Last month we detailed the Americold Operating System (AOS) – our unique business ecosystem – and the operational rigor it promotes among and between Americold’s network of integrated temperature-controlled warehouses. Read more here. This month, we’re looking at how the consistency this ecosystem delivers translates into dependable uniformity for our customers, as well as saved time and money. We’ll also explore AOS innovation and its benefits.
Empower & enable
The AOS comprises a handful of focus areas and key performance indicators (KPI) across Americold’s business. It defines actions, activities, behaviors, and metrics to forge a clear path to excellence. Americold created this framework in concert with food producers, retailers, and distributors to align with their goals and to create value.
“The AOS eliminates the innate uncertainty many food producers, retailers, and distributors face as their products move through the traditional cold chain process,” said Daniel Cooke, Americold’s director of marketing. “So whether your product is in California, Illinois, or Georgia, if it’s within Americold's network, you can be assured of a consistent experience and efficient performance.”
This peace of mind saves time, as customers no longer need to track down and manage varying performance reports from multiple cold storage facilities and providers. It also reduces risk, as Americold’s foundational elements are designed to protect our customers’ brands.
The power of people
People are Americold’s most valuable asset, with both customers and Americold associates playing a key role in the success of the AOS. Being the closest to industry trends, customer insight helps drive an evolving approach. These contributions to Americold’s continuous improvement deliver value-added services and optimized processes across the network.
On the other side, Americold associates define our culture, execute on our promise to deliver with efficiency and simplicity, and commit to ideals in standardization and waste reduction. Their intimate knowledge of AOS processes and direct line of sight to customers promote a more efficient AOS. In-house experts – many of whom have decades of experience – also oversee AOS focus areas.
“Americold’s commitment to leveraging the right people in the right ways, and engaging our customers in meaningful dialogue, is a major part of creating a quality integrated network,” said Daniel. “All these elements come together and continually enhance the quality of service we provide to our customers.”
Growth to scale
The AOS structure and operational cadence are designed to scale, which means rolling out the framework is a priority when Americold expands its geographical footprint or integrates new acquisitions. When new customers come on board, they are introduced to the AOS – its tools, behaviors, and beliefs – and how they can play an active role in improving their KPIs.
The AOS is also a means for introducing operational innovation. For example, a few of Americold’s newer facilities utilize a smaller footprint but are taller and incorporate automation. Cranes rather than forklifts set and pull product, enabling the installation of pallet racking that is much higher than traditional cold food storage facilities. Overall capacity increases, yet environmental impact decreases. Several AOS focus areas address optimal use of warehouse automation and are integrated into the design and ultimate operation of our facilities.
Americold also uses the AOS to track the performance of facilities that pilot certain energy sustainability changes (i.e. LED lighting, energy efficient doors, streamlined work paths etc.) to determine their impact with widespread adoption.
As technology and the industry evolves, so too does the AOS. If there’s a promising or proven way to improve efficiency or reduce environmental impact, Americold will explore the method, pilot the technology, and move for widespread adoption so the advancement can be put to work.