How Communication Leads to Great 3PL Food Logistics

A 3PL food logistics company needs open and consistent communication. Food is very fragile and the second it is harvested, baked, or made the clock starts to tick. The US alone generates around 133 billion pounds of food waste per year. It’s the obligation and duty of the food logistics company to do what they can to bring that number down. The best way to ensure quality shipping is through communication. A 3PL food logistics’ level of quality is impacted by internal communication, communication with the shipper, and with the carrier. 

Internal Communications 

It all starts internally. In order to offer a great 3PL food logistics service, there needs to be open communication within the 3PL itself. There needs to be regular check-ins and communication between departments and teams to make sure that processes are going smoothly and the quality is staying consistent. 

Additionally, there needs to be regular meetings so that everyone on the team is on the same page. This is especially important for produce seasons. The team needs to know the changes and shifting demands in the market so that they can plan accordingly. Regular meetings also allow for new efficiencies to be uncovered which ultimately lead to a better service. 

Without proper internal communication, the services will grind to a halt, and orders will be delayed or missed resulting in the loss of countless product. Because of this, internal communication is needed for a great 3PL food logistics service. 

Shipper Communications 

There is a lot of information that is needed when shipping food items, especially fresh or easily spoiled food. It is up to the 3PL to make sure they get everything that is needed for a quality shipment. After everything is set and good to go the actual shipment process can start. 

During shipping, there should be regular check-ins with the shipper so that they are kept up-to-date on their freight. Any sort of delay or change absolutely needs to be communicated so that the shipper can adjust so that no food is wasted. 

Overall, the level of communication should be set by the shipper, if they want updates every 15 minutes then it is up to the 3PL company to provide them. However, if it’s a new partnership then it’s always better to err on the side of over-communicating. 

Start of the 3PL Food Logistics process at the farm

Another vital point of communication between the shipper and 3PL food logistics company is regular reviews. These meetings should take place at least every quarter to find new efficiencies that result in savings and less spoilage. 

Carrier Communications 

The last piece needed for great 3PL food logistics is communication between the 3PL and carrier. Internal communication and communication with the shipper can allow you to have a smoother operation that is ready for anything. But communication with the carrier is what actually gets the freight delivered. 

Similar to how the shipper needs to provide all the freight details to the 3PL, the 3PL needs to provide all the details to the carrier. This includes things like temperature, humidity, pick-up and drop-off times, and trailer quality. It is important that every piece is communicated over. 

Timing is especially important when it comes to 3PL food logistics. In food shipping you want to be RIGHT on time, not late, and not early. Any disruption has several knock-on effects that the shipper is going to have to deal with.  

Technologies impact on communication for 3PL Food Logistics companies 

So, there is obviously a lot of communication that needs to go into shipping food. Luckily for everyone, including the end consumer, technology has made huge improvements in the efficiency of communication within the supply chain. 

Track and trace technology is one particular technology that has been huge. Now the 3PL food logistics company is able to tell EXACTLY where the driver is. This means that exact and accurate information can be relayed to the shipper without constantly calling the driver.  

Another great development has been Electronic data interchanges (EDI) which allow for information to automatically be sent over to the shipper or 3PL. This allows for quick, or even automatic, processes to be put into place. When it comes to food shipping time is everything and EDI’s help greatly in saving time. 

Conclusion 

The quality of 3PL food logistics is impacted by internal communication, communication with the shipper, and with the carrier. These three levels of communication are needed to ensure a consistent and quality service. Each person involved in the supply chain is responsible for making sure that information is passed along but, ultimately, the 3PL is accountable. Make sure that you are partnering with a 3PL that knows accountability. 

At Becker Logistics, we know accountability and food shipping. Food freight makes up a majority of our overall shipping and we have the knowledge and know-how to ensure that every food shipment is delivered with quality. If you would like to see how Becker Logistics can improve your food shipping then, reach out and contact us today. Additionally, if you want to get started shipping now the request a quote here

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