Sustainability Drives Service Offerings at Weber Logistics

Weber Logistics is a prominent player in the U.S. West Coast logistics market and their extensive service offerings, including consolidated last-mile distribution, are a key component of many confectionary customers’ sustainable supply chain initiatives.

Temperature-controlled warehouses are likewise a requirement for handling most candy and chocolate products, and Weber operates one of the region’s largest networks of temperature-controlled, food grade warehouses, says David Cardadeiro, vice president for transportation. In addition to its seven temperature-controlled warehouses, the 3PL is one of the few refrigerated LTL carriers on the West Coast. Weber also provides truckload, intermodal, parcel, dedicated contract carriage, port drayage, and air cargo services.

Some of the big confectionary customers that rely on Weber for their logistics requirements, especially consolidated last-mile deliveries, include Hershey’s, Just Born, Nestle, Ghirardelli and Tootsie Roll. Typically, truckload shipments from candy manufacturing plants in the Midwest and East Coast are shipped to Weber, then sorted by consignee. From there, Weber builds consolidated loads and delivers them to multiple retailers, explains Cardadeiro.

It’s not just domestic origin shipments that are handled by Weber. For German candy maker Storck (which makes brands like Werther’s Original), Weber handles all aspects of transportation and distribution from the Port of Oakland in northern California to final retail delivery. Storck sells more than one million cases of product annually in the western U.S. alone, and Weber’s consolidation program helped the company save 42 percent in supply chain costs versus non-consolidated loads.

 

First-rate facilities and equipment

Weber’s Rancho I facility in Rancho Cucamonga, CA is just one of the company’s 16 food grade warehouses located throughout California, Arizona and Nevada. The facility handles a variety of grocery products, dry food products, confectionary and CPG products. Value-added services include rework projects, FDA inspections, USDA, time-sensitive projects and repackaging. Rancho I also operates a pick-up and delivery operation covering the Los Angeles basin with direct line-hauls to Hayward, CA, Las Vegas and Phoenix.

During a recent visit by Food Logistics, Cardadeiro provided a tour of the facility and discussed how Weber was helping support their customers’ sustainability efforts by streamlining and optimizing the transportation and distribution functions.

Rancho I is an “RFID-driven warehouse,” says Cardadeiro, “and everything is scanned into a WMS.” Weber uses Zethcon’s Synapse WMS solution. In addition, several forklift manufacturers are represented inside the facility, and the forklifts are both electric and propane-powered.

Weber’s entire fleet is equipped and monitored with Fleetmatics’ GPS Tracking solutions. “We use both the hardware and software,” says Cardadeiro. Fleet management is very important to Weber and other refrigerated transportation carriers who operate in California, which is known for some of the most stringent emissions regulations in the country.

More than 40 power units and 85 trailers make up Weber’s truck fleet, which boasts late model tractors and the newest generation of Thermo King SB210 Whisper units.

 

A commitment to sustainability

Weber has been focused on sustainability for years, says Cardadeiro. The 3PL continually looks for new opportunities to raise the bar, whether it’s through improving operational efficiencies internally or helping shipper customers reach their goals with new service offerings.

Some highlights of Weber’s sustainability achievements include:

• Since 2009, Weber has reduced its fleet carbon emissions by 37 percent—the equivalent of taking 2,047 cars off the road.

• The 3PL was one of the first members of the EPA SmartWay emissions reductions program. Since joining, Weber’s fleet has maintained the highest EPA rating available.

• Weber’s drayage solution uses only clean certified trucks at the ports and rail yards, meeting EPA standards for 2007 model clean-diesel trucks.

• Innovative lighting solutions in Weber warehouses have reduced electricity use. A combination of natural light and replacing old fixtures and bulbs with new T5 and T8 lighting has resulted in reduced electricity use in Weber’s facilities by up to 30 percent, cutting costs for customers and reducing Weber’s carbon footprint.

• Weber has purchased machinery that recycles dunnage into packing material to be used as protective filler during shipping, which greatly reduces the use of plastic filler.

• To reduce empty miles, the last mile logistics program is continuously optimized and partner carriers are used in some areas to reduce travel.

• Gas-powered forklifts have been replaced with battery-powered units.

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