- Food Logistics
- Manufacturing Support Services
Jim Gadziemski, vice president of warehouse operations, was interviewed by Trucks.com regarding futuristic technology in the logistics industry, including driverless trucks and automated loading docks. The author, like many industry experts, believes there is a long way to go in driverless technology, and drivers will never be obsolete.
“…Rather their duties will change as the industry works out man-machine partnerships,” says the author, Erik Sherman.
Beyond robots behind the wheel, new technology in the warehouse has also made conversation. Trucks.com reached out to Gadziesmki for an expert’s opinion on the automatic truck loading systems (ATLS).
The author argues that automation requires predictable loads, which is uncommon in the warehousing business. Similar items can cause confusion on the dock as well.
“I was supposed to get some kind of organic product and they sent me regular product,” said Jim Gadziemski, vice president of warehouse operations at Grand Rapids, Mich.-based logistics and warehousing firm Columbian Logistics Network. “How can a conveyor system notice that?”
In addition to those problems, deliveries won’t be easy either.
Many destinations require the truck driver to unload, Gadziemski said. “He has to have a pallet jack, [a fork lift like tool used to lift and move within a warehouse].”
Just because the truck leaves the loading dock, does not mean that the problems will stop.
“What happens when there’s a mechanical issue?” Gadziemski said. “An air line breaks or a trailer is dirty with some kind of contaminate and you have to reject it. How would [automation] handle those things?”
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The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) rule on Sanitary Transportation of Human and Animal Food is now final. This rule is in place to advance the FDA’s efforts to protect foods from farm to table by making sure the food is safe during transportation. The rule institutes sanitary requirements for shippers, loaders, carriers by motor or rail vehicle, and receivers included in transporting human and animal food. The FSMA rule authenticates requirements for vehicles and transportation equipment, transportation operations, records, training, and waivers.
Since 2013, seven rules have been proposed regarding a modern, risk-based framework for food safety. This rule is intended to prevent practices during transportation that create food safety risks. There have been concerns about the need for new regulations to ensure that food is being transported in a safe manner since 2005 when there was an outbreak of illness due to human and animal food contamination. Some of these risks could be the failure to properly refrigerate food, inadequate cleaning of vehicles in between loads, and failure to properly protect food.
Who is covered?
The Sanitary Food Transportation Act (SFTA) allows the agency to waive the requirements of this FSMA rule if it determines that the waiver will not result in the transportation of food under conditions that would be unsafe for human or animal health, or contrary to the public interest (FDA, 2017).
According to the FDA website, the FDA has published three waivers for businesses whose transportation operations are subject to Federal-State or local controls. They include:
Recognizing that businesses, especially small businesses may need more time to comply with the requirements, the compliance dates are adjusted accordingly.
Exempt from the Rule
At Columbian, safety is our number one value. That being said, it is our highest priority to make sure that not only our employees are safe, but our customers and their products are safe as well. We specialize in food safety at Columbian and want to make sure that we are doing everything in our power to perform at the safest level.
At the warehouse level, Columbian’s role in the Sanitary Transportation Act is a small piece of the process, but vital to ensure that the food safety supply line is safe and suitable for further food processing at the manufacturing plants and distribution centers for finished products. Columbian does not transport bulk/open food. Temperature control in trailers is typically not an issue due to Columbian’s average length of haul.
Columbian’s primary role in the Sanitary Transportation Rule is to identify potential food safety risk at the point of receipt and in our trailer inspection processes. This is done by obtaining regulatory standards, and customer requirements relating to refrigeration loads in the warehouse process product flow. At this point, we know that we need clean trailers that are suitable for receiving and shipping of food grade materials from customer suppliers and to our customer designation sources.
Trailers that come into Columbian facilities must abide by our clean trailer rules. This process has been developed by Columbian’s food safety experts to ensure that trailers are clean before coming in contact with our facilities. Drivers are notified that their trailer will be rejected if it has any of the following:
A refrigerated trailer (sometimes referred to as a reefer), on the other hand, is a different process because it involves handling sensitive perishable goods that require controlled temperatures. Refrigerated transportation is usually driven by our customer requirements, which coincide with national and international standards. Once we have this information, we do the following:
Columbian always considers new rules and laws when creating new safety procedures. Columbian continues to strive for the safest environment for employees, customers, and product.
Please join us in welcoming our new Transportation Operations Managers, Jake Heyblom and Tyler Wheeler. They will be co-managing the short haul business in an effort to strengthen the business. Welcome to the team! We are excited to have you on board.
Tyler graduated from Eastern Michigan University in 2010 and lives in Holland, Michigan now. Tyler has 5 years experience with sourcing, assigning, and executing transportation moves nationwide. Tyler previously worked at Art Mulder & Sons Trucking as their Customer Service Representative and Operations Manager. Prior to that position, he was in charge of scheduling and planning there. During his free time, Tyler enjoys to play golf or disc golf. He also enjoys traveling through Michigan and cookouts with friends.
Jake graduated from Eastern Michigan University in 2012 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Finance. Jake has over three years experience as an Operations Supervisor. He previously worked at Republic Services in Pierson, Michigan. Prior to his position as Operations Supervisor, he had the roles of Industrial Dispatch and Division Accountant. During his free time, Jake enjoys racing cars as a hobby.