FDA's Food Protection Plan Is Underway
Fresh produce is part of a comprehensive Food Protection Plan being implemented by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). It addresses safety and defense for domestic and imported product with an integrated strategy for protecting the nation's food supply.
"Consumers want the convenience of opening up a bag of salad that's already prepared, and immediately serving it," states the report. "It used to be that when a single head of lettuce was contaminated, the resulting illness affected one family.
"Now, contaminated heads of lettuce may be processed with thousands of other heads of lettuce and placed into bags of convenience salad that many consumers can buy. These bags of salad end up in thousands of homes, potentially resulting in hundreds of illnesses."
Increasingly, the numbers of susceptible consumers and the convenience factors have meant that small problems can lead to large outbreaks, according to FDA officials. Both are indications of the need to make changes to ensure a continued high level of food protection.
The Food Protection Plan operates through a set of integrated strategies that:
Focus on risks over a product's life cycle from production to consumption;
• Target resources to achieve maximum risk reduction;
• Address both unintentional and deliberate contamination;
• Use science and modern technology systems. -John Karolefski
Kroger Ends Agreement, Closes Michigan DC
Awarehouse facility leased by The Kroger Co. and operated by employees of Supervalu Inc.'s Advantage Logistics subsidiary in Livonia, MI, closed last month.
Cincinnati-based Kroger said in January that it was terminating its agreement with Advantage Logistics, a subsidiary of Supervalu, Eden Prairie, MI.
The move will put 366 employees of Advantage Logistics out of work, constituting the largest layoff in Michigan so far this year.
The Kroger-leased Livonia facility had been supplying the chain's metro Detroit stores. Kroger's contract with Advantage Logistics expired in early 2008, and the chain began moving its Michigan inventory to its Delaware, OH, facility over a year ago.
Kroger recently established a Michigan retail division, headquartered in Novi, to focus on its growth in the state.
Otis Spunkmeyer Overhauls Distribution Operations
Otis Spunkmeyer Inc. has chosen LeanLogistics' On-Demand Transportation Management System (TMS) to facilitate overhauling its distribution operations and lowering transportation spend.
Otis Spunkmeyer is using On-Demand TMS for planning, execution and settlement of its transportation processes.
"We selected LeanLogistics after a thorough review of several on-demand and server-based solutions," says Mike Mahon, director of transportation, Otis Spunkmeyer, San Leandro, CA.
"Our critical criteria were ease of implementation and user interaction, flexibility in integrating with current legacy and future ERP systems, and access to a large carrier and shipper network. LeanLogistics has met or exceeded all these criteria," says Mahon.
Holland, MI-based LeanLogistics, a division of CHEP, provides Web-native TMS.
Otis Spunkmeyer will optimize shipments using built-in routing guides, order aggregation, and carrier ratings, which will maximize service and minimize costs. Once the loads are submitted, On-Demand TMS tenders the loads to select carriers or through the Private Transportation Marketplace (Spot Market).
Otis Spunkmeyer will use WebSettle functionality to handle audits and freight payments, reducing administrative time and expense.
On-Demand TMS captures all transactions and activities, enabling Otis Spunkmeyer to mine the database of history to generate reports, make better decisions and improve the process.
Otis Spunkmeyer's distribution network includes manufacturing facilities in California, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Texas. The company also operates 52 Sales Centers throughout the country.
PLM Opens Reefer Customer Service Center
PLM Trailer Leasing recently opened a Customer Service Center (CSC) in Dallas.
The CSC was created to offer customer service, maintenance and repairs specifically for the refrigerated trailer market. Emergency roadside assistance calls will be handled 24 hours a day, 365 days a year by PLM employees trained in refrigerated trailer repair.
The goal is to offer roadside assistance without lengthy wait or hold times. Montvale, NJ-based PLM has hired experienced professionals from the refrigeration, transportation and cold supply chain industries. The staff will offer emergency resolutions that are prompt and efficient while at the same time being cost effective.
"We had outsourced our 24 hour emergency breakdown service for several years but could not find a company that specialized in refrigerated trailer repair and service," says Randy Gunn, manager of the CSC for PLM.
"We felt the only way to achieve the level of quality we desired was to build our own CSC dedicated to this specialized business. Immediately we are reducing maintenance and repair costs while getting the company driver back on the road sooner."
PLM says companies and their drivers will find access to the center fast, with service representatives that understand the industry challenges as well as address the immediate mechanical needs of the driver.
Publix Seeking Distribution Center In Orlando
Publix Super Markets Inc. has decided to postpone development plans for a distribution center in Punta Gorda, FL, and is now seeking an Orlando-area site to better serve stores in the area.
The Lakeland, FL-based retailer says that with rising fuel costs, it would be more cost-effective to have the DC centrally located.
The land in Punta Gorda, located on Piper Road near Interstate Highway 75 and the Jones Loop Road corridor, will remain a Publix-owned site. This would have been the retailers' eighth DC in Florida.
An exact location for the Orlando-area site has not yet been confirmed. The company currently operates seven distribution centers in Florida.
A&P, Pathmark Merge Supply Agreements Into One
The Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co. Inc. and C&S Wholesale Grocers Inc. have signed a 10-year agreement to merge their previously separate A&P and Pathmark supply agreements into a single agreement.
The agreement restructures the terms of their relationship, aligning distribution operations, procurement practices and warehousing facility goals for all of Montvale, NJ-based A&P's retail banners.
The contract is a major change in the way A&P and Keene, NH-based C&S work together. With this agreement, A&P and C&S plan to create increased efficiencies across A&P's distribution network, improve service levels to all stores and enable both companies to achieve cost savings, which further contributes to the attainment of A&P's synergy targets.
The key aspects of this agreement are:
• A new business model;
• A dedicated network of distribution centers;
• Coordination and collaboration of resources;
• Reduction of on-hand inventory;
• Improved in-stock levels;
• Best-in-class service levels with improved speed-to-market delivery;
• Cost reductions which will result in savings for customers.
"We are pleased to arrive at this agreement," says Eric Claus, president and CEO of A&P. "Our partnering with C&S and its high-tech infrastructure combined with our new agreement creates the value that is only derived from a ‘big business model.'
"This agreement will provide cost savings and efficiencies in warehousing while benefiting all parties including, most importantly, our customers."
The agreement aligns both companies' objectives and provides incentives to achieve mutual goals. Together, A&P and C&S expect to develop one of the lowest cost distribution systems in the Northeast grocery industry. Further, they plan to create a world-class distribution system to fulfill the merchandising needs of all of A&P's diverse store formats, providing customers with the best product selections.
As part of the agreement, the supply roles and responsibilities will be streamlined, creating clarity that will improve coordination and result in more productive procurement practices. It will enable both A&P and C&S to implement warehouse efficiency controls to reduce costs and improve store service.
Global Cold Chain Alliance Publishes Directory
The Global Cold Chain Alliance Partners have expanded and renamed their annual directory of resources for the cold chain industry.
The 2008 Directory is the largest and most comprehensive directory of resources in the worldwide cold chain industry. It is titled the Global Cold Chain Directory to encompass all of the Global Cold Chain Alliance Partners.
These partners include the "Core Partner" organizations-the International Association of Refrigerated Warehouses (IARW), the World Food Logistics Organization (WFLO), the International Refrigerated Transportation Association (IRTA) and the International Association for Cold Storage Construction (IACSC).
Members of each of these organizations will receive the directory along with thousands of food companies that regularly use the cold chain resources and services listed in the directory.
The Alliance also includes a range of additional Affiliate Partners, Supporting Partners, and Strategic Partners that encompass all aspects of the diverse cold chain industry. For example, many associations that represent users of cold chain services, food companies that use these services, and trade press that report on the industry are among these partners. All are included in the directory to provide easy linkages to all segments of the industry.
Within its six color-coded sections, food manufacturers, distributors and retailers will find an international selection of cold storage warehouses, refrigerated transportation companies, cold storage design experts and companies charged with providing support services to the cold chain industry. It also includes an index that makes it easy to find any company or association.
"When we formed the Global Cold Chain Alliance this past year, we knew that this directory would be one of the most recognizable and widely-used benefits," says Bill Hudson, the Alliance's president and CEO. "The enhancements we made this year add tremendous value to the directory, and we know it will be used by members and cold chain industry customers alike."
The directory is available free of charge to food manufacturers, grocers, food service employees, trucking companies, libraries, associations, trade press and government bodies. To request a copy, visit www.gcca.org and follow the link on the home page.