They came out of nowhere early one morning and within seconds, straight-line winds ripped the metal siding off the Maple Leaf Farms refrigerated distribution center, exposing racks of frozen duck entrees to the blustery weather.
"It took every one by surprise, even the National Weather Service," said Don Ratliff, vice-president of operations, Maple Leaf Farms. "We put a call into Hanson Logistics as soon as we saw the extent of the damage. They responded quickly, and we were able to minimize product loss and keep our distribution process pretty much intact. But it was quite an ordeal."
That day, March 16, 2006, saw Hanson launch an around-the-clock shuttle and warehouse operation to move fresh and frozen ducks and poultry from the damaged Milford IN facility to Hanson's Benton Harbor MI refrigerated warehouse 71 miles away. The project would eventually require product relocation to two other nearby Hanson facilities. The company dedicated two of its trucks, reefer trailers, and drivers to shuttle the finished production from the Milford processing facility to the Hanson facilities.
More than 3,800 pallets were relocated and Hanson warehouse staffing was more than doubled, with crews working 24/7. Hanson's IT staff moved quickly to replicate the order processing, scanning, and information management processes that had been in place at the damaged DC.
Once all the product was relocated, Maple Leaf Farms relied on Hanson to resume shipping of more than 60,000 cases of frozen entrees per week.