services, we first learn the required temperature range prior to pickup and pre-cool the trailer so it’s ready to go upon arrival.  The temperature range is programmed into the refrigeration unit’s instrument panel, which is located on the refrigeration unit at the front of the trailer.  Once freight is loaded and in transit, the instrument panel displays color-coded signals that indicate whether the temperature inside of the trailer is within range.  This panel is easily visible to the driver in his left-side rear view mirror.  If there is a need to see historical temperature readings, we simply plug a computer into the refrigeration unit and output a report that provides trailer temperature readings up to 60 days prior. 

Recently, a candy company customer received a call from a retailer noting product quality problems possibly linked to temperatures being out of compliance during the delivery cycle.  We pulled our reefer log and were able to quickly demonstrate to the company’s quality team that temperatures were within range during the delivery in question.   They then looked further upstream and identified a cold chain integrity problem in their warehouse process. 

Refrigerated trucking companies must certainly be able to deliver precise temperature control capabilities.  But they must also be able to provide accurate historical reporting to answer questions about cold chain integrity from retail customers or regulating agencies. 

For more detail on how to assess 3PL capabilities for temperature-controlled and food-grade products, download our Insight paper on food product distribution, which provides five essential questions you must ask potential 3PL partners. 

Interested in learning more about refrigerated trucking services? Download the Weber Insight:

food distribution 3pl

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It’s Hot Out There! The Importance of Cold Chain Management

Jul 17, 2013 / by Marc Levin posted in Cold Chain Managment, Refrigerated Trucking, Food Supply Chain

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With many decades of experience in cold chain management for food industry customers in the Western U.S., Weber Logistics pays a lot of attention to the weather.  And it’s hard not to notice these days – it’s HOT out there!

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