PRWs: The Cold Facts

Public refrigerated warehouses are fighting the good fight, including an unpredictable economy, severe customer demands and costly regulations.


Galiher reports that Preferred Freezer is helping customers manage their costs by analyzing customers’ inventory and shipping habits.

“For instance, if we see a customer keeping six inventories in six different parts of the country, we suggest holding inventory in three locations instead. When we can better understand their network through sharing their data and business volumes, we can spot more cost-effective solutions for them.”

Technology’s Role

More than ever before, PRWs are being measured against very strict performance KPIs. “Advances in technology and data sharing today provide real-time data so customers can see if we are meeting their higher performance standards,” reports Galiher at Preferred Freezer. Customers expect perfect order fulfillment including on-time performance, zero damage, and proper case counts.

True zero tolerance is now the new norm, continues Galiher. “You had better be perfect when it comes to food safety. Although there has always been zero tolerance relative to the obvious major abuses that were life threatening, today when they say your freezer must be minus 3 degrees or colder, you have to prove electronically that your freezer was at that temperature every single day for the last 365 days.”

Harlan at USCS notes that just 10 years ago there was very little reporting to customers relative to KPIs. “But today we maintain about 20 different KPIs—some customer-specific and others we developed to monitor ourselves.”

Without a doubt, the PRW industry is facing uncertainty on many fronts. “People in our industry are used to dealing with issues relative to the growing season and supply and demand fluctuations,” explains Harlan. “But when we see governmental policies affecting energy prices and tax dollars being diverted to help pay for corn ethanol, the business environment for food producers only gets more uncertain and this is not good for the industry.” d

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