Leverage Your 3PL's Real Estate Assets For In-Demand Cold Storage
Whatever challenges your perishable goods operation faces, the right 3PL can offer innovative solutions.
Finding available cold storage real estate in key markets is becoming more difficult than ever before. Online grocery delivery and the wider e-commerce market have monopolized cold chain facilities near population centers, leaving new or expanding cold chain operations in a lurch as they struggle to locate themselves nearer to their customers.
A recent report from CBRE showed that the U.S. cold chain would need to add 100 million square feet to its footprint before 2020 to keep pace with demand, which has driven a boom in cold storage construction. Building new facilities is a slow and costly process, however, and cold chain shippers need solutions right now.
3PLs Are Hot in Cold Storage
When capacity is tight somewhere in the supply chain, this is where third-party logistics (3PL) companies shine. 3PLs typically maintain facilities near primary markets, offering shared warehousing and fulfillment space to their clients. If you need access to cold storage near your target market, your 3PL should be able to help. 3PLs can provide the following benefits in this area:
- Access. U.S. consumers have been used to the two-day shipping model for quite some time, but online grocery sales have been at the forefront of a growing one-day shipping movement. A one-day delivery window is nearly impossible without conveniently located fulfillment space.
- Technology. Meeting modern consumer demands for fast shipping involves a plethora of technology solutions. 3PLs in the cold storage space are continually investing in technologies ranging from temperature tracking to warehouse and transportation management systems to maintain optimal visibility and ensure that perishable goods arrive fast and fresh.
- Affordability. Meeting the growing demand for near-instant shipping is an expensive endeavor. By sharing warehousing, transportation, and technology resources across their customer base, 3PLs can typically offer noticeable cost savings for one- and two-day shipping operations that shippers may not be able to achieve on their own.
- Flexibility. 3PLs can typically scale up or down very efficiently to keep pace with demand. Working with many clients also gives 3PLs broad capabilities in terms of services such as packaging, labeling, inventory management, and more, facilitating customized solutions that directly meet each client's needs.
- Sustainability. Consumers don't just want their food fast anymore—they also want it organic, locally sourced, and/or ethically grown. 3PLs can leverage their networks to assist shippers with sourcing more sustainable suppliers that meet the demands of their customer base.
- Creativity. The 3PL sector has been driving innovation in the warehousing space for decades. When traditional facilities are hard to come by, 3PLs can offer more out-of-the-box solutions for warehousing and fulfillment. For example, 3PLs may be able to quickly set up micro-fulfillment operations to enable fast relief to strained markets or offer optimized service from nearby secondary markets to fulfill primary market demands.
Finding the Right 3PL for Cold Storage
Whatever challenges your perishable goods operation faces, it's likely that the right 3PL can offer innovative solutions. However, not every 3PL is experienced in perishable goods.
Make sure your 3PL already has the right temperature control capabilities in place for warehousing and transportation. In addition, they should have certifications from the Food and Drug Administration, American Institute of Baking, and Good Manufacturing Practices to ensure they comply with all best practices for your products. Find a 3PL with these qualifications and you'll be glad you did.
For help with your temperature-controlled storage needs, contact Phoenix Logistics today.