For millions of Americans, the term ‘family’ applies to both humans and our four-legged friends. Many pet owners will spare no expense in protecting the good health and longevity of their furry family members. As such, manufacturers of pet foods are tasked not only with producing high-quality products but also ensuring that quality is maintained throughout the supply chain. In this article, we’ll look at the role that pet food logistics providers play in keeping supply chains safe and efficient.
Pet food regulation compliance
Federal regulations for pet food products aren’t all that different from regulations concerning human food products.
Food Safety and Modernization Act (FSMA) regulations require supply chain stakeholders for pet food products to comply with current good manufacturing practices (GMP). Read the full pet-food-product GMPs from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
In complying with GMPs, supply chain service providers that store and distribute pet food products may need to create Food Safety Plans that include the following elements.
- Identify biological, chemical, or physical hazards present in the warehouse, container, trailer, or other equipment.
- Rank hazards by probability and severity.
- Implement written controls to minimize or prevent identified hazards, and monitor for consistent performance.
- Ensure adequate sanitation measures.
- Take corrective actions for identified problems.
- Maintain a recall plan for removing unsafe products from commerce.
3PL characteristics that can benefit your supply chain
As with 3PL providers that handle warehousing and distribution of human foods, you’ll want to make sure that – at a minimum – your chosen 3PL provider is registered with the FDA and adheres to Food Safety Plans as required. Additional characteristics that can benefit your supply chain include the following.
Food industry certifications. Some 3PLs go above and beyond when it comes to food safety – and have the certifications to show for it. In the food industry, AIB International has become one of the world’s foremost providers of training and certification programs related to food safety, quality management, process optimization, and avoidance of recalls. AIB certification audits are conducted annually and cover every aspect of warehousing operations, from procedure and paperwork review to detailed reviews of equipment and facility conditions.
The ability to meet or exceed your KPIs. In the pet food supply chain, metrics like inventory accuracy and on-time final delivery are crucial. You want to make sure that your 3PL partner has the capability to track and report on these and other metrics that matter most to your business, and has a proven track record of meeting or exceeding your goals.
The ability to fight chargebacks. As 3PLs handle supply chain operations for many different companies, they have a solid understanding of what it takes to comply with a wide range of retailer shipping requirements. Some 3PLs, like Weber Logistics, even have a dedicated compliance team that is solely dedicated to staying up to date with routing guides, helping their customers meet retail compliance requirements, and helping to fight chargebacks, when necessary.
The ability to integrate supply chain services. A provider of integrated 3PL services (i.e., a provider that handles multiple components of your supply chain) is able to adjust in ways that would be impossible with multiple partners for drayage, transloading, warehousing, and final delivery. Need the warehouse to open after hours to receive an important incoming container? Need to bump up an outbound shipment from the warehouse to accommodate a retailer? Your integrated 3PL can do those things seamlessly as it controls multiple elements of the distribution process – while giving you one point of contact for large chunks of your supply chain.
Transportation services that include pool distribution. Pool distribution involves consolidating small shipments from multiple suppliers or manufacturers into larger truckload shipments that are then sent to retailers or distribution centers in key markets. This ‘share the ride’ approach can reduce your costs and the time your products spend in transit.
The ability to provide temperature-controlled 3PL services. While most pet food products require ambient-temperature environments, there are some products that may require refrigerated or frozen storage and/or transportation. At Weber Logistics, for example, we combine temp-controlled warehousing and final delivery services into an integrated cold chain distribution solution.
The ability to manage B2B and B2C distribution from a single inventory pool. Your 3PL’s WMS system will provide you and your 3PL partner with visibility into on-hand inventory, inventory in transit, and aging inventory or expiring SKUs. It should also manage inventory for omnichannel distribution in real time. With such a system, you no longer need to contend with multiple, sometimes duplicate, instances of inventory which can throw your weeks of supply and cycle counting off track. This then allows you to lower your warehouse footprint (and costs) as you no longer need to account for inventory surprises in your stock volumes.
Turn to Weber Logistics for agile pet food logistics solutions
While there are 3PLs of all sizes that handle pet food logistics, it’s only mid-sized providers like Weber Logistics that have the infrastructure to support you, plus the flexibility to develop custom solutions for your business.
This agility is the foundation of Weber Logistics’ supply chain services. We work as part of your team to manage your supply chain – keeping it safe and efficient, while helping you take advantage of changing market conditions in real time.
To learn more about working with a truly agile pet food logistics provider, contact Weber Logistics today.