Transportation & Logistics for Food Service Equipment CompaniesWritten by Neal Willis
The food service equipment industry is quite unique. There are numerous facets to opening and/or remodeling a restaurant and those who are unfamiliar with the industry may find it challenging to understand. Manufacturers, dealers and distributors sometimes use AutoQuotes, which is a project design software created specifically for the industry to help with the design and bidding process of food service equipment projects. As a dealer or distributor, it can sometimes be months, or even years, between the time a bid is submitted and when the job is ultimately awarded to the bidding company. Like nearly everything else, this means that prices can change during that time period.
Transportation and logistics services are crucial to getting projects done on time and completed within the calculated budget. Installation crews are often scheduled to arrive at the same time as the equipment, and the crews’ ability to install the equipment is dependent upon the transportation and logistics services being performed on time as planned. It can quickly become rather costly to have workers standing by with nothing to do because the equipment didn’t arrive on time and/or it arrived damaged and isn’t able to be installed.
Considering the construction involved with building and renovating restaurants, there are certain requirements for transportation and logistics services within the food service equipment industry that aren’t always present in other industries. In the eyes of motor carriers, many restaurants don’t qualify as being commercial delivery sites. Most restaurants don’t have a dock for accepting deliveries, nor do they have heavy equipment such as a forklift or pallet jack available to help with offloading heavy shipments. Food service equipment is often delivered for installation while construction or remodeling is taking place, which means the delivery qualifies it as being a limited access or construction site making it subject to an accessorial fee. On top of that, in many instances, the workers at the job site are unaware of the scheduled deliveries and, all too often, damaged freight is signed for free and clear because they are unfamiliar with transportation and logistics services and how to properly receive freight and inspect a shipment for damage.
Many food service equipment companies are known for their expertise in certain niche markets, such as the hospitality industry where certain transportation and logistics services like inside delivery and calling ahead for an appointment before delivery is required. In the same manner, 3PLs often operate better in certain niche markets where they are able to provide industry specific transportation and logistics services throughout the supply chain to create value for their customers. Being able to accommodate specific customer needs and meet their requirements is a must for both the food service equipment company and the 3PL, if they wish to be successful. Transportation and logistics services have become increasingly important to companies of all sizes, not just food service equipment companies, and choosing the right partner for providing transportation and logistics services can play a pivotal role in a company’s success.