Cold chain storage firm plans to double capacity

Royale Cold Storage (RCS), one of the biggest cold storage facilities in the Philippines, is expanding its site network to further increase capacity and broaden its service menu as it ramps up digitalization of its operations. 

RCS CEO Ferdinand “Joey” Tongson said the company hopes to double its capacity from the  47,000 pallet positions in the next two years.

RCS, which has been in the cold chain business in the country since 2010, is also backed with highest food safety standard ISO 9001: 2015 certification and FSSC 22000 v5 certification, RCS ensures every product it handles – from meat, vegetables, eggs and marine products to pharmaceutical items – complies with local and international standards and is safe for consumers.

Royale Cold Storage facility in Plaridel, Bulacan currently has the capacity of 23,000 pallet positions and growing.

To support its growth goals, Tongson said they have chosen AEB for its Cold Chain Warehouse

Management System (WMS) because the German-based cloud software specialist was able to “meet our requirements and they provide the best value for money in terms of WMS implementation.”

Tongson said that AEB has 40 years of experience in global trade, logistics and IT, gives RCS visibility on shipment status, quality management, inventory, packing and dispatch of goods, making the Philippines’ leading cold chain logistics provider’s operations more seamless and less prone to errors. 

According to Tongson, RCS realized the need to digitalize operations. “The shift will enable us to do real-time stock updating and ensure faster transactions in, out and within the warehouse, boosting efficiency across all our processes,” shared Tongson.

RCS started looking for a viable partner in 2014 for its digitalization journey, prioritizing one that not only meets its requirements but also understands every aspect of the company’s complex operations.

In choosing AEB, Tongson cited the German firm’s WMS is designed to improve supply chain operations in cold storage.

Cold chain WMS facilitates data collection for efficient putaway, picking and packing of goods inside RCS’ cold storage warehouse with the help of mobile computers by Honeywell that are specifically designed for cold environments. The system assigns a QR code for each item in the inventory with all the necessary information such as product, batch and serial number, and shelf life, all of which the Honeywell handheld scanners can read in one scan. This process empowers warehouse managers with a more reliable network of data while simplifying complex warehouse management processes in real-time and with fewer errors.

AEB understands that digitalizing warehouse operations goes beyond transitioning from a paper-based system to a paperless one: It also means elevating food safety and management, which RCS is internationally certified for. 

According to Tongson, AEB’s Cold Chain WMS helps the company manage items that are not compatible and consolidate compatible items, which is vital in allergen management.

“Through the AEB WMS, we can seamlessly customize the system to manage these different types of items and with fewer errors,” he added.

The Cold Chain WMS by AEB gives RCS real-time inventory updates and clear visibility and transparency

on available stocks. The system’s automated slot allocation and improved storage space utilization help speed up all transactions with different clients. The customizable WMS also cuts down time of receiving and confirming deliveries to clients through AEB’s system-assisted route and mobile applications, which Tongson said “makes our customers delighted.”

 RCS believes that automating operations is the first step in becoming the biggest cold storage provider in the country, which it aims to achieve in the next two years. The local cold chain logistics provider has also been receiving a lot of local and international inquiries regarding COVID-19 vaccine storage.

“Our cold storage facility can handle different sets of temperature from +5°C to -20°C. We can handle any type of vaccine, which we expect to come in the next two to three months,” Tongson said.

Tongson also noted that the pandemic has heightened  the need for a smarter cold chain industry in the country.

For RCS, the future of better food handling starts with a stronger integration of cold storage practices now. Changing consumer needs and market trends, including growing demand for food items without a longer shelf life for stocking up on, just-in-time food deliveries and easy-to-prepare or ready-to-eat food, means industry players must optimize operations and reinvent strategies to stay competitive.

Automating warehouse management makes operations not only more resource-optimal but also cost-efficient and more capable of following safe distancing protocols.

“The one thing the pandemic has taught us is that regardless of the industry, office work can be done almost anywhere. As the Philippines positions itself as one of the top offshore service providers in Asia embracing a 24-hour economy, we see more restaurants in the future providing 24-hour services to customers who want quality food anytime of the day. Of course, the cold storage industry is one of those key elements that will enable the food industry to provide quality service,” said Frans Kok, general manager of AEB Asia Pacific.