Posts in Update

Summer Shipping Mistakes to Avoid: Advice from a Temperature-Control Expert

July 10th, 2019 Posted by Temperature Protection, Update 0 thoughts on “Summer Shipping Mistakes to Avoid: Advice from a Temperature-Control Expert”

Though spring and early summer have been cold and wet throughout most of the country, warmer temperatures and sunnier days are on the way. With them comes some unique impacts from summer shipping. To get more insight on potential pitfalls, Coyote asked our very own Kevin Lynch, Director of Sales at QProducts & Services, to share some potential pitfalls. Kevin has over 17 years of experience in temperature-controlled shipping. Below is his advice.

 

Balancing Cost and Product Integrity

As every shipper knows, ensuring that product arrives to the customer in good condition is extremely important, but adequately protecting cargo comes at a cost. Every summer, shippers across the country grapple with a few questions:

 

  • How vulnerable is my product to the heat of the summer?
  • How much will it cost for me to implement additional temperature-control best practices?
  • Does that cost outweigh the risk of damaged and rejected product?

 

The answers will vary based on a slew of factors—there is no single solution. As you analyze your own supply chain, it’s important to consider the full spectrum of consequences that occur as a result of damaged product. Using these as a guide, you can do a cost/benefit analysis to build a temperature-controlled solution that’s right for your business.

 

 

Costly consequences of rejected loads, consisting of: disposal requirement, unhappy customer, expedited replenishment, lost revenue, insurance claims, and negative brand exposure.

Three Common Summer Shipping Mistakes

Once you’ve set your temperature-control strategy, it’s important to keep your eye on a few potential pitfalls as you implement your plans. Here are three common mistakes Kevin sees shippers make.

 

 

Mistake #1:

Waiting until you need temperature-controlled capacity to secure it.

There are a lot of products that can usually ship in a dry van, but require temperature-control on a seasonal basis (i.e. organic snacks, pharmaceuticals, chocolate, beverages, etc.). In the summer, this typically means converting to refrigerated trailers.

The great debate for shippers is when to make the conversion. Refrigerated capacity will almost always cost more than standard dry shipping—this is especially true in the summer when reefer demand spikes with produce and other seasonal summer products. Yet damaged and refused product can be very costly. How can you keep your seasonal budget in-line while balancing cargo security?

Shipping temperature sensitive products in hot summer weather.
Best Practices:

Preparation is key.

If you ship cargo that can’t withstand a 90°F heatwave, you need to plan well before the thermometer rises. By working ahead, you can mitigate cost inflation and avoid service disruptions. Proactively reach out to your refrigerated carriers and 3PLs with forecasted needs at the beginning of the season to establish rates and service requirements.

Analyze your supply chain and look for gaps in the “cold chain” where your product is vulnerable.

Optimize your routing guide and prioritize reliable carriers. A higher rate with higher tender acceptance is still cheaper than a carrier that sends you into the spot market for a last-minute option.

Explore refrigerated alternatives, such as insulated thermal blankets. Conducting a cost-benefit analysis can open up new capacity options during the summer months.

Monitor the forecast in your shipping lanes and confirm capacity once when you see a heatwave on the horizon.

 

Mistake #2:

Assuming your LTL carrier has temperature-controlled cross docking facility.

If you ship LTL, your shipment will typically make several stops within the carrier’s terminal network throughout transit. As your product is unloaded and reloaded, it may spend several hours on the dock, waiting to be transferred. This is manageable most of the year, but during heatwaves ambient temperature inside terminals can reach nearly 90 degrees, potentially putting your goods at risk.

Best Practices:

Ask your LTL providers about the temperature conditions at their terminals.

Collaborate with them to put a plan in place to protect your shipments from temperature excursions. Verify routing patterns, temperature requirements and product sensitivity.

If shipping refrigerated LTL, consider insulated thermal blankets to protect product temperature while on the dock.

 

Mistake #3:

Assuming the refrigeration unit will always be running.

Refrigerated trailers and containers are very reliable, but they aren’t completely infallible. Operator error, equipment failure and long delays are all potential risks to product integrity.

Operator Error: Though the vast majority of carriers comply to shipper requirements, some drivers may occasionally turn off the refrigeration unit to conserve fuel, then turn it back on before making delivery.

Equipment Failure: This is less of a concern with over-the-road shipping, as the driver has close oversight of the load and can quickly refuel or address any malfunctioning equipment. However, when shipping refrigerated ocean or intermodal, there is far less individual attention to each container, and if the unit runs out of fuel or stops working, there is much less of a chance that the carrier will resolve the issue.

Delays: Regardless of mode or lane, delays in transit are bound to happen—especially with cross-border and/or multimodal shipping. The longer the product is held up, the higher the chance that the unit will run out of fuel. The hotter the temperature, the more fuel the unit consumes and the faster the product will heat up once it runs out.

Best Practices:
  • Clearly define temperature requirements on your Bill of Lading (BOL).
  • Work with trusted providers who will follow your requirements exactly.
  • Proactively communicate product requirements with all providers involved.
  • Request an electronic log of trailer temperatures for the entire trip.
  • Include your own temperature recording device in the payload.

 

 

More Options, Less Risk

Though managing temperature-sensitive freight is never easy, there have never been more resources available to shippers: widespread tracking technology, sophisticated analytical tools, and lower-cost cargo protection equipment all empower supply chain professionals to increase shipment visibility and reduce costs.

Work with providers that take cargo integrity seriously. Talk to your supply chain providers about what solutions and services they can offer to help maintain the integrity of your products from origin to destination. By leveraging all available solutions, you can manage risk and cost simultaneously.

 

About Kevin Lynch: As Director of Sales at QProducts, Kevin Lynch leverages over 17 years of supply chain experience to design and implement temperature protection and cargo security solutions for shippers in all industries.

 

About QProducts & Services: QProducts & Services is a manufacturer of passive temperature protection and cargo security solutions for the global supply chain. For over 25 years, they have developed innovative, cost-saving solutions for transporting temperature sensitive commodities. QProducts & Services has expanded their product line to include cargo security solutions and wireless temperature monitoring technologies. Manufactured just outside of Chicago, IL, their patented products are noted for durability, performance and reliability in protecting the integrity of shippers’ cargo throughout the supply chain.

Summer Shipping Mistakes

Temperature Sensitive Freight – 5 Summer Shipping Mistakes

June 16th, 2018 Posted by Update 0 thoughts on “Temperature Sensitive Freight – 5 Summer Shipping Mistakes”

If you’re wondering where Spring went, so are we. It seemed like we transitioned straight from Winter to Summer this year.

No, we’re not just making small talk about the weather with you. We’re talking about a real problem here. We’re the temperature people, remember? The winter heated up rapidly and temperature-sensitive shipments are suffering because of it.

If you haven’t adjusted to summer shipping season yet, this is your friendly reminder to kick it into gear.

All too often, customers have contacted us after losing a load that was entirely preventable with seasonal preparation that went overlooked. Here are the five most common mistakes we see and how to avoid them.

 

Mistake #1

Waiting too long to secure capacity for seasonal mode conversions.

This can sneak up on folks who ship dry most of the year and switch to reefers in the summer for products requiring heat protection (i.e. organic snacks, chocolates, etc.).  It’s never too early to have a plan for ensuring you have trucks available. 2018 is seeing the highest reefer load-to-truck ratios in recent years; secure your capacity for the summer season as soon as possible.

 

DAT Trendlines on national reefer demand and capacity as of May 19, 2018.

 

Mistake #2

Assuming the carrier you hired will be hauling your freight.

For a shipper who is struggling to secure capacity, there’s temptation to take whatever is available, creating opportunity for the broker community. With these market conditions  you may run into carriers who combine loads or broker your shipment out multiple times. The last thing you want to find out is that your perishable foods–as an example–were shipped in the same trailer with a nonfood safe commodity (i.e. Industrial chemicals).

To prevent this, double check the language in your contracts to make sure your carrier obtains permission before brokering out your shipments.  This is especially important during peak seasons for food and beverages that have higher risk for temperature excursions in the heat. You should always be diligent when hiring carriers – especially when searching the spot market – to ensure you know exactly who will be hauling your freight in order to maintain control and visibility of your brand!

 

Mistake #3

Taking for granted the driver will keep the refrigerated unit running as required.

We love and appreciate truckload drivers, we really do.  However, like any profession, some don’t always play by the rules. It’s not uncommon for a driver to occasionally turn the refrigerated unit off to preserve fuel, then turn it back on before making delivery. With gas prices on the rise this practice becomes more and more common, especially during the summer.

Simple proactive steps can be taken to avoid this concern. Clearly define temperature requirements on your BOL, request an electronic log of trailer temperatures from the carrier for the entire trip, and/or you can even take matters into your own hands by including temperature recording device(s) in the payload.

Mistake #4

Not consulting with your LTL carrier partners about cross docking.

Your temperature sensitive commodities may be exposed to harsh heat when cross docked at terminals along the route. While this may be manageable during other seasons, the summer heat has no mercy.  It’s not uncommon for an ambient terminal to reach nearly 90 degrees in certain parts of the country.

Ask your carrier partners about the temperature conditions at terminals.  Collaborate with them to ensure a plan is in place to protect your load from temperature excursions. This is especially important for refrigerated LTL; ice cream should not be sitting on a refrigerated dock unprotected.

 

Crossdocking-Cold-Chain-Shipments-Best-Practices

Mistake #5

Shipping high value cargo on the weekends or holidays.

It might be tempting to get an order out by the end of the month and ship on weekends, but we encourage you to consider the risk of theft.

Because most facilities do not have weekend receiving hours, this results in your payload being parked for longer periods of time which increases the risk for cargo theft. Worse yet, if a theft does occur, trying to get all necessary parties connected on a weekend / holiday is far more challenging.  Another tip is to require the driver(s) to travel at least 300 miles before making their first stop.  Most cargo theft attempts take place within a shorter distance of its origin point.

Secure Cargo and Freight with Internal, Electric Locking System

Consider an electronic, internal locking system to prevent theft and tampering for high-value cargo.

With a bit of preparation, your peak season shipping schedule will run smoothly. Mitigate risk with temperature-sensitive shipments by taking action to avoid the mistakes we listed above. If this article caused more panic than comfort, rest assured that you can get back on track. Give us a call and we’ll help you out with our passive temperature protection expertise.

Cold Chain Council - Hear from industry leaders as they share insight on cold chain challenges

Food Logistics Magazine: Cold Chain Council Gears Up for 2018 Program

May 18th, 2018 Posted by Update 0 thoughts on “Food Logistics Magazine: Cold Chain Council Gears Up for 2018 Program”
This article originally appeared in Food Logistics Magazine here. Written by Lara L. Sowinski.

In 2016, QProducts & Services launched the Cold Chain Council, an annual industry gathering comprised of various stakeholders–manufacturers, retailers, distributors, logistics providers, academics and others–to discuss challenges and bets practices related to the cold chain, both for the pharmaceutical and chemical industries, as well as the combined food and beverage industry.

 

Food Logistics has partnered with QProducts for the food and beverage event since its inception. This year, I worked closely with QProducts on the program and speakers, and will moderate during the event on Monday, June 25, in Chicago.

The format and venue for the Cold Chain Council fits the need for an intimate, one-day event where executives can interact, share best practices “and walk away with new opportunities to improve their cold chain,” explains Kevin Lynch, QProducts’ director of food and beverage. “The Cold Chain Council provides a valuable experience for professionals who might not have time on their calendar to attend multi-day conferences, or simply don’t have room in their budget to fund another industry event.”

The Cold Chain Council takes place over an afternoon in order to accommodate busy schedules, he adds. “Another distinction is limiting the number of attendees, which helps folks feel comfortable having a conversation and asking questions.”

Aside from limiting the number of attendees, their is no registration fee, and QProducts generously hosts a fun networking reception on the Chicago River following the event. “This allows attendees to continue conversations and form new relationships,” says Lynch.

Delivering Fresh Content

Last year’s Cold Chain Council boasted an all-star list of presenters, including executives from Walmart, C.H. Robinson, Minhas Craft Brewery, Reinhart Food Service and CN Rail. This year’s presenters and sessions also promise to inspire and engage attendees.

Dr. Mary Holcomb, professor of supply chain management at the University of Tennessee, will kick off the program with an overview of the current cold chain sector, particularly from a food and beverage transportation angle.

The next session is entitled, “Foresight is 20/20: How Technology is Being Used to Quantify Temperature Risk and Guide Accurate Transportation Decisions.” Matt Wensing, CEO of Riskpulse, will join several other panelists to explore how new software and tech tools can determine actual temperature risk, and how “knowing what’s ahead” is changing the game for shippers and transportation providers.

The third panel on distribution best practices brings together Terrence Bro, director of sales-for-hire cartage at SpartanNash; John Sommavilla, CEL of Shoreline Fruit; and other as they share information on optimizing transportation strategies and tactics in the food distribution sector.

The program concludes with “A Holistic Approach to Maintaining Cold Chain Integrity,” with panelists Don Durm, vice president, customer solutions, PLM Trailer Leasing; Melanie Nuce, senior vice president, corporate development, GS1 US; and Sherea Dillon, acting director of compliance with the FDA’s Office of Regulatory Affairs, Chicago District.

Compliance with the Food Safety Modernization Act will be a central theme of this final session, which will also include an exciting discussion on blockchain and how this technology can take visibility and compliance to new levels throughout the global food and beverage chain.

For more information, visit www.coldchaincouncil.com.

Refrigerated Truck Capacity Crunch

3 Strategies to Beat the Capacity Crunch

April 24th, 2018 Posted by Update 0 thoughts on “3 Strategies to Beat the Capacity Crunch”
Get this article’s downloadable infographic by clicking here.

Strategy 1: Ship with dry equipment

For every 8.2 loads, there’s only 1 refrigerated trailer available.*

The crunch on refrigerated capacity is already at a ratio of approximately 8:1 and it’s predicted to keep climbing throughout 2018. We’re here to show you how to solve your capacity concerns and save money by using dry equipment. By taking advantage of dry equipment on land, air or water, you’ll send on-time shipments while achieving unprecedented cost savings.**

Don’t worry –we’re not suggesting you play a gambling game with your temp-sensitive cargo! There are two ways to ensure thermal protection: one is active climate control and refrigeration (reefers) and another is pairing dry equipment with thermal covers to protect your freight (passive protection).

 

Strategy 2: Use passive temperature protection for FTL

Passive temperature protection uses thermal-dynamics to engineer advanced insulation material  for shipping containers, pallets, drums, and more. It captures the existing environment of the freight and maintains that temperature range throughout the delivery process.

CargoQuilt® is an example of a product using passive temperature protection. QProducts & Services engineered CargoQuilt® to fit snugly over loaded cargo and maintain hot or cold temperature up to 30 days.

Use of solutions like CargoQuilt can not only protect temperature and decrease cost, but they can also increase capacity. The CargoQuilt increases freight capacity at a ratio of 1:5 (refrigerated vs. dry equipment capacity ratio).

Strategy 3: Utilize monitoring tools to forecast temperature risk

If your supply chain hits a bump in the road (literally), flexibility is crucial for your load’s survival. Technologies such as Riskpulse that can quantify risk and, if necessary, allow you to respond to that risk in time. Riskpulse provides unsurpassed accuracy making important decisions like timing shipments, choosing insulation, loading cargo and more. It also provides route-based forecasts up to 10 days in advance so you can make those decisions with confidence.

 

*Based on DAT data from date of post, April 24.

**Cost savings based on proprietary customer data

 

We’re here to help you with your cold chain challenges! Contact a QProducts & Services specialist today.

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A Little About Us

At QProducts & Services, we manufacture passive temperature protection products and cargo security solutions. We design and engineer cost-saving solutions for transporting temperature-sensitive commodities like thermal container blankets, pallet covers, ULD pallet quilts, drum/tote covers, insulated bags, and even electronic cargo locks.

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