Millions of American businesses ship billions of dollars of perishable products each year. Meat, produce, dairy products, snacks, medicine, and certain beverages must all be shipped via temperature controlled transport. More often than not,
we are talking about refrigerated trucked that must be adjusted to deal with the special needs of time-sensitive products.
As you might imagine, it costs a lot of money to rent or buy a fleet of refrigerated vehicles. Not only do you have to hire experienced drivers, but you also have to find a dedicated team of maintenance workers. These trucks have complex refrigeration units and if they breakdown in transit thousands of dollars of merchandise may be lost. Temperature controlled transport is needed to ship any product that may spoil if not refrigerated. Few food manufacturers can survive without temperature controlled transport.
Because the costs of shipping have increased in recent years, most companies that ship perishable items cannot afford to purchase and maintain their own fleet of trucks. A small fruit orchard in Florida or a dairy farm in Wisconsin cannot pay for temperature controlled transport unless they outsource it. In other words, they will hire a company that specializes in shipping temperature controlled products.
Often called third-party logistics providers, theses companies focus on product distribution. Since they often have multiple clients, they don’t have to worry about sending a truck out half full if a crop comes up short. They will simply pack the truck chock-a-block with the products from several different companies. Because they consistently haul full loads, these companies save money on gas and improve shipping times dramatically. But that’s not all!
Time-sensitive items must also be packaged and stored before they are shipped. A box of beef or a crate of oranges must be stored in a refrigerated or climate-controlled warehouse before they are shipped. For obvious reasons, these warehouses are extremely expensive to maintain. If a company experiences seasonal fluctuations and their warehouse is not packed to the gills, money will be lost in storage fees. Once again, because they have several clients, third-party logistics providers rarely waste warehouse space. They can then past pass these savings along to their clients.
Last but not least, we want to talk about experience. Most new companies that get involved with temperature controlled transport do so because they believe a business should produce everything in-house. There is something to be said for
this line of thinking. After all, quality control can only be guaranteed if products are produced and shipped by the same company. Fortunately, we now have computer tracking software that gives managers the ability to keep tabs on their
service provider and ensure a high level of customer satisfaction.