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PLM Brings a Fresh Approach to Fleet Management in the Food Services Business

| December 13, 2017


With margins extremely tight in the food services business, the right decisions, equipment, people and partners can make all the difference.

Consider what happens when you see frost on food cartons, soggy cardboard boxes and liquids of unknown origins puddling on floors. In the chilled-food delivery business, you never want to see that in your warehouse or trailer—neither does a customer visiting a local grocer or favorite restaurant.Spotting existing and potential problems like these—and finding fixes for them—falls on the PLM Customer Solutions Team, the Newark, NJ-based provider of fleet consulting and management services that also ranks as the largest lessor of refrigerated and frozen food trailers in the U.S. with over 9,000 units.

Simply put, the PLM team investigates a company operation and reports. They won’t fine you, cuff you or put you in jail, but they can prevent that from happening—and save your company serious time and money in the process.

The Food Safety Modernization Act—a Game Changer

Of course, saving time and money is important for food producers, shippers, distributors and retailers that operate on slim margins. What’s equally important is remaining compliant with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).

Signed into law in 2011, FSMA ushered in the most significant changes to U.S. regulations on food production, handling and safety in nearly eight decades. For refrigerated food transportation and, in particular, food handling, FSMA specifies new risk and hazard analysis, record-keeping, procedures, and technology to ensure compliance with FSMA’s regulations.

Some startling statistics were influential in driving FSMA and the resulting food safety regulations. Annually in the U.S., some 48 million people are sickened due to tainted food—roughly one in six Americans—while another 128,000 are hospitalized and 3,000 die from food-borne illnesses, like salmonella, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Causes include improper processing and cross-contamination, as well as refrigeration.

“A game changer,” says Andy Bailey of KeHE Distributors, when describing the impact of FSMA. Bailey, the company’s director of transportation, based in Dallas, Texas, says PLM’s ColdLink telematics system, which enables control, monitoring and documentation of trailer temperatures throughout deliveries, is key to FSMA compliance.

When it comes to compliance, “PLM has truly been a great partner in helping us put together a FSMA program,” he says. “They’ve assisted by providing information, data, and record-keeping information so that we can stay ahead of the game and remain compliant.”

PLM takes its role as a partner seriously and is committed to helping customers manage regulatory changes such as those associated with FSMA.

Aside from the signing of FSMA into federal law, another turning point occurred in 2011, when Keith Shipp took over as president and CEO of PLM. Some of Shipp’s significant contributions include the implementation of a strategy focusing on customer needs and leveraging PLM’s core strengths, as well as improving communication throughout the company. He has worked to develop, motivate and retain staff while simultaneously giving them more input in the creation of new products and processes to better serve the customer.

Investing in new state of the art systems and software solutions to digitize processes to save customer time and identify fleet operating savings, is one example. In addition, Shipp carefully analyzed the expertise inherent at PLM and the requirements of its customers, ultimately identifying eight core areas to focus on in order to help customers increase efficiency and cut costs while also bolstering the bottom line.

These solutions, are all part of Shipp’s long-term strategy for PLM, include fleet planning, application & design, maintenance, reports & analysis, safety & compliance, rental, disposition and financial policy.



Category: Featured, General Update, News

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