I interviewed Dan Rimkus who discussed Dynamic 3PL: Ahead of the Curve.
Dan, can you first provide a brief background of yourself?
Sure. I started Dynamic 3PL nearly 20 years ago. My entire career has been in logistics of some sort. Prior to starting Dynamic, I worked for a couple of tank truck carriers. We did a lot of work for Dow Chemical, and that had led to Dow requiring a third-party logistics company to manage some of their tank truck shipments. So that is how I got started back in 1997.
From there, we've now developed it into three different divisions. The first is transportation management, which is now encompassing of all modes. So whether it's LTL, truckload, intermodal, international container, we can manage that for our customers, including small parcel warehousing and order fulfillment. So we can bring product in from overseas, store it in our warehouse, ship it out to all the fulfillment throughout North America.
Lastly, our contract packaging. So, many of our customers now have us do display building, kitting, gift building, and we're actually packaging food-grade products in a clean room environment into retail packs.
So those are the three different areas that we've developed and become experts in over the past 20 years.
Why is the greater Chicago area an ideal location to find a full-service 3PL?
Well, there's many reasons. First, Chicago is a natural hub. Much of the country's interstates run right through Chicago. Within the Chicago radius, or from Chicago, we can serve 66% of the population within two days and over a third of the population overnight. So you can hit a large portion of the country in a very small time frame out of this region.
Secondly, it's also cost-efficient from a transportation standpoint. Because it's a natural hub, there's quite a few various modes of, whether it's trucking companies, inter-modal rail ramps are all based right here in Chicago. And that allows us to provide the most efficient shipping operation for our customers.
Being close to the Elwood container ramp, the BNSF ramp, there are thousands of containers a day that come in through the west coast and are de-vannedright in our backyard.
Other companies...let's say you're based in Indiana or a couple hundred miles outside Chicago, there's a fairly significant increase in your rates for those containers, because they'll still coming into ramps right here in the Chicago area.
So those combined forces companies, our customers, to look for 3PLs like us, right here in the greater Chicago market.
What is meant by a full-service 3PL?
Well, there are many firms out there that consider themselves 3PLs today. Some will provide packaging services, some warehousing, some fulfillment, some transportation, where we do all of those things for our customers. So each and every one of our customers is unique, and we provide unique solutions to them that are tailored just for their needs.
I know there's a competitor of ours, for example, that will provide the warehousing and transportation, but they outsource the kitting operations to an assembly company. That creates extra time in the supply chain for our customer as well as cost in transportation to and from that third party. So by provided all of those services under one roof, we are able to meet every logistics need for most of our customers.
Your website refers to a one-stop shop. Can you explain what that entails?
Yeah. That's kind of a carryover from what we just discussed. A typical customer of ours, for example, one of our customers, a healthcare company, is basedout of Canada. Their product is brought in from overseas. We manage that aspect. So we bring their product in from the manufacturer overseas. We put it on the rails in LA, bring it into the Elwood ramp, dray it into our warehouse, which is just a matter of minutes away, de-van it, take their product, [inaudible 00:05:10]it, separate it by like items, but an I-tag on it, or a license tag, scan it, put it into inventory. And our WMS system is a real-time system, so as we scan the inventory, our customers can see that through our web portal.
Then we do, literally, everything they need us to do after that. All fulfillment needs. So whether we have to kit that or stretch wrap it through our heat tunnels, or just ship full pallets to distributors, or large big-box retailers like Costco and Rite Aid and CVS. We can manage that entire process, including all the EDI compliance issues, like advanced shipment notices. We take care of all of those aspects for our customers. So the only thing they need to focus on are their core competencies, which tend to be producing and procurement of their goods and the sales of their goods. Everything else is handled by us.
So that's what we mean when we say "one-stop shop."
What makes you different or unique in the industry?
Well, many of our competitors focus on one or two of those services that we provide, where we provide all of those services. We also provide contract packaging, which is unique to a 3PL. This is really getting us into the manufacturing belt. We have a chocolate product that we actually package the bulk chocolate into 4.7-ounce retail bags that you'll see at Costco, Walgreens, Rite Aid, CVS. We have granola products. Same way.It's in all the big box food stores.
We also do liquid transloading. We transload liquid products out of bulk tank trucks, stainless steel tankers, 7,000-gallon tank trucks into 55-gallon drums or 275-gallon totes or even pails, down to a 1-gallon size.
We do this in a clean-room environment for any food-grade product. So we have the HEPA filter system, positive airflow, so that it's a very clean environment whenever we're doing any packaging.
We also have a refrigerated section. So we can provide both ambient and refrigerated storage for products that require refrigeration. And we will have our SQF level 2 certification completed this December.
What is SQF? And how can that be a benefit to your clients?
Well, SQF stands for Safe Quality Foods. That has become the go-to standard within the food-grade industry and anyone who is associated with servicing the food grade industry. A lot of this has been pushed by the big-box retailers. But they are now requiring anyone in the supply chain... Well, I should say they're requiring it yet, which is why I say we're ahead of the curve. They will soon be requiring anyone in the supply chain to become SQF certified.
We believe we will be one of the first 3PLs in the country that will achieve the SQF certification. It's part of the Food Safety Modernization Act, which went into effect in 2016. It's forcing all the food manufacturers to take a closer stewardship of their product throughout the supply chain.
So basically, what SQF is, is similar to an ISO 9000-type quality program where there's a strive for continuous improvement. But it takes that much farther. It also gets into cleanliness because you're talking about food and sanitation. So it documents everything you do. Every employee has to be trained to SQF standards. Every employee has to be documented that they've been trained. Those files have to be maintained. So it's a very strict quality program that's not only good for our food-grade customers, but it's good for any client in general. It helps us run more efficiently. And that's another unique part of the SQF program. They actually put an emphasis on being efficient as well as being safe and running a sanitary operation.
Thank you, Dan, for sharing today.
Thank you, Dustin. Appreciate it very much.
About Dan Rimkus
President at Dynamic 3pl, llc