In keeping with our Reefer theme we spoke to Yearsley Logistics to find out what goes into controlling a refrigerated supply chain. Here’s what they had to say…

I guess the first question is: why choose frozen logistics and not something easier to manage?

Having started out in 1955 wholesaling fresh fruit and vegetables from a site in Rochdale, Greater Manchester, the company naturally evolved with the moving times of food supply and storage.

As frozen food was proving more and more popular there was a need for a wholesale outlet and public cold storage.  Yearsley Logistics has added Global and Ambient divisions to make sure they can offer the complete supply chain solution.

What are the key challenges to delivering logistics solutions for cold chain?

A major challenge is one size definitely does not fit all.  We believe the super hub concept, comprising of a small number of strategically located, large, scalable, and partly automated sites is the correct way forward. We are a true 3rd party operator and cannot exclude parts of the market by being 100% automated or focused on a single site strategy.

Global logistics presents various challenges including solutions design or modal disruption.  We have the ability to construct multi-modal solutions bespoke to each and every customer, no matter where we are transporting to or how quickly the goods need to arrive.  Obstacles such as modal disruption are simply overcome through operating our own asset fleet thus giving us the ability to quickly react to any shift in transit.

What goes in to constructing a temperature controlled warehouse?

Everything works around the efficient movement of goods into, through and out of the warehouses. The difference in temperature controlled facilitates is the cold and ensuring the technology you employ can withstand the harsh environments. We’ve situated our consolidation centres close to major motorways and ports. It’s an ideal way of consolidating stock for all major retailers and foodservice customers, thus reducing food miles and the carbon output of vehicles.

What sorts of vehicles do you have in your fleet? How do they add to efficiency?

We have a wide range of vehicles in our fleet. Mainly we have 26 pallet articulated vehicles but we also operate double- deck trailers, rigid vehicles right down to small ‘sample’ vans.  We undertake deliveries into retail RDCs, wholesale RDCs, high street freezer centres, schools, restaurants and institutions. All 300 vehicles in our fleet are either euro 5 or 6 specification improving fuel efficiency and reducing CO2 emissions per mile travelled by 70% and NOx emissions by 63%.

Tell me about your superhubs.

Several years ago we saw the way the frozen industry was moving to shorter lead times. Our vision and strategy was to embrace this by investing in building Super hubs and implementing new processes. We now have total capacity of over 360,000 pallet spaces.

What processes do you have in place to make sure goods are dispatched and arrive on time?

Through our global network of locations we are able to track our customer’s consignments through every single step of the logistics chain. From the point of booking through to mode selection, loading, transportation, landing and delivery, every single consignment is tracked globally. Throughout the consignments journey our central team in Heywood are able to manage each phase through our bespoke online information systems, NetStock, direct port and customs links and the use of our own assets, such as fleet and cold stores.

Any new technology that you can see changing the market?

Our bespoke online information system, Netstock, is integrated into all areas of the business, making our entire operation transparent, 24/7 and 365 days a year.  Our customers can interface with and manage their own stock from their PC in real time whenever they need to.  They can see stock, check POSs, track transits, analyse information as well as compile their in-depth reports.

To follow on from our bespoke online information system, NetStock, Yearsley Logistics are demonstrating continued investment in technology with the introduction of YGpod, a new driver app.

YGPod has been developed by Yearsley Logistics in house IT team.  Each driver has their own personalised unit where they record when they arrive at a delivery point and record all details relating to that drop in real time.  It provides faster, more accurate proof of delivery to customers that will in turn improves customer service and streamlines operations.