Ready, Set, FSMA!

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“We at BRT are fully FSMA compliant and are taking steps to stay ahead of our competition”
Trisha Monroe – Senior Optimization & Implementation Consultant, Supply Chain Advantage

Customers in today’s society are educating themselves on food safety and regulations in regards to their local supermarkets. What they may not be aware of is supplier, transportation, and warehousing procedures that the product must go through before it gets placed on the store shelves. With recent health recalls (Dole, Blue Bell, etc.) the US Government and the FDA are cracking down hard on food suppliers and implementing FSMA. By April 2017, the majority of all food suppliers will either need to be on board with these safety regulations or close their doors and noncompliance can lead to major penalties. The real struggle is not the process, but the regulations that need to be met.

FSMA (Food Safety Modernization Act) transportation compliance will be in full effect as of April 2017. FSMA will focus on larger transportation companies and work their way down. Majority of large transportation companies are changing current procedures. From research and studies, researchers found that more than 50% of companies are undertaking these major steps utilizing internet resources, while nearly 30% are seeking external guidance. Once FSMA is rolled out, all parties involved in the supply chain will be held accountable. Vendors, shippers, receivers, and carriers will all need to maintain documentation that detail any time product is handled, all temperature recordings throughout the life of the product, as well as the use of clean and sealed trailers. Documentation is a key factor in meeting FSMA requirements. In fact, FSMA compliance requires that all documentation have the ability to be provided within 24 hours in the case of an audit by FDA. Luckily, most companies say that they can currently retrieve documentation within the time frame, and half of all companies foresee the ability to be audit ready when FSMA is enacted.

What does your company have set in place? For example, Blue Ribbon Transport(BRT), a 3PL organization based in Indianapolis, IN, is fully FSMA compliant and is taking steps to stay ahead of their competition. With partnerships ranging from large produce distributors, large dairy manufacturers, to SQF Certified (Safe Quality Food) storage facilities, BRT knows the industry from supplier to end customer. Blue Ribbon Transport holds its carriers to a higher standard and provides a customer satisfaction guarantee. In addition to this groundwork, Blue Ribbon also offers consulting services regarding FMSA compliance as a resource for its customers. Ultimately, companies will need to do research, understand the new procedures, and ask the questions before FSMA goes live. Food safety regulation changes are on the horizon, and everyone must be on board when FDA puts them into effect.

Trisha Monroe – Senior Optimization & Implementation Consultant, Supply Chain Advantage



Nick Phillips, AVP of Operations, Discusses Outsourcing Transportation & The FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA)

Outsourcing transportation ahead of FSMA

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FSMA puts an emphasis on proactively preventing contamination of foods from farm to table.

There are several key points for shippers and transportation companies to start thinking about in order to get ahead of the curve…

  • The shipper will be required to specify, in writing, its sanitary requirements to the carrier; such as required temperature.
  • Shipper must inspect the trailer for cleanliness, confirm sanitation, and confirm temperatures.
  • Carrier must show shipper that it has maintained appropriate temperature control during transport for food subject to temperature control requirements.
  • Carriers will also have to provide shippers information about three previous loads hauled and the intervening cleaning of those vehicles.
  • Must have competent supervisory personnel ensuring compliance and must have training with documentation.

More than ever, it will be important for shippers to align themselves with experts in the food and beverage industry to ensure compliance and to ensure they have control over their supply chain.  There are several advantages to outsourcing your transportation to a Food and Beverage focused 3PL.

  • Carrier Networks – 3PL’s leverage industry relationships with the correct carrier base. They have a stringent on-boarding protocol to ensure the correct equipment and service levels are being met.  After identifying the correct carrier base, 3PL’s are able to leverage their vast networks to help lower cost by having carriers bid on freight and commit capacity to the business.
  • Technology – A 3PL with a focus on technology will be a step ahead of the game. There are several temperature monitoring services, location monitoring services, etc. that a good 3PL focused on the Food and Beverage industry will leverage to ensure compliance to the FSMA.  3PL’s with a strong TMS are also able to leverage backhauls, increased consolidation and optimized routing which offers more control of the equipment and less opportunity for the wrong product mix to be loaded onto a trailer.
  • Risk Mitigation – Outsourcing transfers the risk of transportation to the logistics provider. It allows shippers to focus on their core business.

There are many advantages to outsourcing your transportation needs.  It will be important to start the process early to leverage the expertise and technology of your chosen provider.  The more a company can prepare now, the less issues and disruptions to your business FSMA will present.

Nick Phillips, AVP of Operations and Accoun Manangement



Virtual Desktop Infrastructure Allows BRT to offer 24/7 Service Anywhere & Anytime

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“VDI allows us to meet customer expectations anywhere/anytime”.
Carey Weddle, Director of Finance & Administration

 

I joined BRT in 2012, new to the world of Food and Beverage Transportation.  I quickly learned that moving perishable goods is not like moving transmissions.  Our CEO, David Frizzell, made that idea clear to me with his favorite saying, “the product we move is dying the second it comes off the vine”.  Because BRT grew from the produce distribution environment our High Service Logistics Teams were built on 24/7 service.  Access to our TMS and supply chain resources anytime/anywhere were a necessity.

BRT moved to a Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) in 2014.  Prior to the change BRT had experienced regular system downtime.  I was tasked with finding a new solution to stabilize our work environment.  Coming from traditional server environments at prior stops in my career, I had concerns with a new solution, but the opportunity to work anywhere in any environment fit our business needs perfectly.  Teaming up with AdarIT to access our systems via VMWare has changed the way we do business.  I now have the same access to my desktop, no matter where works calls, via my laptop, tablet or smart phone.  Sometimes I seamlessly bounce back in forth between all three throughout the day.  With our VDI environment I can start a project at my desktop, run into a meeting with my IPad, and my desktop travels with me.  The same session is available via my IPhone over lunch and other than working off a smaller monitor I have the same access and functionality as I do in my office.

In addition to an improved user experience, VDI through AdarIT has allowed us to scale our IT resources as the business grows.  Our head count has grown 25% since moving to the cloud.  The growth has been seamless without any new IT resources.  The Wyse terminals used to connect to our cloud desktops require no maintenance, have a longer life and cost half as much as providing each user local desktops.  The move to VDI has allowed us to focus on our core business of High Service Logistics.

For our customers, BRT serves as a single point of access to hundreds of carriers and flexible transportation capacity.  We have developed industry leading technology and the BRT Proven Process to standardize the high service our customers expect.  VDI allows our logistics managers to have access to our network of lane data and backhaul opportunities anywhere/anytime so we can meet customer expectations.