Special times call for special measures, and COVID-19 has challenged businesses to change their processes both for public health reasons and also to stay competitive. In the food distribution industry, many companies have found the solution by improving safety with 3PL. Read on to find out why improving safety with 3PL is so effective, and why those companies will never go back.
How Food Distribution Companies are Switching to 3PL Providers
Improving safety with 3PL has been an industry-saving move by food distributors. The pandemic has turned the normally stable food supply chain on its head, shifting demand from restaurants to grocery stores in an instant. All parties in the food supply chain have been reeling. There have been enormous bottlenecks of product and plant closures, and all parties are scrambling to adapt to changes in how they store, package, handle, and transport food. This complexity requires expertise and resources that 2PL alone cannot deliver. Food distributors have saved their businesses and served public health by improving safety with 3PL providers.
How 3PL can work to Keep Drivers Safe and Trucks Clean
During this difficult time for businesses and consumers, the top priority is the safety of the essential personnel who work to bring food to the public and the safety of consumers themselves. Food distributors have been protecting drivers by improving safety with 3PL services. Here are some of the ways 3PLs keep drivers safe:
- Follow government protocols
- Practice social distancing
- Wear proper equipment: gloves and mask
- Monitor and keep sick workers home
- Clean and disinfect facilities and trucks
- Keep visitors and non-essential personnel away
- Carry proper documents as essential workers
Improving safety with 3PL is not just about driver safety. Cleaning trucks and following safety regulations are just as important to keep the food free of contamination so that it is undamaged and safe for public consumption. 3PLs use these methods to improve the safety and cleanliness of trucks:
- Track and regulate the temperature of trucks
- Disinfect trucks more regularly and thoroughly
- Know and follow safety regulations
- Review and monitor wash tickets
- Prevent cross-contamination/ no mixed loads for allergens
How 3PL Maximizes Truck Use
As food distribution companies are improving safety with 3PL, they recognize a secondary benefit: maximizing truck use. Because 3PLs have vast networks of carriers with specialized equipment, they can meet real-time demand and at the same time maximize truck use by optimizing routes, consolidating loads, and using data analysis and technology for real-time tracking. Without the resources of a 3PL, companies are left to struggle to rebalance routes and use trucks efficiently. Companies are using transportation assets more wisely and improving safety with 3PL.
How Food Distributors are Moving to more Flexible Business Models
Improving safety with 3PL has been critical for food distributors, but the problems facing them during COVID-19 are much more complex. The main reason food distributors have turned to 3PLs is their need for more flexible business models. Food distributors have needed to change the ways they store, handle, package, and transport food. They’ve needed to change routes, carriers, and safety protocols. Whether some of these changes will be permanent or temporary is up in the air as the course of the pandemic and politics is evolving. Simply put, food distributors have had no choice but to adopt more flexible business models, and they are gaining the necessary resources and expertise as well as improving safety with 3PL providers.
How Data Analysis Improves Food Distribution
Especially with the new demands of the pandemic, meticulous tracking of data, using real-time technology for real-time problems, is critical. And that data must be analyzed by parties that have the experience and resources to implement changes based on that data.
- Which routes are the most efficient?
- How are the drivers and equipment performing?
- Are proper temperatures being reached and maintained?
- What packaging and handling methods result in less damage to goods?
These are all questions that should be asked and answered using data analysis, and that’s why many food distributors are streamlining their operations while improving safety with 3PL. What’s at stake? Staying in business. The safety of all of the workers and the public. Fortunately, food distributors have been successful at optimizing supply chain management and improving safety with 3PL logistics partners through improved data tracking and analysis.
Why choose ECT as your Food Distribution 3pl Provider
Now more than ever, experience, resources and industry-specific knowledge are king when it comes to choosing a 3PL. At East Coast Transportation, our team has many decades of experience serving the food and beverage industry as well as specialized equipment, state-of-the-art technology, and vast networks of carriers to help you with navigating the new challenges of the industry and improving safety with 3PL. Contact us today.