Archives for March 2017

What You Should Know about the Sanitary Transportation of Food Rule

By Contributing Author | 03/31/2017 | 7:05 AM

By Jason Craig, C.H. Robinson

This year, April 1 has more meaning than just April Fool’s Day. For many in our industry, the Sanitary Transportation of Food (STF) rule goes into effect. Since this broad rule affects so many in the industry, here’s what you need to know:

  1. Commodities that fall under this rule

As part of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), the STF rule applies to human or animal food items that are shipped open to the air, temperature controlled for safety, or shipped in bulk trailers or tankers via truck or rail.

The rule differentiates items that are temperature controlled for quality versus safety. Typical products that need temperature controlled shipping for safety include fresh meat and unpasteurized beverages. Whereas items like canned beverages and chocolate are often temperature controlled for quality so they would not be subject to this rule as long as they are in closed containers.

  1. Responsible parties

The rule affects people and organizations transporting human and animal food by truck or rail. It outlines parties as shippers (including 3PLs), loaders, receivers, and carriers (specifically truck and rail). Entities can be defined as:

  • Shipper – Arranges for transportation by a carrier or multiple carriers sequentially. Could be a manufacturer, broker, warehouse, or other entity. Several parties may assume the role of a shipper for a single load.
    • Loader – A person loading the trailer.
    • Receiver – A person unloading the trailer.
    • Carrier – An entity that physically moves the food by rail or motor vehicle.

Shippers need to have written policies and procedures in place for products. Carriers are also required to have written policies and procedures about how to handle instructions from shippers; they also need to train employees on general sanitary practices and internal procedures.

  1. STF’s staggered release

Officially, business with more than $25.5 million in annual receipts or those that employ more than 500 people should be in compliance with the STF rule by April 2017; all organizations smaller than that have until April 2018 to comply. That said, many shippers are expecting compliance from all carriers, no matter their size, by April 2017.

  1. Restating current best practices

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has stated this rule is not intended to impose significant new requirements in the industry—in fact, the industry is already completing most steps within the rule. The rule is simply a restatement or formal recognition of industry best practices with the addition of a documentation requirement.

Because most organizations already follow these general behaviors, we don’t expect to see a lot of material change relative to the safe transportation of food in the United States. If you have questions about the rule or how it will affect your business:

  • Visit the FDA’s website.
  • Work with your logistics provider.
  • Watch this six minute video of Chris McLoughlin, risk manager at C.H. Robinson, discussing the rule.


Craig Jason DSC_3498
Jason Craig — Director, Government Affairs

Jason has over 20 years of industry experience and a deep understanding of government policies. He monitors regulatory and legislative issues impacting the transportation and produce industries for C.H. Robinson. Jason is member of the Minnesota Freight Advisory Committee (MFAC) and serves as an election judge in the City of Minneapolis.

Is Your BYOD Policy Keeping Up with Your Employees’ Behavior?

By Contributing Author | 03/22/2017 | 2:00 PM

By Samuel Mueller, Scandit

Not too long ago, the idea of supporting a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy was a radical concept. A lot of IT managers were concerned, and rightfully so, about issues such as security and device management. While those concerns are still out there, tools and services have been designed to address them. 
These days, BYOD isn’t the controversial topic that it once was. In 2016, Tech Pro Research reported that 72% of organizations surveyed either already allowed the use of personal devices for work or would start to allow it within one year.
Since BYOD is becoming more of a standard in the enterprise, your company may already support it. But are you keeping up with it? If your company’s BYOD policy hasn’t been reviewed or changed since it was implemented, it’s likely an out-of-date approach.
Your employees may be able to use their own smartphones, computers, or other mobile devices. However, if you force them to use applications that are outdated or poorly designed, you’re doing them a disservice. Instead, in addition to a BYOD policy, you should also encourage a Bring Your Own Application (BYOA) policy.
Your employees can easily go to any app store and search for better options than company-approved apps, and they’re likely already doing this. Have you tried searching for applications that would be helpful in the supply chain? Try searching for specific categories such as inventory management and order entry. You will be amazed by how much is out there. Not everything will be a fit for your organization, but there will likely be some options to consider that you’ve never heard of before.
Your employees might already be using some of their new discoveries on the side to be more productive. You don’t want them to feel like they can’t share or talk about new apps because they go against company policy. Instead of being skeptical about new apps, ask employees about what they’ve found that works well for them. Whenever possible, support the apps as an official part of your BYOD policy.
Just like BYOD, using new apps in a corporate environment can be scary. Consider that bringing your employees’ discoveries and behaviors into your BYOD policy can make your business operations more productive and agile. Not just for one or a few employees, but for all of them.
Samuel Mueller is the CEO and co-founder of Scandit and is responsible for overall strategic direction, marketing, sales and business development. Prior to Scandit, Samuel was a management consultant and project leader for multinational companies such as Swiss Airlines, Swiss Re and IBM as well as a corporate researcher at the renowned IBM Zurich Research Lab. While at IBM, Samuel was awarded an IBM Research Division Award and a total of three IBM Invention Achievement Awards. He has authored numerous patent applications and has published his research results in leading conferences and journals. Samuel holds a PhD from ETH Zurich and graduated summa cum laude with an MSc in Computer Science and an MA in Financial Economics, both from the University of Zurich, Switzerland.

7 Ways CMMS Can Transform Your Business

By Contributing Author | 03/15/2017 | 2:03 PM

By Lindsey Walker, NEXGEN Asset Management

Warehouse management is a critical part of every business. You had to manually carry out various tasks in the past, but now, you can implement computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) in the facility. With CMMS, you can automate most warehouse management tasks, simplify a complex supply chain structure, and save time and effort. Let us look at 7 ways CMMS can benefit your business.

1. Accountability Increases

With an asset management software, you can report, order spare parts and schedule preventive maintenance in an automated and a streamlined manner. You can find all the detailed records of who conducted the last repair work and all the relevant information regarding the same. You can save time, increase the validity of the reporting methods and achieve increased accountability.

2. Efficiency Increases

The integration of IoT and CMMS frees up people and takes over numerous individual jobs that were reliant on manual effort. Due to this, the standard for reliability and efficiency increases and data can be reported more accurately.

3. Ability to Integrate Technology

You can integrate technology and various mobile apps that allow your business to have a competitive edge in the market. You can utilize technology in a number of ways to enhance your  brand image too.

4. Mobility Increases

The mobile technology allows you to remotely control the processes and program the software from any location in the world. You can remotely check-in and inspect your processes and equipment. Moreover, you can receive, manage and complete work orders, regardless of where you are located, with just a click of the button. You can also access the Manufacturer Recommended Procedures and critical repair information while repairing any equipment remotely.

5. Equipment Life Increases

CMMS software ensures that you conduct timely maintenance schedule and execute work orders on time. You can make sure that the vital infrastructure is always working at its peak efficiency for a long time. It helps in preventing overlapping of preventive maintenance schedules and facilitates smooth functioning of equipment. All this results in extending the service life of vital equipment and assets.

6. Downtime is Reduced

Since the integration of IoT and CMMS allows you to stay on top of maintenance schedules, you will have fewer unplanned downtimes and unexpected service outages. CMMS will collect all the information pertaining to repair and replacements by tracking the historical maintenance trends of your equipment, empowering you to plan for predictive maintenance and schedule periodic inspections.

7. Improved Inventory Control

A maintenance management software will give you an end-to-end view of your inventory levels, shipping costs, purchase and work orders, replacements, on-hand counts and storeroom capabilities, all in real time, offering improved inventory control. The asset planning software can automatically generate the purchase requests by keeping a constant track of the minimum and maximum levels of stock. It also gives an instant access to relevant information that can help you improve the response times, accelerate work order completion and reduce downtimes.

Implementing CMMS brings more to the table than you could ever imagine. Incorporate it in your facility and it won’t be long before you reap the myriad benefits. 

Lindsey Walker

Lindsey Walker is the marketing manager for NEXGEN Asset Management. She excels at business development, project management and asset management. Her passion for writing allows her to share her knowledge on asset management, mobile geographic information systems (GIS), mobile CMMS, software implementation, training curriculum development and similar topics.

Gauge and Improve Your Freight Management Performance: Six Critical Key Performance Indicators

By Contributing Author | 03/03/2017 | 11:39 AM

By Mike Challman, VP, North American Operations for CLX Logistics

The 5 W’s: Who, What, When, Where, Why (and How) – is a guide for young journalists in writing leads and actually serves as a good rule-of-thumb for efficient supply chain management. Specifically the 5 W’s can be applied to freight management:

  1. Who is the recipient?
  2. What are you transporting?
  3. When do they need it?
  4. Where do they need it?
  5. Why are we utilizing this mode?
  6. How can we optimize the process?

With the supply chain management competitive landscape growing at a steady rate, assessing freight management performance is increasingly important. Smart companies constantly look for better and more efficient ways to manage their supply chain – the question is, where to start?

Although the entire freight management process is crucial, there are some elements you should prioritize over others. Consider the following key performance indicators when beginning your freight management assessment:

  • Timing is everything. Analyze any consistent delays or last-minute order changes that may be negatively affecting your efficiency and productivity. Add order planning lead times and shipment transit times to your monthly reports to help diagnose lags and streamline operations.
  • Freight costs may seem like an obvious KPI, but the true innovation is in the solution. If your freight costs have increased faster than average inflation, incorporate an extended rate database and a Request-for-Quotation (RFQ) tool to help drive the lowest price for your business.
  • Another aspect to consider is sustainability. The Pew Research Center recently found that 65% of Americans would like to make alternative energy source production a priority. Therefore, environmentally-conscious efforts will earn bonus points amongst the majority of U.S. customers.

Review the remaining KPIs and begin optimizing your freight management process and reporting today.



Mr. Challman leads all of ChemLogix Managed Services in North America, including freight management operations; benchmarks, bids & carrier procurement; dedicated and rail fleet operations; and brokerage services. CLX Logistics is a global provider of transportation management, technology, and supply chain consulting services, that offers a superior combination of technologies, flexible solutions and a high-touch approach to solving logistics challenges.

The opinions expressed herein are those solely of the participants, and do not necessarily represent the views of Agile Business Media, LLC., its properties or its employees.

About One-Off Sound-Off

Welcome to "One-Off Sound-Off," a blog page devoted to guest commentary on all things supply chain. This is a space where industry leaders can share their opinions and expertise with the logistics and supply chain community. If you have an article or commentary you'd like to share, please consider sending a guest blog proposal to feedback@dcvelocity.com.


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