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The Logistics of Logistics Podcast

Nov 28, 2019

[00:49] Introduce you and your company.

  • I’m Dan Gilland, and I lead business development for Schwan’s Home Service. We are based in Minnesota.
  • I was practically born and raised on Schwan’s, so it’s fitting that I’m working here.
  • Schwan’s has sold high quality, delicious frozen food direct-to-consumer since 1952.
  • We deliver just about everywhere in the lower forty-eight states using our depots and trucks. The actual home deliveries are managed by our partner, UPS.

[05:21] Tell us about Schwan’s model.

  • Our typical model is delivering our frozen food direct to customers with our own private fleet of delivery trucks.
  • We call our 3PL side Cygnus Frozen 3PL by Schwan’s Home Service. We wanted to establish that it is part of Schwan’s but differentiate it from our direct-to-consumer business.

[07:37] What is frozen eCommerce fulfillment?

  • Shipping online orders of frozen food direct to consumers’ homes.
  • Most frozen food brands either don’t have the infrastructure or desire to fulfill their own orders.
  • A lot of frozen foods being sold online today include meats, ice cream, smoothies, and frozen meals.
  • eCommerce gives you the space to market your brand and tell your story accordingly.

[12:01] What are the problems that companies who are trying to deliver frozen foods to consumers’ homes run into?

  • Of all the product categories sold online, the degree of difficulty is probably the highest for shipping frozen food.
  • Your mistakes are really clear and really frustrating to the customer.
  • Food showing up in poor condition can damage the brand even though it may be the 3PL’s fault.

[16:21] What’s the second big problem you see out there?

  • Dealing with a 3PL that doesn’t specialize in frozen food and/or doesn’t specialize in direct-to-consumer or ecommerce.
  • Frozen food needs to stay frozen throughout the whole process, so the 3PL must have experience in doing this.

[19:22] What’s another problem you see in the marketplace?

  • Slow shipping. Consumers expect one- to two-day shipping but getting that speed everywhere in the US can be a challenge.

[20:51] Tell me a little bit about how Cygnus goes about frozen ecommerce fulfillment.

  • The first thing that you must solve is getting within two-day shipping of all your customers.
  • Another thing to do to reduce melting is to have a really clear packing process.

[22:58] Explain the whole process from the time a company makes a frozen food item to when it gets to the consumer.

  • You ship your inventory on pallets to our national distribution center in Minnesota.
  • From there, Schwan’s would distribute your inventory to our ten fulfillment centers.
  • Each of our ten centers get a replenishment every two weeks.
  • We’ll integrate with your online order management platform so that we can see orders as your customers place them.
  • UPS then comes by every afternoon and picks up all the orders shipping out that day.

[26:51] This is a good opportunity for someone who is getting into the frozen ecommerce business to have a fulfillment partner who’s been doing it for seventy years.

  • That’s why we thought that this segment makes too much sense for us not to engage in.
  • We have the fulfillment network and that intersects with the growth of online grocery.

[27:55] If someone wants to continue the conversation, how do they get ahold of you?

  • You can go to our website to see more about how our process works through case studies.
  • There’s a form that you can fill out to set up a free consultation.

Learn More:

Dan Gilland LinkedIn profile:

Cygnus Frozen 3PL: