Streamlining Distribution: Tips for Efficient Logistics in the Frozen Food Supply Chain

Frozen Food Supply Chain

Streamlining Distribution: Tips for Efficient Logistics in the Frozen Food Supply Chain

Ingredient and transportation prices can increase. A conflict, drought, or plight can decrease the amount of ingredients available. Shipping delays can cause ingredient and product waste. Each of these challenges is a real obstacle that the supply chain faces, leaving food manufacturers scrambling for a solution to save resources and value. Frozen food manufacturers struggle with these issues– unless they employ the latest advances in food industry technology.

The supply chain exists in a delicate balance– one delay or event anywhere can disrupt many steps down the line. That’s why it’s critical to streamline operations and resource use as food manufacturers in order to prepare for such challenges. Here, we’ll offer some tips for optimizing logistics for frozen meal manufacturers and how to use the latest in food industry technology to strategize operations. From integrated cold chain logistics to logistics best practices, we’ll discuss what they mean and how to prepare as a food manufacturer, as well as what solutions are available at Quantum to overcome common supply chain issues.


Integrated Cold Chain Logistics 

Integrated cold chain logistics involves controlling the temperature for food products being distributed throughout the supply chain. For frozen food, maintaining the correct temperature throughout freezing, transportation, and the shelf life is absolutely vital so the products don’t expire. Integrated cold chain logistics require cooperation between the frozen meal manufacturers, distributors, and the end store so that the meal products remain intact. 

As the manufacturer, your company can only do so much in integrated cold chain logistics, because maintaining temperatures largely falls under the distributor and end store’s responsibility. However, there are important steps that your brand can take in integrated cold chain logistics to ensure correct temperatures for as long as you have the meal products. Next, we’ll explore cold chain logistics best practices and how your company can implement food industry technology to maintain the right temperatures. 


Cold Chain Logistics Best Practices

Maintaining the correct temperatures for frozen food is critical for preventing microbes from growing. 0°F will halt microbe growth, but if the temperatures were to rise, they could begin to grow, risking food safety. Maintaining consistently freezing temperatures helps to ensure food safety for your customers. As a manufacturer, having the proper storage for your products before distribution can facilitate this. In addition to temperature control, here are some other cold chain logistics best practices:


Check Shipment Compatibility

Before your products are made, it’s wise to check that your frozen meals can all be stored at the same temperature and can travel together. Shipping products together can save capital. It can also conserve resources and effort, streamlining operations. This also makes distribution easier for the shipping team and reduces environmental impact, since concise shipping simplifies distribution logistics.


Maintain and Clean Food Equipment

While machinery maintenance doesn’t play a direct role in supply chain logistics, it does overall. Not cleaning the equipment as needed can allow microbes to grow and contaminate your products. Even if your company, distributor, and end store maintain freezing temperatures, this contamination can still pose a health hazard to customers once the products are thawed. Instead of wasting ingredients, resources, and effort on assembling meals with dirty equipment, be sure to clean and maintain your automated food equipment as needed to prevent this issue. Contaminated food can lead to major recalls and disruptions in the supply chain. At Quantum, we offer washdown-compatible designs to facilitate simple and quick cleaning to minimize this risk.


Use Equipment that Works for You

Your automated food equipment should also work to build strong products that can survive freezing, transportation, and shelf life. At Quantum, we offer both cardboard circle placers and water spray conveyors that prepare food products beyond the manufacturing process. This food industry technology is important for maintaining the integrity of the meals so that they’re consumer-ready, even after freezing, transportation, and shelf life. 

Checking shipment compatibility, regularly cleaning equipment, and employing the right equipment can streamline operations and shipping logistics. Next, we’ll focus on efficient production line equipment that facilitates supply chain logistics.


Efficient Production Line Equipment

Employing the right production line equipment can improve the quality of your frozen meals and simplify distribution logistics. We’ve briefly mentioned our automated cardboard circle placers and water spray conveyors, so let’s explore why both types of equipment can benefit supply chain logistics.


Quantum Cardboard Circle Placers

Our Cardboard Circle Placers are critical production line equipment because they apply cardboard to form a sturdy base for frozen meals. This food industry technology from Quantum can apply round, square, and rectangular pieces of corrugated cardboard of various sizes to conveyors. Not only does the cardboard help maintain product orientation throughout the assembly process, but it also protects the meal products during freezing, transportation, and shelf life. Using cardboard bases minimizes product waste and makes packing the products easier.


Quantum Water Spray Conveyors

Our QTWS Polycord Water Spray Conveyor applies a light mist of water over assembled meals before freezing. This light mist protects the meals during freezing, allowing the product to better maintain its integrity after manufacturing. It also helps the product during baking when the customer prepares it. Incorporating a water spray conveyor simplifies shipping logistics because it allows for uniform freezing, which helps to maintain the quality of the product during shipping. Like our Cardboard Circle Placers, our Water Spray Conveyors streamline packaging and shipping, conserving resources and costs in the process.  


Maximize Productivity and Efficiency With Quantum

Quantum Technical Services understands that productivity and efficiency are key to outpacing the competition in the frozen food industry. Our experts have designed our automated food equipment to streamline production without sacrificing quality and consistency. In a complicated supply chain that’s subject to change, frozen food labels should employ equipment that they can rely on to overcome unforeseen challenges. Give us a call today to learn how you can prepare your assembly line for the future of the supply chain.