Businesses that touch food and other perishables understand the issues facing storage, shipping, and handling of inventory in a food-grade warehouse. Shelf-life for food-grade materials varies in ways that no other industry faces. Handling systems have to take into account the many ways that different food products must be handled to provide the best quality for end-users.
The following are 6 areas where our food grade warehouse will tailor solutions for businesses where other logistics partners may not.
1. Refrigerated Materials
Different food products require different refrigeration methods. A food-grade warehouse will understand your refrigeration needs and quickly determine if your product is a good fit for their warehouse and how to store it if it is a good fit. Freezing leafy greens is a good way to guarantee product loss while many meat producers prefer their product frozen.
2. Time to Market
Grain storage, if done in a dry environment, is safe for years. Products like cheese and wine, as the old adage goes, get better with age. On the other hand, cut greens and harvested fruits can start to go bad in a matter of days. A food-grade warehouse will understand the different times to market for your inventory and help you work out a distribution plan to ensure the least loss of inventory possible.
3. Entire Distribution Network
Food grade warehouses understand the need to have quality shipping to and from the warehouse as well as cross-docking procedures when necessary. A good logistics partner for food-grade materials will help you procure dedicated refrigerated and dry van fleets to and from the warehouse so that your product arrives fresh and ready to be eaten.
4. Foliage vs Meat vs Frozen Goods
The handling rules for various food grade products differ greatly. Meat products and by-products have rules about cooking and cross-contamination with products meant to be eaten raw. Live plants require specific light, humidity, and temperature storage protocols. Frozen goods require temperatures well below freezing to ensure that there is not any partial thawing in the product. These are part of what makes handling and storage of food-grade inventory a difficult system to arrange. Food grade warehouses specialize in understanding these needs and working with manufacturers, other distributors, and retailers, and wholesalers to ensure that food is handled according to the best industry and governmental requirements.
5. Cross-Docking for Food Materials
Cross-docking is an inventory handling process where a warehouse systematically moves a product from incoming trucks to outgoing trucks without long-term storage. Cross-docking is essential for many food products that are managed using JIT inventory management systems. Products like fruit, which will come in on one truck and quickly move to multiple trucks going to multiple retail locations are part of a cross-docking process. From the practicality of having both incoming and outgoing trucks pulled up to the docks at the same time to systematized management of the product, cross-docking gives moves food-grade products quickly on to the consumer.
6. Handling Food Materials
As discussed previously, the great varieties of food-grade products require different handling processes. Great warehousing defines the areas where the product is handled and stored and separates different types of food-grade products to prevent cross-contamination. This also includes systems for handling organic, non-GMO, and other farm products that must be separated from other products. From cleanliness to storage systems, proper handling is an essential service provided by food-grade warehouses.
Trust CWI For Your Food-Grade Warehousing
From shipping relationships to refrigeration and handling, a food-grade warehouse works with food producers to create the best possible logistics system for food handling, storage, and shipping.