Industry falling short on cold-storage supply chain standards

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Cold-storage warehouse operators must bring standards up-to-date or risk being pushed aside, says Keystone Europe Vice President, Patrice Botton.

Botton, who heads McDonalds preferred logistics partner in mainland Europe, issued the warning as he presented a keynote speech at the 12th European Cold Chain Logistics Education Program in Amsterdam.

He said that Europes third party cold-storage warehouse operators risked falling behind the demands of todays foodservice operators if they do not pay sufficient attention to the constantly evolving demand for higher standards in a todays competitive world.

Foodservice customers are demanding the highest standards in food quality, safety, visibility and traceability and we need warehouse partners that can service those needs, said Botton after the symposium organised by the International Association of Refrigerated Warehouses (IARW). I would guess that about 35% of all third party cold-storage warehouses in Western Europe struggle to meet the required standards.

Leading foodservice operators, such as McDonalds, have led the drive for ever-increasing standards and now warehouse operators must take action to catch up with the market.

Customers no longer want to worry about the supply chain and rely more heavily on their distribution partners to provide the right product at the right time at the highest possible standard. To keep up with market demands and cope with the increasing number of sophisticated products, shorter shelf life and regulatory demands on traceability, third party operators will have to update facilities, IT systems and responsiveness.

New systems and maintenance are costly, but operators who want to stay in the market must make the necessary investments, said Botton. No one can afford to make a mistake in the food supply chain failure to comply with quality standards comes at a far greater cost than the investment in system and procedure.

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