Look what we've done

This April issue marks the finish of a process that began in January 2005 when most of you may have noticed that the cover of the magazine looked different. The inside looks different now as well. We have undergone a complete design change, hopefully one that will make the magazine more attractive and easier to use.

Actually, we have done more than simply change the design. First, we took a detailed look at how the refrigerated logistics chain is organized and tried to find a new way to present our news to reflect that organization. In the past, we have tried to organize our news pages by subject category. However, that may not have made the news easy for all readers to find.

As we looked at the logistics chain, we noticed that the biggest link is the wholesale warehouse — supermarket, wholesale grocer, food-service, it doesn't matter; wholesale warehouses sit right in the middle of the chain. A great deal of activity goes on upstream from those warehouses getting products from the field to processors and manufacturers and from those shippers to the wholesalers. We determined that everything in the logistics chain before products reach the wholesale warehouse could be defined as an inbound activity linking producers to the wholesale distribution chain. Obviously, this inbound activity includes for-hire motor carriers as well as growers, packers, processors, and food manufacturers.

If we define all activity leading to the wholesale level as inbound, it just makes sense to call all activity at the wholesale warehouse and out through the distribution chain to retail and consumer markets as outbound. Now, every month, readers should be able to find the news they want under our new subject headings. If it involves processors or the motor carriers that serve them, look on the pages headed Inbound. For news of wholesale distributors and their retail customers look for Outbound.

In the past, we headed our general industry news as Upfront, a term that makes more sense about the way we put the magazine together than about the industry it seeks to serve. From now on, look for news about vendors to the industry on the pages headed Industry Developments. To us, the news sections about government activity and associations may still be upfront, but they will appear on the Inbound, Outbound, or Industry Developments pages as easily recognizable sidebars.

We started our old eTech column when the Internet was just beginning to make itself felt throughout the logistics chain. Now almost everyone has a web site, and computer technology permeates every aspect of business. From now on, look for information about new software, computer developments, Internet services, reference materials, and publications on the pages headed Information Management.

Our news group that features new products has been called From Suppliers, but as we looked at that category, we realized that it is all about the equipment and supplies used by our readers. Deciding that simpler is better, we now call those pages Equipment & Supplies.

Every magazine runs a column devoted to people in the industry and their job changes or recognition for some activity. Sticking with the simple approach, look for news about industry personnel under the heading People & Places.

Readers use the magazine to plan for convention and trade show attendance. They also look for announcements from industry associations. We continue to run a convention and trade show calendar. Look for it on the pages devoted to association activity headed Meetings & Associations.

The feature articles in the heart of the magazine remain as they have been. We hope we put them on the pages in an attractive way that makes them easy and desirable to read.

As with every product, we are not finished until we get things just right. And we can't get things just right until we hear from our readers. If you want news presented some other way, say so. Tell us what you think. Our phone numbers appear on the masthead alongside the table of contents, and we can be reached easily by email. My address is [email protected]. If I can't address your comments directly, I can certainly forward them to someone who can. So keep reading and enjoy the new Refrigerated Transporter.

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