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#1 Jus'me

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Posted 26 April 2016 - 07:04 PM

Hello and please help!!! 

Every year we have the same debate after our annual audit and every year I hear, "We can't do that."  I am talking about requiring locks/seals on LTL shipments to and from our facility.  We are a small company and SQF Level 2 certified.  Every audit we receive, whether it be an SQF audit or from a customer, they all say the same thing, trucks should be sealed/locked when entering and exiting, even partial shipments.  Has anybody else had to deal with this and if so, how did you resolve it?  I am receiving a lot of negativity from our operations and inventory sector, (naturally) because they don't want to turn a truck away if it doesn't have the proper locks/seals.  I say it is the same as if the product is damaged, we wouldn't accept it, or if the trailer was filthy, so I say if we make a policy that states locks/seals are mandatory that the carriers will either comply or be sent away we should stick to it.  They just want to make it a suggestion where we monitor it but show no recourse for not following the procedure. They, operations and invnetory are afraid the carriers will refuse to comply. 

Any assistance/ suggestions would be appreciated, I'm tired of having this argument and banging my head against the wall every single year.



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#2 QAGB

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Posted 26 April 2016 - 08:16 PM

Hello and please help!!! 

Every year we have the same debate after our annual audit and every year I hear, "We can't do that."  I am talking about requiring locks/seals on LTL shipments to and from our facility.  We are a small company and SQF Level 2 certified.  Every audit we receive, whether it be an SQF audit or from a customer, they all say the same thing, trucks should be sealed/locked when entering and exiting, even partial shipments.  Has anybody else had to deal with this and if so, how did you resolve it?  I am receiving a lot of negativity from our operations and inventory sector, (naturally) because they don't want to turn a truck away if it doesn't have the proper locks/seals.  I say it is the same as if the product is damaged, we wouldn't accept it, or if the trailer was filthy, so I say if we make a policy that states locks/seals are mandatory that the carriers will either comply or be sent away we should stick to it.  They just want to make it a suggestion where we monitor it but show no recourse for not following the procedure. They, operations and invnetory are afraid the carriers will refuse to comply. 

Any assistance/ suggestions would be appreciated, I'm tired of having this argument and banging my head against the wall every single year.

 

 

Hi Jus'me,

 

We're a small BRC certified company, and we do require all incoming and outgoing shipments on LTLs and FTLs to be sealed. If the wrong seal number is written down for incoming trucks, but the port or door is locked, I will give the company a call and confirm what seals were on the outgoing truck. If they can't confirm, then the load will be rejected. If there is no seal outright (especially on tankers), the load is rejected. For LTLs and FTLs that are not of the tanker sort, you're probably going to end up with a lot of discussion internally about the product being safe because it's sealed or wrapped securely. Even those should be rejected; but I suppose you can design your own policy that determines what to do in the event that happens.

 

 

Pretty much all of our carriers comply; I've only had once instance of a truck arriving without a seal on a port (and that was just one instance out of the hundreds -- if not thousands of loads we've gotten from that specific supplier). I had an instance where the FTL arrived sealed, but the product in totes didn't (which was very interesting). I've had a few loads of product with the incorrect seal number written down, or even more seals on the truck than what they had written down. It's part of food defense to have seals on shipments, and I wouldn't think you'd have a hard time with the carriers complying with that. If you reject a couple of shipments for seal issues, I would be inclined to think those suppliers/carriers would be more careful in the future.

 

I understand the issue of getting people on board with load rejection internally. It's often times hard for me to get cooperation, and rejecting shipments usually turns into a drawn out discussion. The reasoning is just as you said; a load without a seal is damaged. It is fairly difficult to test for contamination; especially if you don't know what the contamination would be (if it even exists). Some testing is also very expensive and time consuming.

 

You could try getting together with the team you need to discuss this matter with, and put together a few hypothetical situations. Ask them what they think the best way to handle a potential contamination from an unsealed load would be; and what they would do if they had a recall due to contamination from a failure in the food defense program. Sometimes including people in the discussion and getting them to think about consequences will get them to be more at ease with a policy change.

 

QAGB



#3 Jus'me

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Posted 26 April 2016 - 09:22 PM

Thank you QAGB, that is helpful.  Actually the people who are showing resistance are on the Food Safety Team and are present when the auditor talks about requiring seals and locks.  They nod their head in agreement and don't make a peep to the auditor, but then when we discuss how to go forth they throw up all sorts of obstacles.  Sound familiar? 

I will work it out, you were a big help in supporting my belief the trucking companies will comply w/o too much argument.  I will probably get more of a fight internally than I will from the trucking companies. :)

Thanks again.



#4 Chris DeV

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Posted 27 April 2016 - 11:15 AM

Jus'me,

 

I think you will find carriers (especially larger companies) will comply with this requirement, as the sealing or locking of trucks has become fairly commonplace within Food Defense & Security. You also have the added ammunition of the Sanitary Transport requirements from FSMA to help prove why the sealing of trailers or carriers is important for food safety. I have encountered the same resistance, especially with Purchasing folks who don't want to turn materials away in the case of zero inventory or other concerns. You just have to help your folks understand the importance of seals and load integrity through training. Also, if you reject a couple of loads, carriers will usually understand you mean business, especially if you ask them to provide an RCA on why the trailer wasn't sealed in the first place if that is your requirement.

 

SQF requires the specifications for contract suppliers, and carriers would fall under this umbrella, meaning you should have a specification for the requirements your carriers need to meet. I would say if you have major issues with a carrier, then they can be disqualified as suppliers according to your requirements. Of course, if these are customer provided carriers, you may end up in a situation with your customer, but they should know what the requirements are as well.

 

Good luck with getting your people on board...it can be difficult, and frustrating, but I think your people will come around if you have management support.

 

Chris



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#5 QAGB

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Posted 27 April 2016 - 03:51 PM

Thank you QAGB, that is helpful.  Actually the people who are showing resistance are on the Food Safety Team and are present when the auditor talks about requiring seals and locks.  They nod their head in agreement and don't make a peep to the auditor, but then when we discuss how to go forth they throw up all sorts of obstacles.  Sound familiar? 

I will work it out, you were a big help in supporting my belief the trucking companies will comply w/o too much argument.  I will probably get more of a fight internally than I will from the trucking companies. :)

Thanks again.

 

 

Hi Jus'me,

 

Ah yes, the "we can't do..." phrase happens a lot where I am; when they really mean "we don't want to do". On numerous occasions we've had solutions to problems that could have been addressed, but deemed as too difficult because someone had to take a couple of extra steps to do them.

 

The buy-in is often difficult, but hopefully you'll get your team on board. Just don't let them make the compliance of your carriers the excuse; as the carriers usually aren't the problem.

 

QAGB



#6 Jus'me

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Posted 27 April 2016 - 04:18 PM

Boy QAGB are you preaching to the choir!!!!  That is exactly what I run into, the "we can't" is really no more than the "we don't want to because it is an inconvenient". 



#7 Jim E.

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Posted 27 April 2016 - 09:19 PM

Now what about the local transport company that receives numerous orders on their dock one of which is us with a single pallet order.  No way to seal that, we do request a lock but that is the drivers own.  Will that be sufficient?



#8 Watanka

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Posted 27 April 2016 - 10:28 PM

Jus'me,

 

Looks like you have a lot of support for your position - and I tend to agree. 

 

Inbound components and ingredients can be sent via bobtail trucks, pickups or whatever to accommodate your lot size and reduce the necessity of LTL - unless it is coming from some distance away.  Good argument for a short supply chain.  Short or long, purchasing agents will not want to going to specialty transport as that raises the cost of doing business simply to obtain a seal on a shipment.  They tend to not understand why that is so important to product safety and quality.

 

Outbound LTL may be a bit more difficult, particularly if you are the first stop of many.  Slap a seal on and the trucker will only remove it a couple of miles down the road.  And do you know what is going to be shipped LTL with your precious cargo?  Allergens?  Chemicals?  Infested pallets?  Nightmares at each stop and yours was the first!  Best to avoid LTL outbound shipments altogether if possible to maintain the integrity of your product. 

 

When you come up with the perfect plan please share it with us because I know all us small to medium businesses struggle with this issue.



#9 QAGB

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Posted 28 April 2016 - 11:44 AM

Jus'me,

 

Looks like you have a lot of support for your position - and I tend to agree. 

 

Inbound components and ingredients can be sent via bobtail trucks, pickups or whatever to accommodate your lot size and reduce the necessity of LTL - unless it is coming from some distance away.  Good argument for a short supply chain.  Short or long, purchasing agents will not want to going to specialty transport as that raises the cost of doing business simply to obtain a seal on a shipment.  They tend to not understand why that is so important to product safety and quality.

 

Outbound LTL may be a bit more difficult, particularly if you are the first stop of many.  Slap a seal on and the trucker will only remove it a couple of miles down the road.  And do you know what is going to be shipped LTL with your precious cargo?  Allergens?  Chemicals?  Infested pallets?  Nightmares at each stop and yours was the first!  Best to avoid LTL outbound shipments altogether if possible to maintain the integrity of your product. 

 

When you come up with the perfect plan please share it with us because I know all us small to medium businesses struggle with this issue.

 

Oh yes, the outbound LTLs are a nightmare. We often have carriers coming in with random items on them (chemicals, allergens, things with strong odors), dirty floors on trailers, or trailers that look like they should have been put out of commission years ago. We reject those, but there is no way of knowing what they are going to put on them after they leave.

 

We have service agreements with our carriers to indicate what they can't put on their trailers with our products, but there really isn't any way of knowing what their next stops will be, and no way of knowing whether the truck will remain locked.

 

I don't think there will be a perfect plan for those. The best you can do is draw up an agreement and take pictures of your loads once on the trailer, and if a customer receives product on a trailer and they are unhappy with the other cargo on it or the condition of the product once it arrives, you can have a discussion with the carrier to tell them they failed to meet the service agreement.

 

QAGB



#10 BeanBags

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Posted 21 November 2016 - 08:19 PM

Hello all, I just joined this forum and am responding to this a bit late, but I have a few questions regarding this topic.  I understand the desire to seal all trailers (including LTL).  Perhaps sealing LTL trailers between stops is better than nothing, but there still seem to be a lot of security gaps.  

 

Here are the concerns I have with LTL seal programs and I am wondering if anyone has any solutions to these.  I don't want to put a lot of effort into creating a program that creates a lot of tracking responsibility and "looks" good but does not really close the security gaps.  Thanks for any input you can provide. 

  • The chain of custody is broken at every pick-up and delivery.
    • Multiple people have access to our product.
      • Forklift and pallet jack operators for other companies enter the trailers to remove their product.
      • The driver could go into an office or use a restroom leaving the trailer open while being unloaded, so there are times when the driver is not present when the trailer is open and others have access.
    • Often on LTLs, pallets are removed from the trailer onto the dock to access product further back on the trailer.
      • They are then returned to the trailer.
  • Drivers may break the seal without a witness and we are counting on multiple people in other companies to document this properly.
    • We would need to see every other company’s BOL signatures to see if they noted that the seal was broken when it arrived at their location.
      • Would the other companies and trucking companies be willing to share that information with us?
      • Would the driver show us a BOL if a previous drop noted the seal was broken?
        • How would we even know if they left one BOL out of the stack?
    • We would be relying on all those other companies to witness the resealing of the trailer and it is unlikely that they will all do so.
      • Some will just let the driver reseal it since their product is off the truck already and they won’t care what seal number is written down and if it matches the actual seal.

 

Thanks for your insights!
 
 


#11 SQFconsultant

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Posted 22 November 2016 - 05:00 AM

I was one of the first SQF Auditors in the US and have been an SQF Consultant for a number of years now.  I am just curious since you mention this is something that comes up at your SQF audit....  is your SQF Auditor citing a specific code # for this?

 

I ask, because there isn't one.   The only possible stumble on this item would be the requirement that door seals be proper, meaning the seal around the door, but not seals/locks.

 

With that being said, most LTL's that we see at client locations that are being run by major carriers and good owner operators do have locks on them, it's not just for your protection/product protection but also for their protection, it only takes 1 cargo door to pop open in transit at 70mph to understand the need for a lock.


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Glenn Oster
 
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#12 BeanBags

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Posted 05 December 2016 - 09:29 PM

 

Hello all, I just joined this forum and am responding to this a bit late, but I have a few questions regarding this topic.  I understand the desire to seal all trailers (including LTL).  Perhaps sealing LTL trailers between stops is better than nothing, but there still seem to be a lot of security gaps.  

 

Here are the concerns I have with LTL seal programs and I am wondering if anyone has any solutions to these.  I don't want to put a lot of effort into creating a program that creates a lot of tracking responsibility and "looks" good but does not really close the security gaps.  Thanks for any input you can provide. 

  • The chain of custody is broken at every pick-up and delivery.
    • Multiple people have access to our product.
      • Forklift and pallet jack operators for other companies enter the trailers to remove their product.
      • The driver could go into an office or use a restroom leaving the trailer open while being unloaded, so there are times when the driver is not present when the trailer is open and others have access.
    • Often on LTLs, pallets are removed from the trailer onto the dock to access product further back on the trailer.
      • They are then returned to the trailer.
  • Drivers may break the seal without a witness and we are counting on multiple people in other companies to document this properly.
    • We would need to see every other company’s BOL signatures to see if they noted that the seal was broken when it arrived at their location.
      • Would the other companies and trucking companies be willing to share that information with us?
      • Would the driver show us a BOL if a previous drop noted the seal was broken?
        • How would we even know if they left one BOL out of the stack?
    • We would be relying on all those other companies to witness the resealing of the trailer and it is unlikely that they will all do so.
      • Some will just let the driver reseal it since their product is off the truck already and they won’t care what seal number is written down and if it matches the actual seal.

 

Thanks for your insights!
 
 

 

It has been a couple weeks without any response, so I am hoping to bump this up and gain some insights from others.  I agree with locking LTLs between deliveries.  Again, it is not anything that guarantees the security of the load because you cannot possibly know what happened before it arrived at your door, but at least there should be an expectation to do so.  We have an internal meeting tomorrow to discuss expansion of the sealed trailer program, which currently is in place for inbound raw materials to include inbound finished goods.  I am fully supportive of this for direct shipments and full loads, but I cannot overcome the concerns above for LTLs in my mind.  Hoping someone can enlighten me to something I am missing that would actually provide the security that we are seeking, not just create the additional administrative work and the illusion of security.  Again... Thanks for any insights you are able to share!  



#13 QAGB

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Posted 06 December 2016 - 01:26 PM

 

Hello all, I just joined this forum and am responding to this a bit late, but I have a few questions regarding this topic.  I understand the desire to seal all trailers (including LTL).  Perhaps sealing LTL trailers between stops is better than nothing, but there still seem to be a lot of security gaps.  

 

Here are the concerns I have with LTL seal programs and I am wondering if anyone has any solutions to these.  I don't want to put a lot of effort into creating a program that creates a lot of tracking responsibility and "looks" good but does not really close the security gaps.  Thanks for any input you can provide. 

  • The chain of custody is broken at every pick-up and delivery.
    • Multiple people have access to our product.
      • Forklift and pallet jack operators for other companies enter the trailers to remove their product.
      • The driver could go into an office or use a restroom leaving the trailer open while being unloaded, so there are times when the driver is not present when the trailer is open and others have access.
    • Often on LTLs, pallets are removed from the trailer onto the dock to access product further back on the trailer.
      • They are then returned to the trailer.
  • Drivers may break the seal without a witness and we are counting on multiple people in other companies to document this properly.
    • We would need to see every other company’s BOL signatures to see if they noted that the seal was broken when it arrived at their location.
      • Would the other companies and trucking companies be willing to share that information with us?
      • Would the driver show us a BOL if a previous drop noted the seal was broken?
        • How would we even know if they left one BOL out of the stack?
    • We would be relying on all those other companies to witness the resealing of the trailer and it is unlikely that they will all do so.
      • Some will just let the driver reseal it since their product is off the truck already and they won’t care what seal number is written down and if it matches the actual seal.

 

Thanks for your insights!
 
 

 

 

 

Hi BeanBags,

 

I think many people are in the same situation as you; including my own company. We can't control what happens to our product once it's downstream. It can end up at multiple distribution sites, or pallets of products may be broken down into other pallets for shipment elsewhere; which means seals and locks are opened to do so.

 

It is definitely your duty to ensure that the products you bring in come from sealed vehicles; it is also your duty to verify those seals/locks at time of entry. In the same light, it is your duty to ensure that the products you ship also leave in sealed vehicles and that you have recorded the proper seals.

 

Once it's out of your control, the correct process is to continue to keep records of the seals. IF a seal has to be cut during the transport process, then it should be noted on the BOL (and the reason), and the new seal should be indicated on the paperwork.

 

I know this may not always be the case, but our suppliers usually are very good about seal compliance. However, we won't always know just exactly what happened during transport. It is always possible that just as you mentioned, they won't record the seal breakage, and just give you the BOL with the replacement seals.

 

Shipping is a somewhat loose end, so you are typically relying on the paperwork given to you. Perhaps some of the other members have better controls in place, and if they do, I'd like to know what they are too. 

 

QAGB



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#14 BeanBags

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Posted 06 December 2016 - 02:55 PM

Thank you QAGB,

 

  I appreciate the response.  Somehow we have to find a better way to lock this down.  In today's security climate, LTL is just too loose for consumables.  I realize that 98%+ of the carrier personnel and Cross Dock Personnel are trustworthy, reliable, and ethical as are 98%+ of the shipper and receiver warehouse personnel.  That remaining percentage can cause a lot of trouble though.  It only takes one bad actor to create a security problem ranging from theft/loss to tampering/death at the other extreme.  The probability may be low, but the risk is high.  It is serious business indeed.

 

So, let's think crazy for a minute.  I am going to forget cost for a moment and assume that it would be figured out later.  (I know, that is a pretty big assumption, but we'll never get anywhere if we shackle our creativity before we even get started.)  When you see the crews loading freight an airplane, you don't see them wheeling stretch-wrapped pallets onto the plan, you see containers designed to fit within the plane that actually conform to the curve of the fuselage.  It maximizes the space in the plane, but also creates self-contained, sub-compartments within the plane.

 

What if the LTL world was revolutionized to use "containers" that could be stacked and locked/sealed as individual shipments.  It would truly secure the shipment and break the dependency on anyone else along the distribution channel protecting anyone else's product. 

 

It would prevent accidental losses from product falling from one pallet onto another during transit or intentional losses (theft) from someone taking something off someone else's pallet while unloading.

 

It would prevent unknown tampering with product.  The product could not be reached without breaking the seal or leaving obvious damage to the container that would result in refusal of the product. 

 

It would provide a barrier from other items on the load that you may not want to interact (today, you don't know what else might be riding with your LTL shipment). 

 

The containers would allow the carrier to maximize the cubes of the trailer because you could stack them.  For example, two standard containers could be full trailer height (leaving room for loading and unloading, of course).  Half-containers could be available for smaller shipments.  A standard and two half size could equal the full height.

 

You could reduce dunnage because the containers would keep the pallets from tipping.  They could be made lightweight with modern materials.  Possibly even collapsible for storage.

 

The problem to overcome is return logistics for the containers but, again, let's not throw out the idea too quickly.  If this solves enough other problems, then some smart person will figure out a way to make that work. 

 

OK... That's my crazy thought for today.  What do you think?  Maybe this is not needed for all LTL shipments, but for consumables or other high value or high risk LTL shipments, it might be a way to actually provide a secure supply chain.  I'd love to hear others' thought on this.  Especially LTL carriers. 



#15 QAGB

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Posted 06 December 2016 - 03:40 PM

Thank you QAGB,

 

  I appreciate the response.  Somehow we have to find a better way to lock this down.  In today's security climate, LTL is just too loose for consumables.  I realize that 98%+ of the carrier personnel and Cross Dock Personnel are trustworthy, reliable, and ethical as are 98%+ of the shipper and receiver warehouse personnel.  That remaining percentage can cause a lot of trouble though.  It only takes one bad actor to create a security problem ranging from theft/loss to tampering/death at the other extreme.  The probability may be low, but the risk is high.  It is serious business indeed.

 

So, let's think crazy for a minute.  I am going to forget cost for a moment and assume that it would be figured out later.  (I know, that is a pretty big assumption, but we'll never get anywhere if we shackle our creativity before we even get started.)  When you see the crews loading freight an airplane, you don't see them wheeling stretch-wrapped pallets onto the plan, you see containers designed to fit within the plane that actually conform to the curve of the fuselage.  It maximizes the space in the plane, but also creates self-contained, sub-compartments within the plane.

 

What if the LTL world was revolutionized to use "containers" that could be stacked and locked/sealed as individual shipments.  It would truly secure the shipment and break the dependency on anyone else along the distribution channel protecting anyone else's product. 

 

It would prevent accidental losses from product falling from one pallet onto another during transit or intentional losses (theft) from someone taking something off someone else's pallet while unloading.

 

It would prevent unknown tampering with product.  The product could not be reached without breaking the seal or leaving obvious damage to the container that would result in refusal of the product. 

 

It would provide a barrier from other items on the load that you may not want to interact (today, you don't know what else might be riding with your LTL shipment). 

 

The containers would allow the carrier to maximize the cubes of the trailer because you could stack them.  For example, two standard containers could be full trailer height (leaving room for loading and unloading, of course).  Half-containers could be available for smaller shipments.  A standard and two half size could equal the full height.

 

You could reduce dunnage because the containers would keep the pallets from tipping.  They could be made lightweight with modern materials.  Possibly even collapsible for storage.

 

The problem to overcome is return logistics for the containers but, again, let's not throw out the idea too quickly.  If this solves enough other problems, then some smart person will figure out a way to make that work. 

 

OK... That's my crazy thought for today.  What do you think?  Maybe this is not needed for all LTL shipments, but for consumables or other high value or high risk LTL shipments, it might be a way to actually provide a secure supply chain.  I'd love to hear others' thought on this.  Especially LTL carriers. 

 

 

BeanBags,

 

I could see that being a feasible option in some cases. However, as an example I brought up, we ship a lot of product through distribution channels. Say we did use this sort of cube stacking process to ship to the distributor. They would still have to disassemble it if they have to break it down further.

 

What I mean is, say we send a skid of 36 pails of X and a skid of 36 pails of Y to the distributor. They get an order for 12 pails of X and 24 pails of Y, so they disassemble our skids to make a skid of this order to go elsewhere. The container stacking wouldn't really solve this problem unless the distributor reassembles into a separate cube and actually records this information (again relying on the outside source).

 

Also, what about the UPS carriers and FedEx carriers of the world? We do a lot of online orders, and these go through those two carriers. They have their own shipping policies. I tried to streamline and send a general food safety contract for LTLs to them. One wouldn't sign, and with the other, I got back this redlined document that pretty much changed ALL of our food safety policies to the point that there was no use.

 

You are absolutely right that we do need to lock down shipping as well, and it doesn't take much to end up with a huge problem. I'm just not sure if there's a "one size fits all" solution for it, unless we start seeing food safety certification standards geared towards carriers.

 

QAGB



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#16 Scampi

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Posted 06 December 2016 - 04:04 PM

So up here in the north, they feds ARE cracking down on carriers, who if they want to ship food stuffs, will have to be certified by a HACCP body of some description. We ship only LTL, and no, sealing the trailer is not feasible. your program may as well be written on wrapping paper because it sin't going to amount to a thing AS SOON AS YOUR PRODUCT LEAVES. As soon as you involve a third party, you have to trust that you are using a credible one. I understand the importance and pressure on food fraud, but the program also has to be something that provides sound judgement and can be implemented. We have a letter of guarantee from our carrier (who is federally registered and running under a HACCP plan) that there will not be any temperature abuse etc. 

Having said all of that, we do not ship anything less than a full skid to customers. We sell ONLY to wholesalers and how our product is handled at that point is their responsibility. I thought the FSMA had some changes coming regarding carriers?!

 

One other thing to note regarding 3rd party carriers, our has told us as they allergen cross contamination becomes a larger issue, the rates for LTL are going to skyrocket


Because we always have is never an appropriate response!


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#17 QAGB

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Posted 06 December 2016 - 04:27 PM

So up here in the north, they feds ARE cracking down on carriers, who if they want to ship food stuffs, will have to be certified by a HACCP body of some description. We ship only LTL, and no, sealing the trailer is not feasible. your program may as well be written on wrapping paper because it sin't going to amount to a thing AS SOON AS YOUR PRODUCT LEAVES. As soon as you involve a third party, you have to trust that you are using a credible one. I understand the importance and pressure on food fraud, but the program also has to be something that provides sound judgement and can be implemented. We have a letter of guarantee from our carrier (who is federally registered and running under a HACCP plan) that there will not be any temperature abuse etc. 

Having said all of that, we do not ship anything less than a full skid to customers. We sell ONLY to wholesalers and how our product is handled at that point is their responsibility. I thought the FSMA had some changes coming regarding carriers?!

 

One other thing to note regarding 3rd party carriers, our has told us as they allergen cross contamination becomes a larger issue, the rates for LTL are going to skyrocket

 

Hi Scampi,

 

That's very interesting, and I'm really glad to hear that somewhere the focus has started to turn towards shipping. 

 

I totally understand the LTL issue. It's basically out of our control once it leaves, regardless of whether we lock or seal it. If more regulations here were geared towards making carriers at least HACCP certified, they would have the basic understanding of what can and cannot be done. 

 

However, we have carriers come in here to pick up food after carrying mulch & fertilizer or arriving with a trailer with holes so bad I can see straight through the floor; which tells me that they have absolutely no idea of what our expectations are. Certifications are probably the right track to at least have everyone feel more comfortable with what happens to product once it leaves.

 

As stated earlier, we have service contracts we provide to our carriers. Policies can be drawn up to have both parties agree to expectations, but you can only go by what the documents state. If someone drops off some product and cuts the seal but doesn't record all activities, you're basically at their mercy.

 

As for your secondary handling by wholesalers, I wish we could have our distributors assume responsibility. We have a number of products that change hands at different points during shipment, and items get damaged in shipment; yet it feels like we assume a lot of the liability and man hours to fix these issues rather than have the focus placed where it needs to be.

 

I feel like FSMA is a step up in some instances, but I don't see that the changes regarding carriers are yet improve the situation. Only time will tell. We're definitely FSMA ready when it comes to transport, and we still share the same issues as most everyone when it comes to LTLs.

 

QAGB



#18 BeanBags

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Posted 06 December 2016 - 04:41 PM

BeanBags,

 

I could see that being a feasible option in some cases. However, as an example I brought up, we ship a lot of product through distribution channels. Say we did use this sort of cube stacking process to ship to the distributor. They would still have to disassemble it if they have to break it down further.

 

What I mean is, say we send a skid of 36 pails of X and a skid of 36 pails of Y to the distributor. They get an order for 12 pails of X and 24 pails of Y, so they disassemble our skids to make a skid of this order to go elsewhere. The container stacking wouldn't really solve this problem unless the distributor reassembles into a separate cube and actually records this information (again relying on the outside source).

 

Also, what about the UPS carriers and FedEx carriers of the world? We do a lot of online orders, and these go through those two carriers. They have their own shipping policies. I tried to streamline and send a general food safety contract for LTLs to them. One wouldn't sign, and with the other, I got back this redlined document that pretty much changed ALL of our food safety policies to the point that there was no use.

 

You are absolutely right that we do need to lock down shipping as well, and it doesn't take much to end up with a huge problem. I'm just not sure if there's a "one size fits all" solution for it, unless we start seeing food safety certification standards geared towards carriers.

 

QAGB

Excellent points!  First, you are correct about the Distributors, but I think that the difference there is that the Distributor actually takes possession of the product in the middle.  So you would have a sealed delivery and receipt then "possession" of the inventory passes to the distributor, then it would be their responsibility to ship/seal to their customers.  I think the responsibility is going to have to pass with each receipt.  

 

I had not thought about the Parcel shippers at all!  Argh...  You are right, there is no way this would work for them and one size will not fit all.  That would have to be a completely different process.  I can imagine the response you got to your food safety contract.  You get big kudos for trying, though!  On their side, I understand that they could not possibly manage to hundreds of thousands of customers' different programs, but it also speaks to a need for some kind of industry panel to start developing a standard collaboratively with them.  Again, great input.  You are giving me more to think about. Thanks!



#19 BeanBags

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Posted 06 December 2016 - 05:00 PM

So up here in the north, they feds ARE cracking down on carriers, who if they want to ship food stuffs, will have to be certified by a HACCP body of some description. We ship only LTL, and no, sealing the trailer is not feasible. your program may as well be written on wrapping paper because it sin't going to amount to a thing AS SOON AS YOUR PRODUCT LEAVES. As soon as you involve a third party, you have to trust that you are using a credible one. I understand the importance and pressure on food fraud, but the program also has to be something that provides sound judgement and can be implemented. We have a letter of guarantee from our carrier (who is federally registered and running under a HACCP plan) that there will not be any temperature abuse etc. 

Having said all of that, we do not ship anything less than a full skid to customers. We sell ONLY to wholesalers and how our product is handled at that point is their responsibility. I thought the FSMA had some changes coming regarding carriers?!

 

One other thing to note regarding 3rd party carriers, our has told us as they allergen cross contamination becomes a larger issue, the rates for LTL are going to skyrocket

Thanks for the reply Scampi!  Interesting input!  FSMA is going to create some awareness through the required training and record keeping.  I think most carriers really do want to be compliant, as do most shippers.  Unfortunately, not "everyone" will follow their HACCP plans.  The required, documented training, HACCP plans and the letters of guarantee from business partners provide some legal recourse, which is better than nothing, but when there is an incident, it is the name on the package that is splashed across the news, not the carrier's name.  

 

Regardless of the legal recourse, your company's reputation could be irreparably damaged by an incident.  I know that I am preaching to the choir on that point.  I'm just agreeing with you that we can put those types of protections in place, but in the end we are still responsible to our customers and the current processes fall short of the level of control we really need.  I wish I had the answers.  Maybe these conversations will lead to something good.  Thanks for participating!

 

The allergen comment was really interesting.  I had not heard that from any carrier yet.  All of these additional requirements are going to come at a cost.  We are already at a time when the trucking industry is struggling to attract drivers and having to offer higher pay, deal with more and more DOT regulations.  More Security, Food Safety, and other regulatory requirements are going to make it more difficult to find people who are willing and able to enter the profession.  Costs will definitely rise and competition for the available transportation is going to get fierce.  We better be offering more than just rate per mile/pound because everyone is going to offer that.  

 

Thanks again!



#20 RMAV

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Posted 06 December 2016 - 09:13 PM

Forgive me if I missed it and just repeating what was said before.  As QAGB correctly points out, it is or should be part of the Food Defense program.  It is true there are more hands in an LTL even if there is a lock applied at every stop.  At least at those stops one can surmise that those facilities have GMP program, Food Defense, etc. 

 

There is no Food Defense program at the rest stop, or the truck stop when the driver is out of hours and must take a legal rest period.  That is where your lock provides some measure of security.



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#21 BeanBags

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Posted 14 December 2016 - 01:01 PM

Forgive me if I missed it and just repeating what was said before.  As QAGB correctly points out, it is or should be part of the Food Defense program.  It is true there are more hands in an LTL even if there is a lock applied at every stop.  At least at those stops one can surmise that those facilities have GMP program, Food Defense, etc. 

 

There is no Food Defense program at the rest stop, or the truck stop when the driver is out of hours and must take a legal rest period.  That is where your lock provides some measure of security.

Hello RMAV, I think everyone will agree that locks should be required at all times.  That really should be required on every truck at all times.  My concern is more about "seals" and the policies regarding the tracking of seal numbers and, more importantly, what to do if the seal is broken.  With LTL, I do not think there is a practical way to implement this yet for the reasons stated above.  (And parcel shippers like FedEx and UPS are even harder to secure in that manner.)  Insisting on locks as an industry norm should certainly be "step 1", though.  Where I used to work, we had route trucks with 12 doors and the route drivers felt that it was impractical to lock the doors between stops.  With time studies we were able to prove that it really was not impractical, but psychologically it was a huge barrier, so we developed proximity locks.  The driver wore a device on their belt and when they approached the truck it automatically unlocked all 12 doors.  When they walked away it automatically locked them all again.  There are ways to do it if we want it badly enough.



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#22 RMAV

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Posted 14 December 2016 - 07:35 PM

"The driver wore a device on their belt and when they approached the truck it automatically unlocked all 12 doors.  When they walked away it automatically locked them all again."

 

Interesting!  Never heard of it, but that's neat.






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