3PL Cold Storage – The Critical Control Point in the Cold Chain
Let’s start with a technical definition! According to Wikipedia, an unbroken cold chain is “an uninterrupted series of storage and distribution activities which maintain a given temperature range.” Putting that into perspective for consumers in a grocery store, Coors Brewing Company, as an example, states their products (Coors Light specifically) are cold from the moment the product is made through the multiple layers of the supply chain – continuously – until the consumer purchases it at the local store.
To us supply chain managers and cold storage providers, an unbroken cold chain means we have additional requirements within our supply chains to ensure safe and proper handling, storage and distribution of our products – and to maintain a specific temperature (range) at all times.
Cold Storage Miami – Critical Control Points
So where are the critical control points? Palisades Logistics and Miami Frozen Storage believe the entire cold chain is important. One breakdown and the cold chain is broken. But as a third-party logistics provider and specifically a cold storage Miami, Florida provider, we believe the critical control point is the “third party” companies; these are logistics providers that shippers and BCO’s outsource a specific function of their supply chain or cold chain to. These third-party companies are the critical control point.
Review of a Simple, Three-Level Cold Chain
Let’s create a simple, three-level cold chain. Assume the product is ice cream.
- Level One: The first level is the manufacturer. This is where all of the raw ingredients are consolidated and the ice cream is made. Haagen-Dazs, Ben & Jerry’s, and every other regional ice cream maker has a vested interest in maintaining their cold chain. As the manufacturer, they live and die by the success of their products, and their cold chain is a key factor of their products success.
- Level Two: Next, let’s assume the ice cream manufacturer is located in New Jersey and is selling to a grocery chain in Miami, Florida. The ice cream manufacturer wants to keep inventory close to the grocery store’s distribution center (to reduce delivery lead time) and hires Miami Frozen Storage to act as their cold storage Miami provider. Here Miami Frozen Storage is acting as the third-party logistics provider we talked about earlier. This is the second tier of the three-level cold chain.
- Level Three: From Miami Frozen Storage, product is delivered directly to the grocery store’s distribution center or possibly even to the grocery store itself. At the final stop in the cold chain, the grocery store has a vested interest similar to that of the ice cream manufacturer. The grocery store now owns the ice cream, and they must keep it “cold” in order to sell it to the end consumers.
The cold chain goes from the ice cream manufacturer to the cold storage provider in Miami to the grocery store. Both the first and third levels “own” the product. It is the cold storage provider (Miami Frozen Storage in this example) that is a hired and outsourced logistics provider. Do they want to do a good job, maintain the cold chain and retain their customers? The answer is yes. But it is this level in the cold chain that Supply Chain Managers have the least control over, because it is managed by a logistics provider that is outside their company. All the more reason to do further due-diligence and thoroughly vet third-party logistics providers including cold storage providers!
Certainly the ability to vet and select qualified 3PL cold storage providers is a concern for supply chain and cold chain managers in the logistics industry; however, it does not have to be your concern. Palisades Logistics has established and nurtured business relationships with top-notch companies such as New Jersey Frozen Storage and Miami Frozen Storage. The Palisades Logistics’ growing, regional network of partners affords the customers of Palisades Logistics a single source provider who has the resources ready to meet all your third-party logistics requirements whether they are local or regional in nature.