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FSDF: Promoting excellence in food and drink logistics

01 August 2013

The FSDF, which celebrated its Centenary in 2011, is the sole trade body which represents and supports the interests of the entire food logistics industry. The CEO, Chris Sturman and the federation’s administration team are committed to ensuring its members’ voices are heard by all the relevant governmental departments, NGOs, trade bodies and organisations, in the UK and Europe.

Its purpose is to ‘Promote excellence in food and drink logistics’ and it does this by providing support and advice on cost efficiencies, environmental impact and sustainability, good business practice and legislation. It also generates new business and networking opportunities, and through the organisation’s profile with Government, academia and other allied trade bodies, it ensures that the industry's interests are represented at the highest levels. The Federation today covers the whole temperature controlled storage and distribution industry, from frozen to ambient. And with its main members from the food and drink storage and distribution industry, the FSDF also has retail, foodservice and wholesaler membership and Associate members who supply a wide range of equipment, vehicles and support services.

FSDF / Transfrigoroute
FSDF and Transfrigoroute UK (TUK) are celebrating the completion of the integration of the two organisations, announced at the FSDF’s autumn conference on 1st October 2012. Chris Sturman explained: ‘The integration of Transfrigoroute UK into FSDF has been months in the making, and we’re delighted to announce that this has been successfully completed at a very important time for the industry.’

Mr Sturman continued: ‘The integration of Transfrigoroute into FSDF ensures we can now provide our combined membership with an unrivalled source of industry knowledge and expertise, networking opportunities and membership services to cover all aspects of temperature controlled storage and distribution across the food supply chain. It also strengthens our ties with allied associations across Europe.’

Specialist knowledge
The FSDF specialises in providing services specifically designed for food and drink logistics operators and also individual support and advice to members on a wide range of topics Since the integration of Transfrigoroute UK with the FSDF, the merged organisations have developed and launched the FSDF Transfrigoroute Committee which comprises 17 representatives from distribution operators, refrigeration manufacturers such as Thermo King, Carrier and Frigoblock, equipment manufacturers, fleet engineers and fleet management experts.

The newly formed committee is focusing on a range of issues and supporting the members in their understanding and liabilities surrounding the proposed new regulations for the phasing out of HFC gases in mobile refrigeration units. This particular issue is at the top of its agenda and it is particularly helpful that representatives of major mobile refrigeration suppliers such as Thermo King, Carrier and Frigoblock are represented. Other issues such as the development of longer trailers is also on the committee’s agenda as is input into wider F-Gas regulations, which are currently under review in Brussels. The Technical and Safety Committee is another important arm of the FSDF with the aim of sharing best practice as well as helping its members to develop a better understand of relevant legislation and safety regulations.

Chris Sturman also commented: "Health and Safety in the workplace is such an important issue, historically and currently, and the FSDF’s Technical and Safety committee represents the future. It demonstrates the prowess, knowledge and experience of highly professional individuals with a great depth of experience in the food and drink logistics supply chain. The committee is comprised of experienced individuals in engineering and refrigeration as well as safety advisors and specialists who use their considerable knowledge of best practice to enhance services for FSDF members.”

The committee recently launched ‘The Loading Bay Safety Guide’ which was assembled by the Chairman of the Technical and Safety Committee, Ian Hancock, a professional Health and Safety consultant/trainer. The guide was produced to raise awareness of the hazards faced in the workplace and how operators can avoid injuries and fatalities. This completes a suite of FSDF Guides to cover the wide range of storage, handling and wider business issues.

Mr Sturman explained: "This publication is just one example from our knowledge library, which covers key aspects of business best practice, which are currently available free of charge to all members. The Technical and Safety Committee is also spearheading the initiative to ensure compliance to UK and EU regulations (DSEAR/ATEX) which relate to refrigeration systems using Ammonia. We are working hard to ensure the risks surrounding these systems are recognised and managed correctly to ensure that any risks to the health of workers dealing with explosive substances are eliminated for all our members.”

Other active committees include Business Affairs and Education and Training.

Training & development to support the industry
The FSDF has launched a range of training and skills solutions for the temperature controlled logistics industry, working closely with companies to ensure the training meets the needs of employers as well as to provide a focused and continuous Professional Development Pathway for individuals working in the industry.

The FSDF’s Professional Development Pathway programme will be delivered in association with Skills for Logistics and other specialist business partners to establish a quality assured national network of partners who are all experts in the temperature controlled logistics sector.

Mr Sturman commented: ‘We are exceptionally proud of our training and Pathway programmes, which have been specifically designed to provide quality career training and development within the industry.’

The Pathway qualifications include funded and full cost training packages that will help employers meet their legislative obligations and in addition support staff career development.

As the FSDF aims to be the authoritative voice on skills development issues across the food and temperature controlled logistics sector, this new industry training programme proposes an initial offer that will continue to develop with the maturity of the FSDF’s ‘Pathway Qualifications’.

A global voice
The FSDF have built close connections with fellow trade associations, and also sit on DEFRA and Department for Transport industry committees. The federation also frequently interacts with trade bodies such as the British Hospitality Association, the Food and Drink Federation, the British Retail Consortium, UK Dairy and Chilled Foods Association.

The FSDF has a global reach, as an affiliate partner of the International Association of Refrigerated Warehouses, working with the America based World Food Logistics Organisation, the Global Cold Chain Alliance and ECSLA, the GCCA European Divisions. Following the integration of Transfrigoroute UK into the FSDF, the newly created Transport Committee is the dedicated transport focused area of the organisation, building on the internationally recognised brand name to provide the combined membership with an even louder, stronger voice throughout the UK and Europe.