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American Cold Storage gears up for quality customer service.

In 1981, American Cold Storage was formed to take over ownership and operation of Louisville Freezer Center (LFC), a public warehousing and distribution facility based in Louisville, KY. The goal of the new firm was to provide the ultimate in customer service.

LFC, which opened in 1977, already provided a strong base of services, initially offering over 2.8 million cubic feet of cooler and frozen storage space. It's central location provides easy access to all major interstates serving Louisville, and overnight distribution to most major midwestern, east coast and southeastern markets. LFC is served by two major rail lines, and has a private rail siding with an 80-plus car capacity and a private switching engine.

In the mid-1980's, deregulation of the motor carrier industry was having adverse effects on pricing and service levels for highway carriage of goods requiring temperature control. In 1985, to provide customers an alternative, American Cold Storage formed L.F.C. Transportation (LFCT), an independent operating unit. Today LFCT is a contract carrier and an ICC Broker operating a fully-refrigerated fleet which provides quality, on-time distribution service to the eastern 35 states.

In response to changing needs in the meat and seafood industries, American Cold Storage completed an 80,000 sq. ft. expansion in 1987, increasing its total storage capacity to over 4.5 million cubic feet, including twenty-two truck doors, and a blast freezer capable of handling 160,000 pounds per day. With the expansion, LFC broadened its operating hours to 24-hours-a-day, six and a half days per week. Additionally, on-site USDA Meat and USDC Seafood inspection service, fully racked storage and computerized inventory control including full EDI capabilities were added -- all to enhance the protection of customer goods and increase the quality of service.

By 1991, American Cold Storage felt regional expansion would increase distribution efficiency, and entered into an agreement to manage The Beare Company public refrigerated warehouses in Jackson and Humboldt, TN. These two facilities boasted 5 million cubic feet of fully racked space with blast freezing, cooler, U.S. Customer Bonding, rail services, computerized inventory control and EDI capabilities.

Also in 1991, American Cold Storage recognized a distribution need in the military market and formed American Military Distributors (AMD) to provide complete distributor services for manufacturers selling goods through the Military Commissary System. Today, the Louisville-based AMD offers full service, frequent-delivery distribution of dry, frozen and cooler products to eighteen military establishments in the Gateway District of the Central Region.

Of course, expanded facilities are meaningless without quality personnel to administer them. Several structural changes and programs implemented have seen to it that American Cold Storage's service maintains a high level of quality.

One such change involved both customer service and operating staffs being assigned specific customers. This ensured all customers of receiving consistent, personalized service. In 1992, American Cold Storage employees initiated a "Quality Team Program" to analyze and improve the areas of Sanitation, Maintenance, Safety & Training, Loss Prevention, Productivity and Morale. Through this employee involvement, substantial improvements have been achieved in all areas. Additionally, American Cold Storage's program of promotion from within, and a policy of treating employees with dignity, has resulted in a low employee turnover rate. These are the key ingredients in the firm's ability to offer customers a customized service with the "personal touch".

So what do the facilities and employee programs mean to American Cold Storage's customers?

To Chet Cooper of Louisville, KY-based Torbett & Castleman, it meant greater flexibility.

"During the start-up of our new Louisville facility, we often made unusual service requests which were always fully met through the outstanding attitudes and cooperation provided by LFC's warehouse and office personnel..." he said.

For Robert W. Shelton of L.K. Bowman Inc. in Nottingham, PA, it meant unique services. Said Mr. Bowman, "We have dealt with Louisville Freezer Center for years, and their most unique service feature is their concept of logistical one-stop shopping. One phone call to LFC takes care of all logistics involving our products, from our door, to LFC and, subsequently to our customers.

Other customers were also quick to sing LFC's praises...

"Monfort, Inc. has worked with Louisville Freezer since we've been in business in Louisville. They have always been able to accommodate our needs, willing to work with us, with no delays or problems..."

- John W. Cliff, Jr. General Manager Monfort, Inc.

"Louisville Freezer Center designed, implemented and (now) operated a one-stop shopping freight consolidation program on frozen and cooler items serving our stores in five different states. This program involves close to 100 different vendors and provides them with an efficient, cost effective means of distributing their products to our stores... and LFC's service is excellent."

- Dennis Gold Warehouse Club, Inc. Skokie, IL

"I am amazed at the consistently high accuracy rate test (their) employees have achieved in the order selection program (they) are performing for VSA."

- Chip Heyer VSA Louisville, KY

As supported by their customers above, American Cold Storage is much more than their aggregate warehousing space in excess of 10 million cubic feet. They are a company committed to customer service that meshes quality people with quality service, facilities and equipment.
COPYRIGHT 1993 Frozen Food Digest, Inc.
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Publication:Frozen Food Digest
Article Type:Company Profile
Date:Apr 1, 1993
Previous Article:The World Group from the beginning.
Next Article:Commercial Cold Storage southeastern distribution hub.

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