Out-of-the-Box Cold Storage Warehouse Management Functionality
Feature-Rich with Functionality Designed for Cold Storage Warehouse Operations
- Functionality specifically designed for temperature-controlled environments
- Quality Assurance/Quality Control (QA/QC)
- Catch weights/variable weights
- Embedded labor management features
- Dock door appointment scheduling
- Unlimited attributes using user defined fields to define inventory and procedure characteristics
- International Association of Refrigerated Warehouse (IARW) reports included
- Facilitates Kitting and Assembly
Functionality Specifically for Temperature-Controlled Environments
- Temperature capture
- Ability to restrict inventory to specific temperature zones
- Ability to allow inventory to be stored in either a primary or secondary temperature zone
Variable Weights and Measurements
- Catch/variable weight
- Can use variable units of measure
Quality Control/Quality Assurance of Perishable Goods
- Multiple simultaneous holds
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EDI Ready Warehouse Management System
- Seamless flow of information via EDI
- Rapid access to vital supply chain operational data for process execution
- Scalable solution enables warehouse operators to quickly pivot and accept new clients
- Facilitates required data and label creation through WMS
- Helps ensure order placement and management in procure-to-pay cycle
- Facilitates communication of accurate order data to customers in order-to-cash cycle
- Handles high volume, seasonal spike or any order volume
- Streamlined onboarding of new trading partners
- ASN Ready
- Datex EDI professional services available
Omnichannel-Ready Cold Storage WMS Facilitates D2C E-Commerce Fulfillment and Supports:
- Categorization for products favored by consumers:
- Specialized food products such as organic, non-GMO, GMO, local, etc.
- Specialized handling, storage, tracking and last-mile delivery
- Enables diverse product selection
- Meal and product subscription box offerings
- Wide variety of shopping carts and e-commerce options
- Variety of consumer-friendly options for buying and receiving goods
- In-store or curbside pickup
- Kiosk pick up
- Home delivery
- Online shopping and e-commerce
Inventory Management of Perishable Goods
- Maintains detailed history of every material movement
- Comprehensive track and trace capabilities including by
- Vendor or supplier lot
- Customer order
- Backward lot traceability
- Aids in initiating finite product recalls so that unaffected goods are not included
Inventory Control of Sensitive, Perishable Goods
- Lot control
- Expiration date tracking
- Alerts for temperature requirement tracking
- Supports multiple allocation strategies
- And more
Exports and Customs
Produces documentation and labels
Supports Automated Data Capture for Real Time View of Inventory
- RFID portals
- Barcode parser
- Single barcode scan populates pertinent information in fields automatically
Ability to access real time information regarding
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Supports Compliance Requirements
Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) programs:
- U.S. federal government (USDA, FDA)
- Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA)
- European Union
General Cold Storage Warehouse Operations
- Can decide on which information is blind and which is shown to the user
- Select criteria to be counted
- Material or material group
- User defined tags
- Tracks number of pallets entering and leaving the warehouse
- Provides pallet transactions for inbound/outbound shipments
- Tracks any kind of pallet
- Minimizes travel distance via directed replenishment path
- Integration Ready
- Readily switches between picking and replenishment/putaway
- Applies inventory best practices to replenish forward pick locations min/max
Datex FootPrint® WMS Supports Use of Innovative Technologies
- Material handling solutions
- High density pallet storage system
- Radio shuttle systems
- And much more
- Voice-enabled solutions
- Pick walls
- Pick-to-cart solutions
Open APIs = Integration Ready Datex FootPrint® WMS
Finance and accounting
E-commerce shopping carts
Need a top-notch warehouse management system for a refrigerated warehouse? You have come to the right place.
Originally developed with input from the Global Cold Chain Alliance (GCCA) and International Association of Refrigerated Warehouses (IARW), Datex FootPrint® WMS is packed full of time and labor-saving features to help reduce warehouse operating costs. This award-winning WMS solution is used by private cold storage warehouse operators and 3PL cold storage warehouse operators across North America.
The Datex Cold Storage WMS includes embedded labor management features including task interleaving as well as dock door appointment scheduling. Exceptional inventory control features and the ability to track and trace down to the ingredient level are also favorites of cold storage warehouse operators.
With its exceptional flexibility, the Datex Cold Storage warehouse management system can be used for ecommerce fulfillment including for meal subscriptions services which require kitting and assembly functionality.
Out-of-the-box functionality designed specifically for 3PL cold storage operations.
3PL Cold Storage Multi-Client Operations
- Segregates inventory by owner
- Create and use customized versions for each of your customers:
- Invoices, 3PL billing and contracts
- Quality Control/Quality Assurance
- Operational processes
- Temperature capture
- Restricts inventory to specific temperature zones
- Primary or secondary temperature zones
Perform, Bill and Generate Revenue for All the Value Added Services Your 3PL Cold Storage Warehouse Executes
- Sophisticated activity-based billing
- Charge accessorial fees automatically from handheld mobile computer or desktop computer
- Customizable, detailed billing of all value-added services such as
- Blast freezing
- Shrink wrapping
- Portion packaging
- Custom pallet building
Best 3PL WMS Billing Engine in the Cold Storage Industry
Our highly flexible 3PL WMS solution can automatically produce and email invoices directly to your customers. The 3PL WMS billing system is easy to use and can configure billing and rates without IT or developer assistance.
All charges are tracked automatically on a customer basis, making reporting simple for detailed review. Charges are automatically system calculated for accuracy, eliminating costly mistakes, wasted time and embarrassment.
Here is a small sample of what our 3PL software billing system can handle:
- Configurable workflow-based billing automates for amazing accuracy
- Provided individual customer bill schedule for
- Full or split month storage
- Transactional billing
- Can charge on a percentage or flat rate basis
- Can base rate structures on unit type
- Enables min/max rates based on weight
- Item, receipt or total minimums
- Handles volume or weight billing
- Can bill for fuel surcharges or overtime fees
- Handles conditional charges and fees
- Can charge per transaction or per transaction line
Customer Web Portal Facilitates Self-Serve Operations, Reducing Labor Costs
- Easy to set up and administer customer web portal to
- Manage inbound and outbound orders
- View inventory, lots and license plates
- Access 3PL billing and contracts
- Access shipments
- Assign shipments to existing or new delivery
- Review list of open shipments or individual shipments
- See across one warehouse or an entire enterprise of multi-warehouse operations
- Create or produce a customized report
- Automate report delivery
- Can customize menus, views, screens and links
- Enables use of bookmarks and tags to save time and simplify searches
Business Intelligence Tools Your Logistics Managers and Leadership Team Will Love
Create multi-use or special reports and dashboards including, but not limited to:
- Revenue by month by owner
- Aging inventory
- Completed adjustments
- Completed tasks by resource
- Contract list
- Count adjustments
- Inventory by owner
- Inventory turnover
- Shortage inventory
- And many more
Enhanced Inventory Control for 3PL Cold Storage Operations
- Lot control
- Track and trace by expiration dates, UPC, SKU, vat code, ingredient and more
- Allocation strategies including:
- And more
Enables 3PL Cold Storage Operations in An E-Commerce Omnichannel Retail World
- Streamlines handling of large volumes of smaller orders with short delivery time frames
- Handles goods by the each, case, pallet
- Optimized variety of picking strategies
- Improves the speed and accuracy of cold storage order management, ideal for D2C and meal kit subscription services
Integration Friendly 3PL Cold Storage WMS =Ecommerce Fulfillment ready:
- Warehouse technology: material handling solutions, robotics, automated guided vehicles, etc.
- Integration and EDI ready
- Online shopping carts
- Integration hubs
- Systems including but not limited to:
- Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP)
- Transportation Management Systems (TMS)
- Manufacturing Resource Planning (MRP)
- Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES)
Datex Cold Storage 3PL WMS Helps to Reduce Costs and Create Efficient Operations for Cold Storage Warehouses
- Automated data capture on handheld, forklift or wearable mobile computing devices
- Dock door appointment scheduling helps refrigerated warehouses streamline receiving
- Enterprise-wide information visibility enables quick action and responsive decision making
- Scalable, ideal to support long-term business growth at a lower cost
Preventing Damage to Perishable Food Products and Sensitive Goods
From dairy products to frozen food and fresh produce, refrigerated warehouses and 3PL cold storage warehousing facilities play a vital role in the nation’s supply chain. Safeguarding the food supply through temperature controlled warehousing, effective quality control measures and refrigerated transport helps prevent food from spoilage. What’s the top story for 3PL cold storage companies? Ensuring the safety and quality of the food supply. Managing expiration dates to ensure product quality and consumer safety is an essential element of effective cold storage warehouse operations..
For third party logistics providers, having the ability to effectively manage, monitor, handle and process perishable products and reduce cost in cold storage warehouse operations is critical to attracting and retaining clients. Many 3PL warehouse management systems lack the ability to specifically work with temperature capture and temperature controlled zones. In the world of multiclient operations in the cold storage industry, Datex 3PL Cold Storage WMS clearly excels.
Best-of-breed award-winning warehouse management system provides a suite of Tier 1 advanced functionality at a Tier 2 price
Enterprise-Wide Visibility Provides Private Equity Investors with a Bird’s Eye View of the Business
- Real time end-to-end visibility
- Make better decisions using real time, actionable data
- See across the enterprise or your supply chain
- Anticipate and resolve problems before they occur
- Mitigate supply chain risks
- Execute advance planning and minimize downtime
Build Greater Efficiencies and Standardize Operational Processes Using Datex Workflow
- Reduces wasted time
- Ensure consistency, efficiency and effectiveness in operations (SOPs)
- Minimizes manual operations and worker decisions
- Helps ensure greater accuracy, eliminating the need for error correction
- Deploy workflows across multiple warehouses, saving time and money on new implementations
- Cuts down on workforce training time
- Enables scalable operations, ideal for seasonal operations or temporary ramp ups
E-Commerce Omnichannel Ready Enables You to Service D2C Clients
- Capture new grocery, meal kit subscription box and similar business
- Agile system enables “by each” operations
- Facilitates speedy, reliable high volume operations of smaller orders and shipments
Best in Class 3PL Billing System Helps Boost Revenue Generation Efforts
- Capture and bill for all the value added services your warehouse provides
- Bill for anything, anyway, anytime to meet customer requirements
Self-Serve Customer Portal Reduces Labor and Increases Customer Satisfaction Rates
- Easy to set up, customize and administer
- Facilitates 3PL customers to take charge of their business
- Enables access to reports, operations, billing and much more
Leverage Embedded Labor Management Tools to Boost Workforce Productivity
- Multi-task interleaving
- Real time view of all labor resources
- Facilitate labor planning and scheduling with ease
Private Equity Investment in Cold Storage Warehouses
Are you conducting due diligence on a potential private equity investment in the cold storage warehouse industry? If so, welcome. Managers of investment funds have taken note that significant private equity fund investments are heating up the cold storage warehouse industry these days. The move towards investing in industrial facilities including cold storage warehouses is viewed as a wider foray into alternative investments that tend to provide higher rates of return. For years, private equity investors have penetrated the cold storage industry, eager for high rates of return and an industry that does not lose value, but rather one secured by essential need.
Read More about Private Equity Investment in Cold Storage Warehouses
Trade wars, tariffs that instigated a short-term meat surplus and other factors have impacted the occupancy rates of cold storage warehouse space. With current occupancy rates hovering steadily in the average range of 84-89%, the cold storage warehouse space in the United States is considered to be fully occupied. This has captivated the attention of institutional investors as well as private equity funds and those interested in alternative investments.
According to the International Association of Refrigerated Warehouses (IARW), intense cold storage industry consolidation dominates the industry with private equity investment. For example, Lineage Logistics, North America’s second largest cold storage warehouse operator is fueled by $700 million acquisition of minority ownership by two private equity firms. Another private equity giant, Blackstone failed in its attempt to acquire Americold and instead acquired a majority stake in seventh or eighth ranked cold storage warehouse operator Cloverleaf Cold Storage.
In an industry pressured by the consumer, cold storage customer and warehouse operator sides of the market, the need for more refrigerated warehouses across North America is making noise and private equity investors are listening. Revenue and rates of return are up, demand is increasing and so are private partnerships, collaborative arrangements between warehouse operators to extend the reach of 3PL warehouse operators.
Cold storage warehouses have historically only made up a very small fraction of the total transaction volume in American industrial and logistics real estate. With the ramp up in projections regarding the anticipated growth of online grocery and food shopping, both domestic and global investors are honing in on investment opportunities in cold storage warehouses. From individual investors to private equity investors and institutional investors, investment activity has escalated, demonstrating a build up of activity in this sector. Investors view the cold storage warehouse industry as less prone to risk, perhaps because of its direct ties to essentials including food and pharmaceuticals.
What’s Behind the Influx of Private Equity Investment in North American Cold Storage Warehouses?
Population Growth Increases the Need for Food Storage, Driving Private Equity Investments
Data from the U.S. Census Bureau projects an increase in population of 20 million people in the United States by 2026. More people= the need for more food, and perishable food products need to be refrigerated to ensure the quality and safety of the goods. With little margin on groceries, damages are problematic, cutting into slim profits on food products, making cold storage warehousing an absolute business essential.
Consumer Spending Increases the Impact Consumers Have on Supply Chains
With more money to spend, consumers are shifting their focus towards quality and health. Increasingly today, consumers want immediate delivery of fresh or frozen, locally sourced food products that are organic and free of pesticides. In addition, new dining habits including meal kit subscription services featuring fresh produce are also popular.
This changes the need for refrigerated warehousing, creating new dynamics and requirements for servicing consumers directly in their homes rather than serving the needs of retailers and distributors. More perishable foods and home delivery means that cold storage warehouses need to be located closer to population centers to reduce travel time and expense and meet consumer expectations.
Food, a Staple and Favorite of Private Equity Firms is Driving Force for Cold Storage Warehouse Investment
From insurance companies to hedge funds, it seems like investing in cold storage warehouses is one of the more secure private equity investment ideas these days. Cold storage warehouses are essential to ensuring a quality, safe food supply. Consumer tastes have changed over the years. Today, consumers prefer fresh or frozen food over highly processed food products with longer shelf lives. This requires refrigerated warehousing and temperature-controlled cold storage warehouse environments with multiple temperature zones to meet the requirements of the wide variety of food and pharmaceutical products on the market today. In addition, cold storage warehouses are needed to handle and store other types of goods including fresh flowers, some medical devices, high tech electronics and chemicals.
In the past few years, there has been a noticeable shift in the grocery sector as consumers have begun to show an interest in online grocery shopping as well as in subscription-based meal kit delivery. This means that goods need to be situated closer to population centers so that frequent and quick home delivery to consumers can be accomplished without adding on extra travel time and cost.
According to the Food Marketing Institute and The Nielsen Co. (US) LLC projections, by 2022 online grocery shopping will make up approximately 13% of total grocery sales, an increase of 10% over 2018 levels. As the popularity of online grocery orders escalates, grocers and other sellers of fresh food will need to situate their cold storage operations away from retail locations and into industrial cold storage warehouses to handle the speed and volume of orders and home deliveries to consumers.
From those who invest in financial markets there has been a continual dribble of speculation about how Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods may impact cold storage warehousing, ecommerce grocery and the food industry in general. With the debut of Amazon Fresh, both institutional investors and private equity investors took note and interest in the U.S. industrial cold storage industry took hold. Projections indicate that the American cold storage warehouse industry will need to add 100 million square feet of space over the coming five years to keep pace with the projected growth of online grocery sales. This equates to a 47% increase in cold storage warehouse space- And this was all before the debut of COVID-19. Once does not need to have attended Harvard Business School to recognize that the introduction of shoppers to online grocery during the pandemic may be a game changer, one capable of fast tracking an escalation in online grocery shopping.
Food e-commerce grocery challenges have become exacerbated by the outbreak of COVID-19. As consumers across the U.S. remained in their homes and eschewed grocery stores, supermarkets and produce stands, the need for home delivery ramped up. According to Apptopia, app downloads for Shipt, Instacart and Walmart’s grocery app increased 124%, 218% and 160% respectively when compared with one year ago. In 2019, only 4% of American grocery sales were from online shopping, according to Nielsen and CNN. According to a survey conducted by Gordon Haskett Research Advisors, approximately one-third of consumers bought groceries for online pick up or delivery during the week of the survey. 41% of those who did so were first time online grocery shoppers.
It is important to note that in the United States, the demand for cold storage warehouses currently exceeds the supply.
Specialty Pharmaceuticals Riding High on Financial Markets, Need Cold Storage Warehouses
Specialty drug products accounted for approximately half of all drug spending for employer-funded plans in 2018 yet make up only approximately 1% to 2% of the prescriptions written in the United States. Specialty pharmaceuticals are considered to be highly complex, high cost and/or high touch for patients, typically those with limited therapeutic options. This includes specialty pharmaceuticals developed for the treatment of chronic conditions including MS, rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory conditions and cancer. With the increased development and use of specialty drugs, it is no wonder that private equity investment firms have shown a high degree of interest.
Here are some of the notable private equity investors in specialty pharmaceuticals:
Rapid growth and private equity investment in the fields of specialty pharmaceuticals and biotech is fueling the need for more cold storage warehouses, warehouses with multiple temperature-controlled zones. This is due to the fact that specialty pharmaceuticals and biotech often require temperature-controlled warehousing, even cryogenic conditions available in cold storage warehouses.
Because specialty pharmaceuticals leverage the use of biological materials from plants, humans and other living tissues, the products are highly sensitive to temperature conditions and are fragile. Specialty pharmaceuticals are expensive products, costly to produce, store, handle and transport.
Demand for Cold Storage Warehouses Fuels Investment Opportunities and New Investment Strategies
- Projections regarding the growth of online grocery sales indicate a demand for up to 35 million square feet of cold storage warehouse space, industrial rather than retail storage space. This relates directly to the anticipation that storage space will be transitioned from retail store locations to warehouses and distribution centers within the next seven years. Online grocery sales are expected to grow from 3% of all grocery sales in 2017 to 13% by 2024.
- Older cold storage warehouses are simply not capable of meeting the needs of large food distributors, often making them obsolete. New cold storage warehouses utilize taller ceiling heights to implement automation which reduces labor costs and aids in mitigating warehouse labor shortages, a common problem. Older facilities do not have these features, making them less desirable then new refrigerated warehouses.
- New cold storage warehouses tend to heavily leverage a variety of technologies including sophisticated warehouse management systems, material handling solutions including automated guided vehicles (AGV) such as robotic shuttles, technologies which may not fit the design of older refrigerated warehouses. Private equity investors and institutional investors favor usage of innovative technologies, software and systems for their effectiveness in creating efficiencies, bolstering productivity and reducing ongoing operational costs.
Big Yields for Private Equity Investment in Cold Storage Warehouses?
Once a hodge-podge of small, individually operated refrigerated warehouses across North America, the scenario has shifted. Now the hundreds of cold storage warehouse companies in North America are controlled by a mere handful of companies. Currently, the largest 10 companies control approximately 70% of the cold storage warehouse capacity in North America, and only three companies control 48% of the refrigerated warehouse space in this market.
With the market consolidation, shift towards online grocery orders and consumer preference for fresh and frozen food, the stage has been set for a tectonic shift in the cold storage warehouse business. Customers and warehouse operators both are dealing with the need for speed and accuracy and significant labor challenges. What is the answer? Technology of course.
The trend in new construction of cold storage warehouses is towards larger, taller, more technologically advanced facilities. The reason for taller cold storage warehouses is simple-energy costs. Because it is already expensive to cool the warehouse, adding another 20 feet or so of building height is not significant and increases storage capacity and efficiencies, driving profits. To help offset labor challenges, new cold storage warehouses often tend to rely more on automation such as driverless pallets and robotic shuttles.
With all this said, both institutional investors and private equity firms are poised to let their investment funds flow into the cold storage warehouse industry. Investment strategies by both domestic and global investors are targeting the cold storage industry due to the increased demand and lack of supply.
Cost of Cold Storage Warehouse Construction Impacts Private Equity Investors
The cost of the development and construction of a cold storage warehouse is typically two to three times higher than that of an ambient (dry) warehouse. Here are some other factors which also impact investment in cold storage warehouses:
- Time to construct a refrigerated warehouse is usually approximately five months longer than that for a dry warehouse
- Need for knowledgeable labor resources to run refrigerated warehouses
- Cold storage warehouses are more complicated and costly to build due to:
- Increased cost of steel, impacted by tariffs
- Construction materials such as enhanced rebar
- Cooling technologies required to maintain temperatures between -25 degrees Fahrenheit and 55 degrees Fahrenheit, required for the proper storage of various types of inventory
- Need to accommodate food industry’s particular requirements for fresh and frozen food storage, quality assurance and distribution
- Need to be able to accommodate needs of D2C food e-commerce, designed for speed and the processing of higher volumes of smaller orders
Labor and Technology Are Critical to Success of Private Equity Investment in Cold Storage
- The need for skilled, experience operating management professionals. Management teams with specific experience managing cold storage warehouses are essential to keeping costs under control and ensuring inventory quality.
- Reliance on advanced warehouse management systems specifically designed to handle temperature-controlled cold storage warehouses to provide the enterprise-wide visibility, top notch functionality, speed and accuracy for order processing. Additional value of using sophisticated cold storage WMS includes:
- Specialized functionality for temperature-controlled locations and quality assurance/quality control
- Configurable reporting and dashboard capabilities, instrumental in monitoring KPIs and real time data for precise, timely decision making
- Ability to maximize revenue potential by implementing policies and billing strategies most advantageous to investors
- Customizable workflow-driven operations that ensure optimal efficiency, transaction volume and workforce productivity
- Embedded labor management capabilities to optimize the utilization of each labor resource
- State-of-the-art 3PL billing and business intelligence systems to optimize pricing and charges for services, customize billing for each client and monitor the effectiveness of decisions and strategies
- Scalability and flexibility to ensure the ability to meet customer needs as businesses change, thrive and grow
Large cold storage warehouse operators use sophisticated warehouse management software to carefully monitor their space and give preferential treatment to giants in the food and pharma industries. Big institutional investors dominate the cold storage industry, compressing the smaller warehouse operators out to the fringes.
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These handheld, wearable and vehicle-mounted computers and printers, paired with Datex FootPrint® WMS, are purpose-built to provide enterprise-level support for your warehousing needs.
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