White Rose Frozen Is Still Blooming

New York City's oldest and largest independent wholesale grocer delivers low-cost goods along with exceptional service from its freezer facility.


“Some wholesalers don’t think it’s worth it to service the smaller stores, but if you’ve got enough of them, it adds up,” says Bill Canty, day manager of White Rose Frozen and a 38-year company veteran. “And that’s how we started out—a wholesaler serving the metropolitan area that has expanded and continues to grow. We’re very service oriented and do whatever we can to make our customers happy.”

Not to let excess capacity go to waste, White Rose Frozen has been offering public refrigerated storage and warehousing services to local suppliers for the past 10 years. “For some customers, like Edy’s Ice Cream, the public storage has a dual usage—they’re sending us freight for their White Rose retail customers, but be we also handle their distribution business and service them through our transportation program” says Dengelegi.

The company is investing in technology to keep up with the growth, using the TRICEPTS warehouse management system from Retalix Ltd. (formerly OMI International) and voice technology from Vocollect Inc. Canty credits the company’s high order accuracy rate with the voice solution. “The loads are much more accurate--it has dramatically cut down on mispicks.”

The voice solution was first implemented in White Rose Frozen and then expanded to the company’s other two warehouses. “Frozen is usually chosen as the trial facility to implement the initiatives we run,” says Dengelegi. “We have the toughest environment and the most senior staff, so if makes sense to work out the kinks here.

“We are technologically advanced and will continue to be a front runner in terms of technology—from a building perspective, an equipment and a systems perspective,” he adds.

The warehouse features a Freon-based R22 refrigeration system with 800 tons of capacity and a high-tech computer system that continually monitors warehouse temperatures while reducing electrical energy consumption.

In addition to its refrigeration system, White Rose is making every effort possible to reduce energy usage throughout its operations. For example, it’s installing solar panels on its facilities. “We’re putting a four megawatt solar system on one of our buildings to supplement our electrical needs,” says Larry Lowe, the plant engineer. “It will help to keep up electric costs down—electricity costs are going up two to three percent each year. Five years from now, it will be up 15 percent.”

The company is also replacing high-pressure sodium lamps with fluorescent lights with motion sensors, which it expects to significantly reduce its carbon footprint and recycles everything, from corrugated to shrink wrap.

Safety First

Safety is important to White Rose Frozen. “We have a lot of safety programs,” says Dengelegi, “and a general overall policy program throughout the company—it outlines and addresses our policies and procedures. We’ve got documented fire prevention plans and hazard communication programs. We hold periodic drills to ensure that our employees know evacuation procedures. We’re extremely compliant with all OSHA-related policies.”

The company offers safety incentives and rewards employees for being safety conscientious. “Our human resource people are big on health and wellness, and we have exercise and nutrition programs and a small gym. We sponsor local walks and runs in the community. And we have an on-site physical therapist to help injured employees get back to work,” says Dengelegi.

White Rose Frozen’s accident and injury rates are extremely low. “We have a great group of senior employees in this location, so they know what they’re doing. But we also do a lot of training—new employees are trained for the first 90 days of their probationary period. We have a training committee that teaches employees how to select, bend and lift, and safely operate the equipment,” says Dengelegi.

“A cold storage facility is a tough environment to work in and safety concerns are higher than those in a dry warehouse,” he adds. “We have ice and snow, moisture and humidity, conditions that are difficult to maintain. Temperature control and product integrity are also issues.”

With product safety being a high priority, the wholesaler monitors the temperature of product from the trailer to the dock to the warehouse on both the inbound and the outbound. Its drivers also monitor the temperature in the trailer.

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