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Q Products Stich Together the American Dream

QProducts & Services

As published by Food Logistics Magazine:


Stitched with love may sound a bit farfetched coming from a manufacturer, but for Q Products and Services (QPS) nothing could be truer. QPS manufacturers passive thermal protection products, which protect temperature sensitive commodities in transit for the pharmaceutical, food, beverage and chemical markets.

Their most popular passive thermal protection products include PalletQuilts, CargoQuilts and ThermaPaks, which are all produced at a recently renovated facility near Chicago, Illinois. Part of the 20-plus companies parented by family-owned LANCO International, most recognized for Mi-Jack Products, QPS is proud of its rich American history.

“To us it’s more than a quilt. We’re giving temperature protection to industries that need solutions to better retain product freshness. Plus, these products are quality-made in the United States by skilled employees,” says Paul Yadron, vice president of sales at QPS.

Adds Kevin Lynch, director of sales, food and beverage, at QPS, “Jack Lanigan Sr. made manufacturing a top priority when he founded the company in the early nineties. He believed that if we were going to put our name on something, we should control how that product is produced. That was really important to him.”

And because QPS manufactures everything in house, they do have total control—start to finish—and with that, the flexibility to offer customized solutions for their customers. Backed by the strength of LANCO International, they have ample resources to react quickly and sustain future growth.

Yadron believes you control your own destiny in manufacturing, and maintaining every aspect of their supply chain locally —from sourcing to shipping—plays a large role in providing a quality product for QPS customers. “People like seeing our product is made in facilities that are pristine, and that quality controls are consistent,” he adds.

Lynch notes that QPS customers also like knowing they can visit and see the products and understand firsthand how they are manufactured.

Automation Is Not the Enemy

QPS continues to develop cost saving solutions for transporting temperature sensitive commodities every day, with a game-changing line of new proprietary passive thermal protection products set to hit the market later this year. The manufacturer also has expanded its product line to include innovative internal trailer smart locks and wireless temperature monitoring technologies—but it’s bread and butter remains its handmade quilts.

Consumer demand for fresh perishable goods, which often comes with temperature sensitivity and regulatory pressure due to the implementation of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), has created a growing demand for the products QPS offers. And with that growing demand, came room for improvement.

About three years ago QPS invested in automation with state-of-the-art sewing machines to boost efficiency. Automation can be a scary word to skilled laborers, but once QPS employees understood the need for automation, they quickly got on board.

“Adding automation in the flow of manufacturing really improved operations and the wellbeing of our employees,” Yadron explains. “Once employees understood the need for automation because the company was growing, they were excited because it meant more job security.”

And not only has QPS’ growth provided more job security, it continues to create more job opportunities. The company has grown from just under 30 employees to more than 70 in the last few years.

“The machines increased efficiency so much that we needed our industrial sewers more than ever,” Yadron says. “There is a skill level to the industrial sewer that is irreplaceable.”

Manufacturing today may not be what it was 20 to 30 years ago, but it still exists in American communities like the one QPS
calls home.

“We are always looking for ways to improve our manufacturing process, and while manufacturing has changed over the
years, it is still here, providing great jobs,” Yadron says.

“Yes, there’s automation; yes, there’s new ways of doing things. But it’s to improve the process and provide jobs,” he adds. “It’s important our customers know we can react quickly to meet their needs, and automation combined with skilled employees, gives us the ability to exceed expectations.”

Home Grown Opportunity

Manufacturing state side can come with its challenges, but QPS only sees opportunity. “Our business is growing because the passive thermal protection industry has seen more acceptance amongst shippers, carriers and logistics providers as an alternative option to secure product integrity,” Yadron says.

And above all else, U.S.-based manufacturing means creating jobs in the community and giving people opportunities close to home.

“Manufacturing is alive and well in the south suburbs of Chicago, providing jobs, producing quality products and ingrained in the community and its continued growth,” adds Yadron.

Podcast: Staying Relevant, Staying Innovative in the Food/Bev Supply Chain

QProducts & Services

JUN 6, 2017

Our Director of Sales for our Food and Beverage market, Kevin Lynch, joined the panel of this webinar by Food Logistics on staying relevant in the supply chain. Listen Here!

“How do companies stay relevant and innovative in today’s supply chain? Kevin Lynch, director of food and beverage at Q Products & Services, talks about those issues and how strategic partnerships and collaboration play a critical role in staying on the leading edge, which ultimately supports customers’ initiatives and business goals.”


CargoQuilt® Wraps Up Additional Savings For Shippers

QProducts & Services

As published in Food Logistics Magazine:

ARTICLE AUG 27, 2014

Kevin Lynch, National Account Manager at Q Products & Services’ (QPS), a manufacturer of insulated blankets, confirms that capacity issues in the trucking sector, particularly for OTRrefrigerated, are extremely tight.

“Our customers and prospects both are telling us when it comes to capacity for OTR refrigerated, it’s just not there,” he says. To make matters worse, most OTR refrigerated carriers do not have immediate plans to invest in new equipment to add capacity either, says Lynch.

QPS manufactures passive temperature protection products, including the Multi-Trip CargoQuilt, the flagship product in their quilt fleet, which covers an entire or partial load of freight enclosed in a trailer or container, for either domestic or international shipments. The CargoQuilt protects against freezing, heat and condensation damage.

While it is a relatively simple product, its ability to save money for shippers who covert their OTR refrigerated shipments to intermodal dry shipments is impressive. Furthermore, it gives shippers added flexibility by allowing them to use temperature-controlled equipment only when they really need it.

“It’s a win-win for shippers, because not only is there capacity on intermodal, but it’s a more cost effective compared to OTR,” says Lynch. Once shippers begin using the insulated blankets and understand how well they perform, they start looking elsewhere in their supply chain for opportunities to use insulated blankets, Lynch adds.

How Is Software & Technology Impacting The Food & Beverage Supply Chain?

QProducts & Services

As published in Food Logistics Magazine:


As part of this month’s special coverage on Software & Technology, we contacted over a dozen industry executives at companies that play a significant role in the food and beverage supply chain to ask them about the impact of Big Data, the Internet of Things (IoT), analytics, cloud technology, apps and more to get a sense of the changes underway and what they portend for the future. Without a doubt, Software & Technology represents one of the fastest-moving, promising and disruptive segments in the business and consumer worlds today. In the food/bev supply chain it facilitates visibility from farm-to-fork, compliance, improved food safety, productivity, better management of people and processes, and cost reductions and accuracy, among other benefits.

Following are highlights of the comments and quotes these industry executives shared with Food Logistics

Who: Kevin Lynch, National Account Executive, Q Products & Services

Key Topic: The impact of rejected loads on the supply chain


Cargo Theft is a Critical Issue to Food and Beverage Industry

QProducts & Services

As published in Food Logistics Magazine:


Cargo theft is not limited to high-value commodities such as electronics. According to CargoNet, food and beverage was the most stolen commodity in the United States last year.

Meanwhile, FreightWatch International (FWI), a subsidiary of Sensitech Inc, estimates the average value of stolen food and drink shipments between 3Q 2014 – 2Q 2016 was $86,149 with seafood being the highest valued sub-category at nearly $200,000. The most targeted sub-category was meats at slightly below $100,000. FWI reports that food and drink shipments remain the most stolen commodity domestically with 23 percent of thefts from June – August 2016. Of those thefts, 77 percent were FTL (full truck loads) and 15 percent FPU (fictitious pickups).

The future of cargo theft in the food and beverage sector is unclear since time of year, economy, and accessibility all factor into what cargo criminals look for as a target. Nevertheless, the FWI Supply Chain Intelligence Center continues to observe and report on any particular product, or commodity that starts to become a trending target in cargo theft incidents across the United States. FWI indicates that the food and beverage supply chain is particularly vulnerable because 99.99 percent of companies in the industry do not institute a layered security program in their transportation and logistics operations.

“Aside from the nut growers in California, little has been done to combat the problem,” FWI says.

In order to protect themselves from cargo theft, companies must pay high insurance premiums. According to TT Club, a top insurance provider, theft is the number three reason for a claim. By outfitting trailers with tracking devices that make it possible to detect cargo theft and recover stolen assets, companies reduce premiums.

“Cargo theft is a customer service failure as it undermines a carrier’s ability to meet service expectations,” remarks Lina Paerez, product marketing manager, ORBCOMM. “Cargo theft can permanently damage a company’s reputation. When a shipper loses a load due to theft, it disrupts the distribution cycles. If carriers can’t provide a safe work environment for their drivers, it can lead to poor driver retention.”

Real Time Monitoring

FWI maintains that assisted-GPS covert tracking technology embedded in cargo is the preeminent force multiplier with respect to combating in-transit cargo theft. Electronic Freight Security (EFS) programs offer a solution as they provide real-time, end-to-end monitoring of cargo shipments through embedded track­ing technology. EFS also allows a shipper to maintain full visibility of the cargo for the duration of the shipment.

“As a complete virtual escort, this low-cost solution removes the vulnerabilities associated with human-based escorts, while significantly increasing the chances of recovery in the unfortunate event of a theft,” FWI states.

Proper EFS programs include pre-determined routes with immediate escalation protocols to ensure maximum compliance and security of the driver and cargo. Compliance to security protocols is critical. Immediate response and resolution to non-compliance incidents reduces opportunities for theft.

FWI got its start developing EFS technology to enable monitoring, reporting and recovery of high-value shipments in transit between manufacturing warehouses and delivery sites for cargo security. Its technology delivers real-time location, status and condition data as well as critical activity alerts that harden the supply chain and mitigate the risk of cargo theft.         “Aluminum containers and cargo holds represent some of the most challenging environments for GPS devices,” FWI officials state. “FWI manufactured devices optimize leading location-based services and machine-to-machine (M2M) technology that works in impaired settings where other GPS devices do not.”

The latest FWI Single-Use GEO Tracker is at the forefront in tracking technology. This tracker takes the complexity out of cargo tracking by offering convenience and simplicity—eliminating the organization and management of tracking equipment.

Telematics devices can track the location and status of transport assets for complete fleet visibility. “Operators receive alerts when a problem is detected: a trailer makes an unplanned stop, deviates from its route or leaves a geofence,” Paerez explains. “This enables dispatch to react to problems quickly. When cargo is stolen, tracking devices make it possible to track the trailer for quick recovery.”

Trailer tracking devices are becoming smaller and more inconspicuous, which makes them harder for thieves to spot and identify. Such systems now support mobile applications, which allow operators and drivers to monitor status and manage alerts from anywhere.

“Devices are also becoming increasingly sophisticated. They are quicker and easier to install and they require almost no maintenance or battery changes—solar powered devices can report for anywhere from 5 to 10 years with no intervention and little sun exposure,” Paerez adds.

Trailer Breach

Trailer breach (unauthorized door opening) or load tampering is another problem. A trailer tracking solution that incorporates cargo and door sensors and delivers notifications/reports when a trailer is loaded or unloaded and when a door opens or closes can help carriers to detect theft early.

“A comprehensive system can also include cargo sensing technology that reports on load status—vibration, light, temperature, humidity, shock, etc.—which makes it possible for carriers to detect cargo tampering as it occurs,” Paerez says.

“A common way to identify a valuable target is when external devices are securing the doors,” states Scott Borsodi, director of business development, at Q Products and Services (QPS), creator of the Power In-Lock cargo security system. This system locks the trailer from inside, making it out of sight and out of reach of thieves or anyone attempting to gain unauthorized access.

“Our doors are locked electronically from our Jackson, Miss. headquarters as soon as the trailer is loaded,” explains Chris Wood, spokesman for KLLM Transport Services.

The locking mechanism is centrally controlled from KLLM’s corporate dispatch through telematics. Once the lock is activated, the door cannot be opened until the trailer reaches its destination. Drivers only have the capability to unlock the trailer through the use of a one-time code entered on a keypad attached to the trailer. This keypad communicates with the internal lock through radio frequency and is only utilized in the event the satellite signal is disrupted.  The corporate dispatcher must provide the one time code to the driver. This prevents any type of collusion between the driver and an outside source from gaining access to the product within the trailer. The doors have sensors that document opening and closings and also indicate whether the trailer was locked or unlocked.

“Even in the event the external padlock and the shipper seal have been breached, we can demonstrate the trailer doors were never opened and satisfy the shipper’s and receiver’s quality control team that the product has remained safe during transit thereby avoiding a claim,” Wood remarks.

Q Products’ Borsodi stresses that Power In-Lock buys time in deterring theft. “Most thieves will give up if they can’t access the cargo within a minute or two,” he says. “By mounting a security solution on the inside of a container or trailer door, the thief doesn’t know what’s preventing the doors from opening. The internal feature is what makes our solution so unique.”

The importance of being able to prove a shipment was not tampered with cannot be understated. “A tampered shipment can be far more detrimental to a business than a few pallets getting stolen,” Borsodi states “Companies who intend to sustain a reputable brand simply can’t afford to take the risk of partnering with a carrier that is unable to help them comply with regulations,” states Borsodi.

Imminent regulations, specifically the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), are probably the largest contributors forcing change, as shippers must be more diligent in selecting their transportation providers. As a result many shippers are taking a zero tolerance position as it relates to a trailer breach. Shippers are presenting transportation agreements to carriers that basically allow the shipper to claim the carrier for the entire shipment rather than being required to inspect the product and prove damages. Coinciding, transportation providers are employing reliable cargo security solutions when investing in new equipment and modern communication tools.

“Quite frankly, they have to if they want to haul their customer’s freight,” Borsodi says. “A common perception with regard to regulations is that they present challenges and increase operating costs. In reality, and speaking on behalf of some of our customers, when the proper technology is utilized it can exploit the weak links in the supply chain. As a result, they have realized cost savings by reducing shrink, cargo theft and minimizing supply chain disruptions.”

Karen E. Thuermer is an Alexandria, Virginia-based journalist who has been writing about logistics for several decades.

Sweet Deliveries

QProducts & Services

As Featured in Food Logistics Magazine:


Depending on whom you ask within the food industry (and where the subject matter experts are located), confectionery purchases are either rising or falling, much like the ebbs and flows of the ocean. But, regardless of the variations in opinions on sales, the influence of confectioneries within the cold chain can’t be understated.

And, as the products continue to impact the industry as a whole, confectionery producers and shippers must overcome a variety of challenges to ensure their customers not only acquire sweets in mint condition, but in a timely fashion as well. To achieve these objectives, many confectionery professionals are working alongside third-party logistic providers (3PLs) to improve the temperature control, transparency, branding and short- and long-term sales of their products.

Food Logistics recently spoke to some of these professionals and 3PLs to better understand how confectionery producers and shippers are successfully competing in the expanding cold chain.

Confectionery Sales Growth: Opportunities and Challenges

Although supply shortages likely will stall North America’s confectionery sales growth in the coming years, sweets still remain a growing segment in the cold chain globally, according to Mark McKendry, vice president of intermodal at NFI. After all, producers are increasing their sales volume through various methods, including consolidation, product line diversity and shipping from countries like China—which have made significant inroads in the confectionery market—where labor and ocean shipping costs remain low.

“We are also seeing more aggressive marketing outside of the United States by U.S.-based companies, with more clients asking for solutions to export products,” says Bob Lilja, COO and senior vice president, operations for Weber Logistics. “Industry consolidation in the last half dozen years has also changed the dynamic, as larger shippers are now tendering a larger variety of products into the confectionery supply chain, especially snack foods with chocolate elements that need temperature-controlled distribution.”

As the opportunities for confectionery growth continue to rise, especially overseas, producers also are encountering a wide array of challenges. For starters, as a means to reduce the public’s sugar consumption, proposed government regulations may increase confectionery producers’ taxes in some regions of the world, according to McKendry. Not to mention, many of their warehouses are not configured for 55 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit—an ideal temperature zone for most confectioneries—and their providers are often small, lack new technology and do not provide service to some geographic areas.

The challenges are equally apparent for shippers as well. In particular, temperature sensitivity is a critical element of confectionery shipping. Not only are products at risk for exposure to temperature fluctuations and extreme temperatures, but companies’ brands may be directly impacted, especially if their products’ textures and appearances are altered.

“Temperature-controlled equipment is the most common form of protection used by shippers,” says Kevin Lynch, director of food and beverage at Q Products & Services. “Another is passive temperature protection, which provides shippers flexibility to use both temperature control and dry equipment to reduce costs and minimize supply chain disruptions.”

In addition to temperature sensitivity, shippers must also consider the influence that recent industry consolidation, along with developing markets’ increase in disposable income, has had on product diversity, especially in an industry that was previously focused on core products for the most part.

“Product diversity and developing markets will be key drivers of growth for the confectionery segment in the coming years,” McKendry states. “So, as the needs of shippers’ supply chains evolve, particularly with consolidation and product diversity, they can receive assistance from supply chain solutions providers who can streamline processes, produce seamless transitions and accommodate growth.”

An Engaging, Transparent 3PL Partnership

To successfully maintain sweets’ appearance and appeal, confectionery shippers require various offerings from their 3PL partners, including, but not limited to, temperature control, time-defined service performance and transparency. For instance, since confectionery products are subject to high and low temperatures outside of the 55 to 65 degree Fahrenheit range (they will “bloom” if they’re too cold or become too sticky if they’re too hot), their temperatures must be maintained throughout the entire shipment process—from point of origin to delivery—no matter how far shipments travel, or when.

“Time-defined service performance is also important,” says Weber Logistics’ Bob Lilja. “Most stores do not have space to maintain for even a few pallets of confectionery product, so timely deliveries and appointments are necessary to keep products and delivery trucks moving.”

Transparency, with regards to 3PLs’ approaches to moving or handling goods (source-to-factory, factory-to-distribution center or last mile logistics), is also key. To achieve supply chain visibility, 3PLs must remain informed of industry regulations and trends so that their assets or facilities can meet all food safety guidelines. At the same time, 3PLs should also be compliant of any changes that may affect food manufacturers, and prepare for them well in advance of their implementation.

“This proactive preparation and compliance can keep food products safe, while also minimizing the risk for recalls or fines,” McKendry explains. “An end-to-end approach to supply chain solutions also helps confectionery shippers seamlessly integrate and ensure compliance across their supply chains.”

Third-party logistics partners should also consider engaging with confectionery shippers, often beginning conversations simply, but intelligently, and with a focus on their supply chains. For example, according to McKendry, they can ask shippers where they source their cocoa from, where it is processed into finished goods and how they are managing their inbound and outbound logistics. Such questions then lead to further questions and, eventually, information that can be used to help producers develop comprehensive solutions that address their specific requirements.

“Whether it’s from a global, North American or short haul perspective, 3PLs’ abilities to address customers’ needs, via customized solutions, enables them to add value to the cold chain,” McKendry adds. “It is important for 3PLs to have the expertise and scale they need to grow with their customers as they offer confectionary solutions like cold chain distribution, global logistics, real estate, temperature-controlled transportation, transportation management or any part thereof.”

Aside from offering such solutions, supply chain partners like Q Products & Services can also provide confectionery shippers more options to protect their brands throughout their entire supply chains. As an example, since refrigerated LTL transportation is costly and timely, shippers can use passive thermal solutions instead, so that they are able to switch their modes to dry LTL, have lower rates, ship products to customers faster and, in turn, improve their branding.

“Furthermore, some grocery retailers have asked supply chain partners to help improve delivery practices to the grocery aisle,” says Q Products & Services’ Kevin Lynch. “Using temperature-controlled equipment is not always operationally feasible, especially during holiday seasons like Halloween. Having a unique solution to protect sensitive chocolate without refrigeration can be very advantageous to retailers, helping them to protect shippers’ brands.”

Not Too Hot, Not Too Cold

Without question, confectionery cargo is unique. According to Weber Logistics’ Bob Lilja, its packaging has quite a bit of unfilled space, so cartons can crush easily and must be handled carefully. The raw materials used to create the final products are also very valuable, so providers (and their subcontractors) must have cargo liability that aligns with the actual value of the goods that are transported.

Of equal importance, not only should the cargo not get too hot, but it also can’t be subjected to extremely cold temperatures either. Third-party logistics providers’ temperature-controlled services must be able to address temperature-related challenges, such as loading products from facilities with proper temperatures to containers that are below zero degrees Fahrenheit, across the entire supply chain. And, since confectionery production facilities often don’t have much warehousing space, 3PLs should also provide shippers a variety of temperature-controlled assets on-site.

“Third-party logistics providers can also manage specific appointment windows for ‘live’ loading, if the shippers allow for it,” McKendry says. “There will need to be visibility to trailer temperatures throughout the shipment cycle though, and the temperature requirement is often dictated by the shippers. That data, and its interpretation, can mitigate claims and allow shippers to pinpoint issues in their supply chains.”

After all, the influence of temperatures is dependent upon the specifics of the shipment; some confectioneries don’t need to be placed in refrigerated containers or trailers, while others can be stored outside of temperature-controlled environments for short periods of time. Generally though, confectioneries should be stored in refrigerated containers during the summertime and in heated trailers during the winter months, as confectionery cargoes are just as prone to damage in freezing temperatures as they are to destruction in the heat.

“When chocolate is exposed to temperatures below 45 degrees Fahrenheit, it can ‘bloom’, causing a white, chalk-like look, which changes the color and taste of the product and makes it unsellable,” Lilja explains. “Simply put, chocolate requires temperature control at both ends of the spectrum.”

In addition, “Crystallization of the goods can also occur if a load of chocolate is loaded and shipped in an ambient container or trailer,” McKendry adds. “To prevent damage from freezing and hot temperatures, 3PLs can monitor cargo in real-time and remotely control temperatures to ensure products remain at ideal temperatures. By looking for 3PLs with expertise, capabilities and temperature-controlled assets, confectionary shippers can ensure their products have the right temperature for every season and climate.”

Lewis writes frequently on the global supply chain and a variety of transportation and logistics topics.

Industry Experts Gather at Second Annual Cold Chain Council

QProducts & Services


The second annual Cold Chain Council, hosted by Q Products and Services, brought together thought leaders from each part of the cold chain. The educational forum, held June 13, in Chicago, featured several panels, presentations and a roundtable discussion, and was moderated by industry veteran Michael Cole.

The forum’s first panel, “Delivering Fresh Margins in Today’s Complex Cold Chain,” included presentations from Gary Campisi, senior director of Quality Control, Walmart; Luke Gowdy, general manager, Sourcing Transportation, C.H. Robinson; and Rob Ondrus, director of Produce, Reinhart Foodservice.

Of particular interest was Campisi’s presentation describing the challenges in transporting fresh foods, specifically in regards to tropical fruit. The demand for such commodities like avocados, papaya, bananas, guava and mangoes has significantly increased in the last few years, presenting a number of shipping challenges.

Featured Article

QProducts & Services

Pharmaceutical cold chain logistics is a $13.4-billion global industry

Pharmaceutical Commerce’s annual Cold Chain Sourcebook projects moderating growth of 38% between 2015 and 2021

The 2017 edition of Pharmaceutical Commerce’s annual Biopharma Cold Chain Sourcebook estimates that managing the transportation of temperature-controlled products (refrigerated and frozen) will total $13.4 billion this year, growing at a 5-6% rate, and representing a moderation of the 8–9%/yr growth rate of the past several years. At the same time, the value of temperature-controlled pharmaceuticals being shipped is projected to grow 10.7% this year (Fig. 1), suggesting that the industry is learning how to manage cold chain costs more efficiently.

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