Tyler, please introduce yourself (your title / company / location)

  • I’m Tyler Hildebrand and I am an account executive at Reliable Transportation Solutions in Cincinnati, OH

Please tell us about your background. Where did you grow up? Go to school? What was your major in college?

  • Born and raised in Cincinnati, OH
  • Growing up I worked in lots of warehouses and was very interested in art
  • Attended college at Ringling College of Art & Design in Sarasota FL, where I studied illustration

You have had an interesting career path, tell us a little about your story

  • Owned and operated an art gallery
  • As an artist, I was commissioned to create artwork for some iconic organizations like the Chicago Cubs, Notre Dame football, etc.
  • As a freelance marketer, I often worked closely with clients in the transportation and logistics space, so I began to understand the business
  • I joined a university as an art professor, was promoted to administration and was even considered for the president of the university
  • Transitioned to transportation and logistics when a recommended me for an opportuniy

Before we dig into the “Five Keys to Cold Chain Success”, let’s cover the basics. What is the cold chain?

  • A cold chain is a temperature-controlled supply chain for perishable food products, pharmaceuticals, and chemicals in order to maintain their quality and increase their shelf-life
  • A cold chain is essential because it:
    • Reduces food loss due to spoilage
    • Enhances food safety and quality
    • Balances and manages the supply and demand of food

Talk a little bit about the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA)

  • Biggest overhaul of Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in history
  • Signed into law Jan. 4, 2011
  • Ensures safety and security of the food and feed supply to protect human and animal health.
  • Significant impact to the food supply chain
  • FSMA applies to:
    • Food transported in bulk, where the food touches the walls of the vehicle (Example: juices)
    • Packaged foods not fully enclosed by a container (Example: fresh produce)
    • Food that require temperature control for safety (Example: beef)

Tell us about the cold chain infrastructure

  • It’s a lot more than just reefers – the cold chain starts in the fields and ends when the consumer buys it —
    • Precooling facilities. Precooling is the removal of heat energy from crops after they are harvested. Precooling reduces spoilage and slows ripening.
    • Refrigerated storagerefers to the storing of goods in a reduced temperature atmosphere. Heat is removed from the storage container or room to help keep goods cold.
    • Refrigerated transportis a form of climate-controlled transportation which is designed to maintain a cool or frozen temperature.
    • Packaging is another key component of the cold chain. Cold chain packaging is specifically designed to help maintain a reduced temperature. Cold chain packaging is sometimes insulated and or thermal.
    • Information management systems are transforming the cold chain through:
      • Route optimization
      • WMS, TMS, documentation
      • Hardware – scanning equipment, phone apps
      • Business intelligence & KPIs
      • Real time monitoring and alerts for non-compliance

Now that we know the basics, what is the first key to cold chain success?

  • Creating the Right Culture
    • Continuous improvement
    • Risk management
    • Chain of custody
    • Problem resolution
    • Root cause analysis

What is the second key to cold chain success?

  • Develop a food safety plan – FSMA Requires it
    • FSMA in a Nutshell
      • Process Summary
      • Written food safety plan
      • Identify potential hazards / risks – Document every potential risk to food safety
      • Implement a preventive control that will minimize or eliminate every risk
      • Monitor controls to ensure they are done
      • Training
      • Documentation
  • The food safety plan should be created with input from the extended team (suppliers, carriers, team members, experts and customers)
  • The food safety plan is a living document that should be updated on a regular basis

What is the third to cold chain success?

  • Leverage technology
    • To ensure food safety and comply to FSMA, companies should try to use technology to monitor temperature control
    • Real time monitoring and alerts for non-compliance
    • The technology needs to be calibrated / updated
    • Technology doesn’t quit or call or sick

What is the fourth key to cold chain success?

  • Cold Chain Transportation that is sanitary (regardless of mode – air, road, ship, etc..)
    • Appropriate temperature control during transport.
    • Sanitation, including:
      • Monitoring and ensuring the sanitation and condition of transportation vehicles is appropriate
      • Pest control
      • Sanitation associated with loading & unloading procedures
      • Clean out
      • Prior loads
    • Appropriate packaging/packing of food products and transportation units (e.g., good quality pallets, correct use of packing materials).
    • Good communications between shipper, transporter and receiver.
    • Employee awareness and training.

What is the fifth key to cold chain success?

  • Choose supply chain partners who are FSMA compliant and who value food safety as much as your company does
    • Partners should have all appropriate certifications for their industry
    • Update procurement and carrier agreements to include FSMA provisions
    • The FSMA raises the bar on monitoring, data management and processes. Software can make these activities easier.
    • If possible, use sensors and electronic alerts to monitor important functions like temperature, testing and process compliance.

Tyler, thank you so much for the education – really good stuff. Please wrap it up for us

  • To ensure that the food supply chain is kept safe, you must do the work
  • There are no short cut in FSMA compliance

What’s new over at Reliable?

  • Reliable Transportation Solutions is an asset based 3PL specializing in refrigerated food transportation
  • Centrally located in Cincinnati OH
  • In addition to our own fleet (reefers/dry vans) we also have a full service brokerage

To Learn More:

Reliable Transportation Solutions: https://www.relyonrts.com/#homePage

Connect with Tyler on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/tyler-hildebrand-87778829/