Food and beverage (F&B) directors are not only fighting for market share on retail shelves and restaurant tables. They are also battling to secure trucking capacity to move their valuable commodities from the warehouse to their respected end destinations. Accomplishing that goal is becoming more difficult as fuel costs are at an all-time high and trucking capacity is more scarce than usual on account of produce season. So how are players in the F&B industry tackling these two giant obstacles at the same time? It ultimately boils down to building a positive relationship with a logistics solutions provider who has been here before.
Produce season is nothing new to shippers. It's the time of year when a majority of available trucks are occupied by a seasonal influx of fruits and vegetables in need of cross-country transportation. The diminished volume of trucks varies throughout the season, but smart shippers always account for severe capacity constraints from late February through early July. But even the savviest food and beverage directors who do their homework are scratching their heads in search of affordable transportation options. This year has added another level of complexity due to the high fuel costs seen around the world caused by the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict. And shippers in the F&B industry need a viable partner to secure capacity without making excuses.
The RPM Food and Beverage division aligns industry suppliers with reliable transportation options. With a vetted carrier network over 40,000 strong, the freight solutions provider has the volume needed to address high costs and capacity issues brought on by produce season. These relationships give F&B shippers access to dry van, temperature-controlled (reefer), and even specialty equipment on an as-needed basis. All it takes is one call to move delicate food and beverage freight without paying over-market prices, even in the height of produce season when finding a needle in a haystack seems more plausible.
Delivering on that promise comes down to effective planning and communication. Having an understanding of essential information such as a customer’s peak growing season, how shipping commodities are washed and handled, and where they are ultimately being delivered are necessary to paint a clear picture. RPM dedicates a single point of contact to uncover the answers to these questions. From there, it’s merely a matter of executing an effective game plan. For example, RPM secures capacity by planning ahead if a Florida-based shipper requires a reefer to move produce susceptible to spoilage when temperature-controlled trucks are limited. It all comes down to building a highly communicative relationship with the resources to back it up.
RPM Director of Food and Beverage Curtis Tate explains that you can bring diminished capacity into produce hubs like California, Texas, or even the state of Washington, which is notoriously tricky given its isolated location, if you have enough lead time. "The only way to secure capacity is by creating opportunities at the forefront of our customers' needs," says Tate.
By working two or three weeks ahead of time, RPM can send multiple trucks to a customer's location. Providing this capacity ensures sensitive produce is moved in time before spoilage is ever a concern and to do it at the lowest rate possible. Scheduling shipments ahead of time ensures a new truck is always available to meet the next load, no matter how scarce trucking capacity remains throughout the height of produce season.
Learn more about our services with shipping F&B freight during the height of produce season.