How to Choose a Warehouse Partner
Over the last decade, the warehousing space has seen a dramatic operational shift. Lineage Logistics has surpassed Americold as the largest Public Refrigerated Warehouse in North America and is nearly twice the size of the former leader in logistics. There has been massive consolidation in the world of warehousing with Preferred Freezer Services, VersaCold, and large segments of Burris Logistics coming under the mantle of Lineage and other larger warehouse groups. Similarly, ten years ago nine of the ten largest warehouses in North America were American based. Today, foreign-based warehouses occupy three of the top ten warehouses in North America. Is the consolidation of many of the smaller warehouse groups better? Are the larger entities delivering the services that the customer base requires? Answers vary, but inquiring minds still want to know.
Discussions within the food distribution community reveal that many warehouses are requiring that delivery and pickup appointments be scheduled through online platforms, and they cannot react to emergencies. Demurrage and detention costs can run into millions of dollars a year for larger customers – none of which is being dealt with by some of these larger warehousing companies. In earlier times, a phone call could resolve most issues; but in today’s automated world solutions seem to be harder and harder to come by. What is one to do? What is the most important consideration in choosing a warehouse partner? Again, answers may vary; but first, decide what is most important to you.
First, let’s look at the warehouse landscape in formulating our opinion. As of 2022, there were 214 million square feet of frozen warehouse space in North America. There is an estimated need for a 47% increase in this space over the next five years which translates into an additional 100,000,000 square feet of frozen and refrigerated space that will be needed to service existing projected demands. There will be several new players that have recently or will be entering, the warehousing world. What do we know about the new players? Do we feel that we can get the time and attention that we require from the existing roster of warehouses in the consolidated field?
The answers to some more focused questions may supply the answer to the larger question at hand. Who is running the warehouse? What is their experience in the industry? What about the building – how old is it? Does it utilize modern technology that can lower costs and provide safer, cleaner service? What about its refrigeration system – Is it ammonia-based? Was it constructed to facilitate efficient operations, or did it maximize pallet positions to increase its attractiveness to the investment community at the cost of service to its customers? The answer to these smaller questions will lead you to the answer to the larger question at hand.
PL COLD the New Player in Cold and Frozen Logistics
PL COLD is the sister company to Progressive Logistics. Progressive Logistics has been in the temperature-controlled business for nearly 25 years. PL COLD has opened a 38,000 pallet, 300,000 square foot refrigerated and frozen warehouse in Greenfield, IN – 12 miles East of Indianapolis right off of Interstate 70. It is right next to Progressive Logistics’ 500,000 square-foot temperature-controlled ambient warehouse, so the customer can have its ambient, refrigerated, and frozen warehousing needs met in the same warehouse complex. PL COLD has a 73,000-square-foot refrigerated dock and 40 dock doors to facilitate fast and efficient unloading and loading of trucks and containers. It will operate as an approved Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) warehouse. It utilizes a synthetic freon that has replaced hydrofluorocarbons with a refrigerant that does not degrade the atmosphere. Mark Teicher, the VP of Operations, has over 30 years in the food industry and over 20 years specifically in warehouse operations. Ed Rodgers, the VP of Business Development, has 26 years of experience in Business Development and Sales in the Public Refrigerated Warehouse Industry. Both Mark and Ed know what is important to the customer and they have instituted and managed major distribution and re-distribution programs for Walmart, U.S. Food Service, Sysco, Publix Supermarkets, Red Lobster, the Darden Group, Trader Joe’s, and many other major importers and exporters in the frozen arena. They offer professional service with a personal touch. PL COLD may be just the answer you were looking for!