5 Things to Look for When Outsourcing Food & Beverage Distribution

Outsourcing distribution can provide numerous benefits for food and beverage companies – increasing efficiency, reducing costs, improving service . . . However, not all 3PLs are equipped to handle the unique requirements of food and beverage products.

Here are five characteristics to keep in mind when looking for a food-and-beverage 3PL:

1. Food-grade facilities – Naturally, you need a provider who is equipped to handle your particular product. An experienced food/beverage provider will offer food-grade facilities, temperature-controlled operations, an A.I.B. “superior” sanitation rating, etc.

2. Range of services – Using a single provider who offers a variety of services – warehousing, packaging, transportation, and fulfillment – allows you to streamline your supply chain and frees you to focus on your core competency.

3. Customization – Delaying product configuration until the last possible minute can enable you to be more responsive to consumer demand. Look for product reconfiguration and customization services like shrink-wrapping, rainbow-pack assembly, and display building.

4. Nationwide network – Strategically located distribution centers allow you to put inventory close to customers, reduce transportation costs and improve customer service. Seek out a provider with a network of facilities to choose from – and the ability to establish new operations if necessary.

5. Scalability – The only thing certain is change. Make sure your provider has the resources (space, labor, equipment, technology) to accommodate the peaks and valleys of your business as well as seasonal fluctuations. Most importantly, are they ready to grow with you?

At Saddle Creek we’ve been handling food and beverage products for 50 years. We understand the unique challenges of this marketplace and have the resources and expertise to tackle them.

To see how we’re helping leading food and beverage companies today, check out our case studies.


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At Saddle Creek, we help customers across the country increase supply chain efficiency, streamline their businesses, and manage operational costs. Find out how our integrated solutions can be tailored to meet your specific business goals and give you a competitive edge.