The commercial trucking industry in the United States is one of the most developed in the world, but even there some problems occur, especially when it comes to transporting perishable goods. First of all, this is due to long distances, non-compliance with the modes of transportation, high costs, and not always competent planning of the route. Denis Primakov, the Head of the Prima Logistics company and a Belarusian entrepreneur with more than 15 years of experience in the delivery of perishable products, spoke about how to cope with such issues.
Denis Primakov: Brief Details
Denis Primakov graduated from the Belarusian National Technical University, Automotive and Tractor Faculty, with a degree in Traffic Management and Transport Management and received the qualification of a control engineer. He started working at Prima Logistics in 2008. His position was a logistics specialist, where he worked his way up to the position of a director. Today, the main plans of Denis Primakov are to apply his own experience in the field of logistics in the USA. Continue to read on in order to find out what exactly the successful Belarusian entrepreneur offers.
Work at Prima Logistics
Prima Logistics is a company specializing in delivering groceries in the Republic of Belarus. The company has reached a leading position in the country and cooperates with the top producers of dairy products in the Republic of Belarus.
Since the main specification of the company is the delivery of perishable products, special vehicles with refrigerated equipment and thermal recorders are used in the transportation process, which allows you to control the temperature in the van online. Denis personally selected vehicles for the car park, and introduced a rule for regular technical inspection, which made it possible to minimize the likelihood of breakdowns and reduce repair costs.
Since Denis Primakov has started to work for the company, he has managed to sign a number of large contracts with the top production and distribution networks in Belarus, implement a refrigerated transportation project, and become the director of the enterprise in 2013. During his management, the revenue of the company increased 8 times, the staff and vehicle fleet increased as well.
Double-Tier Loading as a Solution to Insufficient Cargo Capacity Issue
One of the revolutionary achievements of Denis Primakov is the usage of a two-tier loading system in semi-trailers. It raised Prima Logistic to a qualitatively new level, which permits optimizing the usage of space, reducing transportation costs, and making it possible to fulfill customer orders more efficiently.
Denis Primakov found the optimal solution, which would not be burdensome for clients, but at the same time would be efficient enough to facilitate fast transportation. He initiated and organized the transition from standard refrigerated trailers to refrigerated trailers with a double-deck loading system.
This technique has made it possible to increase the cargo capacity of bodies at the Prima Logistics company by 68% – from 33 to 54 pallets – without compromising the safety of the products. Naturally, it had a positive impact on the company’s profit, which increased from 16 to 25%.
Special guides are mounted on the walls of the vans. These guides accommodate movable crossbars, which are able to support a load of 1,000 kg (2,204.62 lbs). Pallets with products are stacked on these crossbars in two tiers. This method can be used in various situations, and it is especially convenient in the case of cargo that can deteriorate if simply stacked on top of each other without a technological gap.
This particular method helped to almost double the capacity of the trailer and became the main difference between Prima Logistics and competitors who use conventional trailers. Thanks to this step the level of customer loyalty has increased, the company gets stable orders on a regular basis, and there is the opportunity for further growth.
Problems with Transporting Perishable Products in the USA
Nowadays, a lot of logistics companies in the USA still use standard loading of bodies. The solution offered by Denis is able to improve the efficiency of transporting perishable (and not only) products by road. This fact is especially important because in North America it is automotive logistics that leads in the field of commercial transportation.
According to Denis Primakov, there is big demand for such modernization in North America, where long distances play a decisive role in determining delivery prices. The most effective usage of cargo volume will significantly reduce the cost of transportation for a logistics company and increase its competitiveness. Such solutions help hear essential customer needs and meet them as much as possible. However, before implementing such non-standard ideas, it is important to polish the transportation process.
Transportation of perishable products of animal or plant origin, dairy products, etc. requires an extremely scrupulous approach and compliance with a lot of requirements both for physical conditions (temperature, humidity) and for delivery conditions (time, speed, downtime).
Despite the fact that in the United States back in the 90s of the last century, transportation conditions were strictly regulated (the Sanitary Food Transportation Act (SFTA) of 1990 (49 USC 5701)), there are still some issue simply because the transportation of perishable products is a subject to much greater number of risks compared to transporting products without excessive requirements.
In 2005, the US Congress passed the 2005 SFTA (Sanitary Food Transportation Act), which obligated the Department of Health to further tighten sanitary requirements for the transportation of perishable products and the conditions for their transportation, but this does not completely eliminate the issue. As a result, some violations and unforeseen situations still occur.
This is mainly due to the need to maintain special temperature conditions and use special equipment when packing and transporting cargo. The listed features are not the entire list of tasks that logisticians face every time.
According to Denis Primakov’s opinion, this should also include the following factors:
- failure to comply with hygiene standards for the preparation of refrigerators (cleaning, ventilation, disinfection);
- cross-contamination when products with different hygienic requirements are simultaneously transported (meat + vegetables or fruits, household chemicals + food, etc.);
- excessive delivery time (especially important for meat and dairy products, when even if the required temperature conditions are observed, time plays a decisive role).
The importance of this issue is evidenced by the fact that annually the financial losses of the food industry market associated with violations during the transportation of products amount to about two billion dollars.
Ways to Solve Possible Difficulties While Transporting Perishable Products
Denis Primakov: “Even the smallest mistake can lead to multimillion-dollar losses. This may be caused by confusion over the temperature units used in refrigerated trucks, such as Celsius (European standard) instead of Fahrenheit (American standard). Temperature requirements for transportation may also be indicated incorrectly, for example, “keep off frozen” is written instead of “keep frozen”.
As Denis notes, it is important for a logistics company to learn how to work in conditions of uncertainty. Denis and his team at Prima Logistic personally went through the following problems: sanctions, shortage of components for normal transport operation, pressure from the state, and many others. Despite this, he was able to provide employees with work and even develop his enterprise.
According to Denis, over many years of work, different situations have occurred, and this experience has permitted him to build a harmonious system and helps even these days to organize work in such a way as to prevent possible problems.
One of the main assistants in logistics is thorough checks at every stage. Starting from concluding contracts to accepting cargo you must follow these steps:
- it is important to carefully study the documentation, especially the transportation requirements;
- regularly check the serviceability of equipment and vehicles, especially carefully before loading;
- check the cargo before sending, whether it is properly packaged and secured in the body, whether it has been cooled to the required temperature, whether the conditions for ventilation, humidity and temperature indicators have been met, etc.
Denis Primakov implemented all these measures in his company. They helped to avoid many problems during delivery, and thereby had a positive impact on the business, since cost reduction is one of the most important components of profit.
Denis Primakov is fully confident that all team members should be aware of the importance of complying with these criteria at all stages of transportation. Even if employees have been working for more than a year within the company, it would be a good idea to discuss all the features of the process over and over again. This will help avoid possible situations, for example, when a driver turns off the refrigeration unit at night because it interferes with sleep.
It is simply impossible to avoid all problems and not all aspects are within the control of the logistics company. But an individual approach to each order, attentiveness and interest of employees at all stages of transportation will significantly improve the quality of transportation and help the company stand out among competitors and take a leading position in the industry niche.
The successful implementation of his own ambitions and high professionalism gave Denis Primakov the confidence to grow further, go beyond the borders of Belarus, and start a completely new logistics project in the USA. He is interested in sharing his own positive experience with American companies. Large territories of North America, a wide range of climatic conditions, and one of the most developed transport systems in the world will allow us to raise the already gained and proven experience to a qualitatively new level and solve the issue of transporting perishable products where they still occur.