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Cold Chain Logistics: Protecting Your Food, Contributing to Your Community

Whether investing in a new market or comparing industry benchmarks to their own company’s performance, forward-thinking cold chain professionals use data to improve and grow their business.

The Global Cold Chain Alliance (GCCA) and its Core Partners study the cold chain industry to better understand the scope and needs of the industry. With this data, GCCA is able to identify areas where the cold chain needs to be strengthened and, subsequently, develop resources to help the industry do just that.

One of the primary tools GCCA has created to both promote and grow the cold chain industry through industry data and metrics is the Productivity and Benchmarking Report (PBR).

Since 2001, The International Association of Refrigerated Warehouses (IARW), a Core Partner of GCCA, has collected and compiled data to help temperature-controlled warehousing and logistics companies evaluate their operations and performance. The PBR is a valuable tool used by members to gauge their operational performance in comparison to other companies in the industry.

Over the past few years, the PBR Task Force, comprised of representatives from seven of the leading temperature-controlled 3PLs in the industry, has worked diligently to improve the collection platform and survey content to ensure members are provided with the most comprehensive benchmarking data for assessing performance within our market. This survey is the only source for productivity benchmarking data for temperature-controlled 3PLs in the entire country.

“We have found the PBR a valuable tool in evaluating our company performance against peers in the industry, said Tony Lucarelli, Executive Vice President, Sales & Marketing, Henningsen Cold Storage Company.

Some key results from the 2016 PBR highlight the North American cold chain’s contribution to the economy, the workforce and food security.

The refrigerated warehousing industry is estimated to bring in $4.7 billion in revenue on an annual basis, with the average refrigerated warehouse reporting close to $7 million in revenue per facility. This revenue includes both traditional storage as well as value-added services.

In recent years there has been an increase in value-added services, such as re-packing, blast freezing and ability to handle more fresh products, to help add value to products before it gets to the customer.

Not only is the temperature-controlled warehousing and logistics industry contributing to the economy by generating this revenue, but it also has created a significant amount of jobs. In fact, the North American refrigerated warehousing industry is estimated to employ more than 37,000 people annually. Most of the jobs in refrigerated warehouses are regular-hired positions, in contrast to temporary or contract positions, which account for 8 percent of payroll expenses. On average, a refrigerated warehouse will have 55 employees, with the largest warehouses having more than 100 full-time workers.

These employees work day in and day out to ensure that quality and safety of perishable products are maintained throughout the journey from harvest to consumer.

It is estimated that more than 288 billion pounds of perishable food moved through GCCA member warehouses just last year, based on 165 million pallets, which typically weigh close to a ton each). On any given day, 95 billion pounds of perishable food is stored in North American refrigerated warehouses.

An overview of these figures can be found in this infographic. Furthermore, the January-February 2018 issue of COLD FACTS Magazine provides a deeper dive into GCCA’s market research initiatives, including more details on the North American PBR, the European PBR and customer research.

Data collection for the 2018 North American PBR will begin soon. GCCA members are invited to access the PBR Executive Summary and benchmarking tool here.

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