Q&A with Amy Barzdukas, Executive Vice President & Chief Marketing Officer at Poly

Amy Barzdukas, EVP and Chief Marketing Officer at Poly is a marketing and communications leader with extensive experience in setting strategy, shifting perceptions, advising customers, digital marketing, revenue marketing, integrated marketing communications, and public relations in highly competitive product arenas.

Amy is known for her ability to create and execute winning turnarounds on a global scale.

MEDIA 7: What inspired you to get into marketing?
AMY BARZDUKAS:
I was always destined for marketing, even if I didn’t know it. As a child, I collected promotional brochures. I was fascinated by how the words and pictures were used to drive action. My first job was as an advertising copywriter, and I’ve never looked back.

M7: How is Poly redefining the video conferencing experience for modern businesses?
AB:
 We’re in an unprecedented time of change in our industry. Voice and video services are moving to the cloud, and companies are changing how they approach their communications needs. Poly is the largest provider of the devices – video conferencing, audio conferencing, headphones and desk phones – you use to connect to these services so you can collaborate with your colleagues. That uniquely positions us to shape the video conferencing experience, and we’re doing so in four ways.

First, Poly has made both the Zoom Rooms and the Microsoft Teams video conferencing experience better than ever with our radically simple Poly Studio X video bars that deliver these experiences with no PC or Mac required. We’ve got decades of experience in understanding what makes meetings more human – for everyone in the room and those dialing in from other locations – and we’ve packed all of that into easy-to-install, easy-to-manage, and easy-to-use all-in-one powerhouses.

Second, we are bringing the world of AV and video conferencing into the modern app economy. Our Studio X series and Poly G7500 video conferencing devices run a common platform that can be updated and enhanced through a series of regular software updates. This Poly platform, built on Android, can run applications like a smartphone does today.

Third, Poly has introduced innovation that makes any video conference better. Our new Poly MeetingAI features use AI and machine learning to address the distractions that hit your senses in a meeting. We make it easier to hear what’s being said by blocking out the annoying noises that people make while talking, and we make it easier to see what’s going on in the room with the most advanced speaker tracking and framing, and our built-in production rules.

Finally, we are pricing our solutions in a way that completely resets the calculations on what it costs to outfit a room. The Studio X30, for huddle room and smaller spaces, costs just about $2,100, including the Poly TC8 touch controller. All you add is the cloud service and a monitor, and you have a room up and running for under $2,500. That’s easily under the cost of other solutions and with better audio and video quality.


"Baby Boomers and more than half of Gen Z say they are most productive when they were working around noise."

M7: As the CMO of Poly, what were the major challenges in rebranding and transforming two separate organizations (Plantronics and Polycom) under a single brand Poly?
AB:
One of the greatest challenges of bringing together Plantronics and Polycom was doing so in a way that honored their brand equity, history, and positive associations while establishing a new story for the new company. Plantronics was already an audio pioneer– the first headset that transmitted Neil Armstrong’s famous words during the first moon landing. Polycom was the leader in audio and video conferencing – the conference phone used by business leaders and industry captains.
We had to figure out how to build a stand-out narrative in a crowded space for the general market. For customers and partners, we found a way to carry through the legacies and histories of both companies into the new brand. And for our employees, we had to inspire them to believe in the new brand and the new combined mission. These different challenges with different stakeholders took different approaches to confront, but in the end, we brought everyone to the same conclusion that Poly was moving forward, unified and stronger.

And like any acquisition, integration takes time. We’re proud of our accomplishments since rebranding to Poly in March 2019. Since then, we’ve refreshed our video conferencing line of products, broken new ground with a mobile phone station called Elara 60 Series and showcased our continued commitment to expanding the ecosystem with partners such as Zoom, Microsoft, Google, Amazon and more. As Poly, we bring a new level of quality, simplicity, and flexibility so that every communication can easily become a place for collaboration and innovation for the enterprise.


"Gen Z and Millennials came up in an era of digitization, so they are more accustomed to the tools and technology to deal with distractions in the workplace."

M7: A recent study by Poly reveals that employees prefer noisier open offices to closed, quiet spaces. What do you think is responsible for driving these unique demands in the workplace today?
AB:
Our research shows that Gen Z and Millennials tend to prefer open offices compared to Gen X and Baby Boomers and that more than half of Gen Z say they are most productive when they were working around noise. What we’re seeing is that Gen Z and Millennials came up in an era of digitization, so they are more accustomed to the tools and technology to deal with distractions in the workplace. For example, they’re used to wearing noise-canceling headphones to block out the background noise, and similarly at home with video. They’ve been doing it all their lives!

Now that we can work from anywhere – coffee shops, airports, waiting rooms – we are more accustomed to dealing with distractions and working through them. We take that mindset into the office along with the tools we may use to address distraction, from a pair of comfortable headphones with ANC to deciding to do different types of work in different settings.

M7: What features have made Poly Studio win the 'Best of Enterprise Connect' award in the '2019 Communication/Collaboration Device'?
AB: 
Poly Studio is our answer to the need for easy-to-use video conferencing devices for smaller spaces called huddle rooms. Poly Studio is a video USB bar with premium audio and video capabilities. Its standout features include NoiseBlock, which mutes distracting background noises, Automatic Group Framing and Speaker Tracking, which zooms in to focus on the speaking participant. This board-room like audio and video transforms small meeting rooms into a center for collaboration. We’re also pleased that it was recently certified for Zoom Rooms and Microsoft Teams. The device also works with Skype for Business, Google Meet, Cisco WebEx and Amazon Chime, and virtually any cloud-based video collaboration service.


"Poly combines legendary audio expertise with powerful video and conferencing capabilities to help our users overcome the distractions, complexity, and distance, making communication in and out of the workplace challenging."

M7: What traits make Poly a global leader in communications and a leading choice for every kind of workspace?
AB:
Our in-depth expertise, tireless innovation, and emphasis on partnership make Poly a global leader in communications and a leading choice for every kind of workspace.

Poly combines legendary audio expertise with powerful video and conferencing capabilities to help our users overcome the distractions, complexity, and distance, making communication in and out of the workplace challenging. When the world was on a race to space in the ’60s, NASA approached us—Plantronics back then—with a seemingly impossible task: create a headset that would equip astronauts to communicate with Mission Control from the earth to the moon, and back again.

Fifty years later, we share the same mission today: to create powerful connections that unify people the world over. We’re designing technology for the different ways people work – open offices, remote locations, mobile-first workers. We are the largest provider of headsets, video and audio-conferencing devices that you use to communicate and collaborate for your work, whatever that may be. And we continue to innovate with products like Poly Studio X that change how people collaborate.
Through partnerships with industry leaders like Microsoft, Amazon, Google, and Zoom, Poly takes an open-architecture approach that allows users to seamlessly connect across all the best technologies. Whenever and wherever people connect with these services, we will be there to provide the best-in-class audio, video and voice technology to make the experience that much better.

M7: What’s your superpower or spirit animal?
AB: 
My superpower is the ability to read amazingly quickly, thanks to the experimental elementary school I attended. I don’t know how anyone gets through their workload without it, honestly. My spirit animal? I told my husband the other day that I think it is Tom Petty. I’m a huge fan. If you have a problem, there is a Tom Petty song that can solve it, or at least make it more fun.

ABOUT POLY

Plantronics, Inc. (“Poly” – formerly Plantronics and Polycom) (NYSE: PLT) is a global communications company that powers meaningful human connection and collaboration. Poly combines legendary audio expertise and powerful video and conferencing capabilities to overcome the distractions, complexity, and distance that make communication in and out of the workplace challenging. Poly believes in solutions that make life easier when they work together and with our partner’s services. Our headsets, software, desk phones, audio and video conferencing, analytics and services are used worldwide and are a leading choice for every kind of workspace.

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Media 7 | April 22, 2020

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Q&A with Tara Ryan, Chief Marketing Officer at Incorta

Media 7 | April 15, 2020

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Q&A with Rachel Gabato, COO at ripe.io

MEDIA 7 | March 9, 2020

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Q&A with Cameron Worth, CEO & Founder, SharpEnd

Media 7 | April 22, 2020

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Q&A with Tara Ryan, Chief Marketing Officer at Incorta

Media 7 | April 15, 2020

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Q&A with Rachel Gabato, COO at ripe.io

MEDIA 7 | March 9, 2020

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Logistics, Operations, Supply Chain

Metro Supply Chain Acquires SCI Group

PR Newswire | January 10, 2024

Metro Supply Chain Inc. ("Metro Supply Chain"), a strategic supply chain solutions partner to some of the world's fastest growing and most reputable organizations, is pleased to announce that it has entered into an agreement to acquire SCI Group Inc. ("SCI"), a leading Canadian third-party logistics (3PL) company, from Canada Post Corporation ("Canada Post") and Purolator Holdings Ltd. This transformational transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2024, subject to customary closing conditions, including the receipt of regulatory approvals. "We are thrilled about the prospect of acquiring SCI," said Chiko Nanji, Metro Supply Chain Founder and Group Chairman. "There is an excellent strategic fit between SCI and our existing operations and culture, and we are excited about the future as a combined entity. This acquisition will strengthen our position as a true champion in strategic contract logistics services." The combined entity, with deep Canadian roots and a shared focus on customers, will be ideally positioned to compete in the global supply chain sector. "The strategic alignment between Metro Supply Chain and SCI is strong. We look forward to leveraging our complementary strengths and shared emphasis on operational excellence to generate growth for clients in multiple sectors, including technology and healthcare, and expand our e–commerce offering," said Metro Supply Chain President and Chief Executive Officer Chris Fenton. "The addition of SCI to the Metro Supply Chain group will offer opportunities to enhance our expansion efforts south of the border." Headquartered in Québec, with significant regional support offices in the Greater Toronto Area and operations across Canada, the United States and United Kingdom, the combined entity will create a diversified supply chain solutions provider. Metro Supply Chain is highly engaged and committed to its people and the communities in which it operates. It is mindful of its social, economic and environmental impact and seeks ways to work more sustainably and create a positive impact on the planet, customers, teams and communities. Chris Galindo, President and CEO of SCI, will remain with the combined entity, ensuring the continuity of SCI's commitment to excellence. "There is a strong strategic alignment between Metro Supply Chain and SCI, from our strong people–first cultures to our focus on innovation, best-in-class systems, and contractual business models and complementary technology, client and vertical mix," explained Galindo. Metro Supply Chain is grateful to its existing and new financial partners, LDC Logistics Holdings Inc., CDPQ, Investissement Québec, and the National Bank of Canada, for their support in this transaction and the future growth of the combined entity. "With this 10th acquisition by Metro Supply Chain since it began working with CDPQ in 2018, the company is actively pursuing its strategic development plan," said Kim Thomassin, Executive Vice-President and Head of Québec at CDPQ. "We are proud to support the company in its efforts to strengthen its position as a Canadian leader, accelerate growth projects and expand activities, particularly in the United States and the United Kingdom." To support its global strategic vision, Metro Supply Chain has concluded an agreement with the Government of Québec through Investissement Québec, for an investment by way of a private placement in Metro Supply Chain. "To ensure the economic and sustainable development of Québec, it is essential that we be able to rely on Québec companies and robust supply chains. With this investment in Metro Supply Chain, we are helping a Québec company to become an international leader in the logistics sector," stated Pierre Fitzgibbon, Minister of Economy, Innovation and Energy, Minister Responsible for Regional Economic Development and Minister Responsible for the Metropolis and the Montréal Region. "This transaction aligns with Investissement Québec's mission to create a logistics champion and support its geographic expansion outside Québec. Metro Supply Chain is setting an example by making a significant investment to improve its productivity by automating its warehouses. The Covid-19 pandemic highlighted the importance of supply chains, which are an essential link in the Québec economy," said Guy LeBlanc, President and CEO of Investissement Québec. "Metro Supply Chain welcomes Investissement Québec as one of its new strategic partners and is very pleased to be able to count on the continued support of LDC Logistics Holdings Inc., CDPQ, the National Bank of Canada, as we pursue our global growth ambitions," stated Metro Supply Chain CFO Mathieu Descheneaux. "This strategic investment enables us to acquire high–quality companies like SCI to expand the range and depth of supply chain solutions we can offer." Together, Metro Supply Chain and SCI anticipate a bright future, delivering innovative supply chain solutions that meet the most challenging needs of their customers.

Read More

Logistics, Supply Chain, Transportation

USPack Launches USPack Healthcare and Unveils New Branding

USPack | January 05, 2024

USPack, a national leader in same-day, final-mile delivery solutions, and a NewSpring Holdings platform company, today unveils new branding and launches USPack Healthcare. These moves mark a significant milestone in USPack's evolution and position the company at the forefront of innovation and customized final mile solutions, catering to the growing needs of healthcare, retail, and big & bulky customers in the modern logistics landscape. For over 30 years USPack has led the way in building tailored logistics solutions for some of the most prestigious names in healthcare including pharmacies, major hospital systems, and labs. More recently, USPack has quickly expanded into providing more complex and critical solutions supporting clinical trials, nuclear medicine, medical devices, and long-term care facilities, ultimately contributing to improved patient care and outcomes. In response to the ever-evolving landscape of the healthcare industry, USPack is committed to enhancing operational efficiency and ensuring the timely delivery of critical supplies by formalizing USPack Healthcare. Existing customers will continue to have the same high-touch service levels and benefit from increased supply chain visibility. As the final mile logistics industry undergoes transformative changes driven by technological advancements and customer demands, USPack has built a nationwide reputation for customizable logistics solutions encompassing speed, efficiency, and accuracy. The new branding, which includes a new logo, website, and updated color palette for USPack Healthcare, uses a mile marker to reflect the company's commitment to final mile precision. "Macro-economic tailwinds including the aging population, the growing life-sciences market, and the rise of in-home healthcare solutions combined with customer demand have us doubling down on our capabilities. We will build on our already robust service-centric solutions for routed and STAT final-mile solutions with the launch of USPack Healthcare," says Mike Clark, USPack CEO. "We're proud of our tech-forward approach, problem-solving mindset, and decades of experience serving the final mile. Our new USPack branding and the rollout of USPack Healthcare underscore the deliberate evolution of USPack as we look to expand our trusted customer relationships across all market sectors."

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Logistics, Supply Chain, Warehousing and Distribution

Harnessing the Transformative Power of Cold Chain Logistics with SSI Schaefer

SSI Schaefer | January 03, 2024

As average global temperatures rise and the demand for cold-chain storage grows worldwide, SSI Schaefer, a global leader in intralogistics and automated warehouses, is sharing best practices and key considerations on how logistics and operations managers can optimize efficiency and cost-effectiveness of cold storage warehouses. Cold storage warehouse managers -- particularly in the food and beverage industries, but also pharmaceutical distribution -- are facing the need to efficiently and effectively store, pick, retrieve, pack, and ship perishable and sensitive goods, which require special handling, monitoring, and carefully tuned environmental conditions. Yet they face additional challenges -- the cold-chain storage market is expanding, with some reports projecting a CAGR of 9% from 2023 to 2028, meaning that warehouse managers must balance surging demand for cold-stored goods with the increasing need to reduce energy costs and carbon emissions. "What we are seeing for refrigerated supply chains is this pinch -- a need to do ever more with ever less," notes Carsten Spiegelberg, Managing Director - Middle East & Africa, SSI Schaefer. "To meet the growing complexities of the industry, it's not enough to find a quick fix. Companies need material flow experts with industry know-how to consider all angles of a facility and seamlessly blend cold-chain logistics solutions with individual processes." Cold chain storage solutions Careful planning is always the first step in optimizing temperature-controlled infrastructure. To increase efficiency and cost-effectiveness of cold storage warehouses, there are several factors to consider from the beginning. Optimizing air circulation and product storage density Since different products and comestibles require different storage temperatures, cold storage warehouse temperatures can range from -34°C to 0°C, with some even reaching 21°C. However, there is often a trade-off between storage density and air flow. Selecting the right storage system that enhances the cooled air circulation while increasing the storage density in the given facility footprint is critical in the planning phase. Semi-automated solutions for cold storage space optimization Ideal for deep-freeze facilities for bulk storage in the manufacturing sector and delivering maximum space utilization, channel storage setups with semi-automated drive-in racking systems are an accessible step towards automation, offering high throughput, enhanced safety, and reduced time for workers in refrigerated facilities. Capable of following either the Last in-First Out (LIFO) or the First in-Last Out (FIFO) principle, these systems use channel vehicles like SSI Orbiter® and a corresponding docking station to store and retrieve pallets. Compared to a static, manual pallet rack system, a mobile racking storage system is an effective way to boost storage capacity in a given space -- by up to 85%, while maintaining full selectivity typically required in distribution centers. This system involves racks that move along floor rails via electric motors to create an aisle only where needed, and it offers smart lighting that only activates in occupied aisles for reducing energy consumption, as well as a night parking option that optimizes rack spacing for maximal cold air circulation. Future-ready automation systems for a seamless, cost-optimized cold chain Due to the need for cold goods to maintain strict timetables and a closed cold chain, storage systems must handle incoming goods efficiently and cope with expected and unexpected upticks in demand. The best way to systematically manage the complexities of cold-chain material flows is with a fully automated storage system that seamlessly interconnects components, such as: Pallets Automated storage & retrieval systems (ASRSs): The SSI Exyz is an automated high-density storage system with extremely high space utilization, particularly in high-bay warehouses, and it saves 25% of energy compared to conventional machines while functioning across different temperatures. Shuttle solutions: As a future-proof, fully automated channel storage option, the SSI Lift & Run Shuttle System (SLR) provides simultaneous access to multiple racks for top-tier performance and high storage density. Other storage types Shuttle solutions for layer trays: For high-volume picking of goods such as comestibles for shop deliveries, tray shuttles and conveying systems enable fully automated robotic picking or support efficient semi-automatic goods-to-person picking. Storage solutions for container, bin and carton loads: For loads of varying dimensions, scalable solutions using SSI Miniload, Flexi Shuttle or Cuby maximize storage density while accommodating specific load and performance requirements to support automatic or semi-automatic case and piece picking. Platforms for central control of refrigerated facilities Although there are various warehouse automation technologies that track material flows, issues such as coordinating multiple systems often arise and there is a clear need for centralized monitoring and control -- particularly with the complexities of refrigerated facilities. To tie all aspects of a cold storage warehouse together, end-to-end software such as WAMAS® or SAP EWM (Extended Warehouse Management) offer clear visualizations and comprehensive tools to manage processes, resources, and stock levels.

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Logistics, Operations, Supply Chain

Metro Supply Chain Acquires SCI Group

PR Newswire | January 10, 2024

Metro Supply Chain Inc. ("Metro Supply Chain"), a strategic supply chain solutions partner to some of the world's fastest growing and most reputable organizations, is pleased to announce that it has entered into an agreement to acquire SCI Group Inc. ("SCI"), a leading Canadian third-party logistics (3PL) company, from Canada Post Corporation ("Canada Post") and Purolator Holdings Ltd. This transformational transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2024, subject to customary closing conditions, including the receipt of regulatory approvals. "We are thrilled about the prospect of acquiring SCI," said Chiko Nanji, Metro Supply Chain Founder and Group Chairman. "There is an excellent strategic fit between SCI and our existing operations and culture, and we are excited about the future as a combined entity. This acquisition will strengthen our position as a true champion in strategic contract logistics services." The combined entity, with deep Canadian roots and a shared focus on customers, will be ideally positioned to compete in the global supply chain sector. "The strategic alignment between Metro Supply Chain and SCI is strong. We look forward to leveraging our complementary strengths and shared emphasis on operational excellence to generate growth for clients in multiple sectors, including technology and healthcare, and expand our e–commerce offering," said Metro Supply Chain President and Chief Executive Officer Chris Fenton. "The addition of SCI to the Metro Supply Chain group will offer opportunities to enhance our expansion efforts south of the border." Headquartered in Québec, with significant regional support offices in the Greater Toronto Area and operations across Canada, the United States and United Kingdom, the combined entity will create a diversified supply chain solutions provider. Metro Supply Chain is highly engaged and committed to its people and the communities in which it operates. It is mindful of its social, economic and environmental impact and seeks ways to work more sustainably and create a positive impact on the planet, customers, teams and communities. Chris Galindo, President and CEO of SCI, will remain with the combined entity, ensuring the continuity of SCI's commitment to excellence. "There is a strong strategic alignment between Metro Supply Chain and SCI, from our strong people–first cultures to our focus on innovation, best-in-class systems, and contractual business models and complementary technology, client and vertical mix," explained Galindo. Metro Supply Chain is grateful to its existing and new financial partners, LDC Logistics Holdings Inc., CDPQ, Investissement Québec, and the National Bank of Canada, for their support in this transaction and the future growth of the combined entity. "With this 10th acquisition by Metro Supply Chain since it began working with CDPQ in 2018, the company is actively pursuing its strategic development plan," said Kim Thomassin, Executive Vice-President and Head of Québec at CDPQ. "We are proud to support the company in its efforts to strengthen its position as a Canadian leader, accelerate growth projects and expand activities, particularly in the United States and the United Kingdom." To support its global strategic vision, Metro Supply Chain has concluded an agreement with the Government of Québec through Investissement Québec, for an investment by way of a private placement in Metro Supply Chain. "To ensure the economic and sustainable development of Québec, it is essential that we be able to rely on Québec companies and robust supply chains. With this investment in Metro Supply Chain, we are helping a Québec company to become an international leader in the logistics sector," stated Pierre Fitzgibbon, Minister of Economy, Innovation and Energy, Minister Responsible for Regional Economic Development and Minister Responsible for the Metropolis and the Montréal Region. "This transaction aligns with Investissement Québec's mission to create a logistics champion and support its geographic expansion outside Québec. Metro Supply Chain is setting an example by making a significant investment to improve its productivity by automating its warehouses. The Covid-19 pandemic highlighted the importance of supply chains, which are an essential link in the Québec economy," said Guy LeBlanc, President and CEO of Investissement Québec. "Metro Supply Chain welcomes Investissement Québec as one of its new strategic partners and is very pleased to be able to count on the continued support of LDC Logistics Holdings Inc., CDPQ, the National Bank of Canada, as we pursue our global growth ambitions," stated Metro Supply Chain CFO Mathieu Descheneaux. "This strategic investment enables us to acquire high–quality companies like SCI to expand the range and depth of supply chain solutions we can offer." Together, Metro Supply Chain and SCI anticipate a bright future, delivering innovative supply chain solutions that meet the most challenging needs of their customers.

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Logistics, Supply Chain, Transportation

USPack Launches USPack Healthcare and Unveils New Branding

USPack | January 05, 2024

USPack, a national leader in same-day, final-mile delivery solutions, and a NewSpring Holdings platform company, today unveils new branding and launches USPack Healthcare. These moves mark a significant milestone in USPack's evolution and position the company at the forefront of innovation and customized final mile solutions, catering to the growing needs of healthcare, retail, and big & bulky customers in the modern logistics landscape. For over 30 years USPack has led the way in building tailored logistics solutions for some of the most prestigious names in healthcare including pharmacies, major hospital systems, and labs. More recently, USPack has quickly expanded into providing more complex and critical solutions supporting clinical trials, nuclear medicine, medical devices, and long-term care facilities, ultimately contributing to improved patient care and outcomes. In response to the ever-evolving landscape of the healthcare industry, USPack is committed to enhancing operational efficiency and ensuring the timely delivery of critical supplies by formalizing USPack Healthcare. Existing customers will continue to have the same high-touch service levels and benefit from increased supply chain visibility. As the final mile logistics industry undergoes transformative changes driven by technological advancements and customer demands, USPack has built a nationwide reputation for customizable logistics solutions encompassing speed, efficiency, and accuracy. The new branding, which includes a new logo, website, and updated color palette for USPack Healthcare, uses a mile marker to reflect the company's commitment to final mile precision. "Macro-economic tailwinds including the aging population, the growing life-sciences market, and the rise of in-home healthcare solutions combined with customer demand have us doubling down on our capabilities. We will build on our already robust service-centric solutions for routed and STAT final-mile solutions with the launch of USPack Healthcare," says Mike Clark, USPack CEO. "We're proud of our tech-forward approach, problem-solving mindset, and decades of experience serving the final mile. Our new USPack branding and the rollout of USPack Healthcare underscore the deliberate evolution of USPack as we look to expand our trusted customer relationships across all market sectors."

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Logistics, Supply Chain, Warehousing and Distribution

Harnessing the Transformative Power of Cold Chain Logistics with SSI Schaefer

SSI Schaefer | January 03, 2024

As average global temperatures rise and the demand for cold-chain storage grows worldwide, SSI Schaefer, a global leader in intralogistics and automated warehouses, is sharing best practices and key considerations on how logistics and operations managers can optimize efficiency and cost-effectiveness of cold storage warehouses. Cold storage warehouse managers -- particularly in the food and beverage industries, but also pharmaceutical distribution -- are facing the need to efficiently and effectively store, pick, retrieve, pack, and ship perishable and sensitive goods, which require special handling, monitoring, and carefully tuned environmental conditions. Yet they face additional challenges -- the cold-chain storage market is expanding, with some reports projecting a CAGR of 9% from 2023 to 2028, meaning that warehouse managers must balance surging demand for cold-stored goods with the increasing need to reduce energy costs and carbon emissions. "What we are seeing for refrigerated supply chains is this pinch -- a need to do ever more with ever less," notes Carsten Spiegelberg, Managing Director - Middle East & Africa, SSI Schaefer. "To meet the growing complexities of the industry, it's not enough to find a quick fix. Companies need material flow experts with industry know-how to consider all angles of a facility and seamlessly blend cold-chain logistics solutions with individual processes." Cold chain storage solutions Careful planning is always the first step in optimizing temperature-controlled infrastructure. To increase efficiency and cost-effectiveness of cold storage warehouses, there are several factors to consider from the beginning. Optimizing air circulation and product storage density Since different products and comestibles require different storage temperatures, cold storage warehouse temperatures can range from -34°C to 0°C, with some even reaching 21°C. However, there is often a trade-off between storage density and air flow. Selecting the right storage system that enhances the cooled air circulation while increasing the storage density in the given facility footprint is critical in the planning phase. Semi-automated solutions for cold storage space optimization Ideal for deep-freeze facilities for bulk storage in the manufacturing sector and delivering maximum space utilization, channel storage setups with semi-automated drive-in racking systems are an accessible step towards automation, offering high throughput, enhanced safety, and reduced time for workers in refrigerated facilities. Capable of following either the Last in-First Out (LIFO) or the First in-Last Out (FIFO) principle, these systems use channel vehicles like SSI Orbiter® and a corresponding docking station to store and retrieve pallets. Compared to a static, manual pallet rack system, a mobile racking storage system is an effective way to boost storage capacity in a given space -- by up to 85%, while maintaining full selectivity typically required in distribution centers. This system involves racks that move along floor rails via electric motors to create an aisle only where needed, and it offers smart lighting that only activates in occupied aisles for reducing energy consumption, as well as a night parking option that optimizes rack spacing for maximal cold air circulation. Future-ready automation systems for a seamless, cost-optimized cold chain Due to the need for cold goods to maintain strict timetables and a closed cold chain, storage systems must handle incoming goods efficiently and cope with expected and unexpected upticks in demand. The best way to systematically manage the complexities of cold-chain material flows is with a fully automated storage system that seamlessly interconnects components, such as: Pallets Automated storage & retrieval systems (ASRSs): The SSI Exyz is an automated high-density storage system with extremely high space utilization, particularly in high-bay warehouses, and it saves 25% of energy compared to conventional machines while functioning across different temperatures. Shuttle solutions: As a future-proof, fully automated channel storage option, the SSI Lift & Run Shuttle System (SLR) provides simultaneous access to multiple racks for top-tier performance and high storage density. Other storage types Shuttle solutions for layer trays: For high-volume picking of goods such as comestibles for shop deliveries, tray shuttles and conveying systems enable fully automated robotic picking or support efficient semi-automatic goods-to-person picking. Storage solutions for container, bin and carton loads: For loads of varying dimensions, scalable solutions using SSI Miniload, Flexi Shuttle or Cuby maximize storage density while accommodating specific load and performance requirements to support automatic or semi-automatic case and piece picking. Platforms for central control of refrigerated facilities Although there are various warehouse automation technologies that track material flows, issues such as coordinating multiple systems often arise and there is a clear need for centralized monitoring and control -- particularly with the complexities of refrigerated facilities. To tie all aspects of a cold storage warehouse together, end-to-end software such as WAMAS® or SAP EWM (Extended Warehouse Management) offer clear visualizations and comprehensive tools to manage processes, resources, and stock levels.

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