APF Cold Storage & Logistics, for when service matters.

Tom Colyer, General Manager - Managing Business Change Following a Customer Success

In a service industry such as Cold Storage and Logistics, customers come and go. They are far more transient than in services that in a production sector. We see so many customers start small, and grow into large customers. It’s one of our many joys at APF Cold Storage and Logistics, being able to see our customers grow and help them on their way. When they store and have logistics services with APF CSL, they become one of the family. And we are so proud when they grow up to be large scale operations that service all of Australia.


One of our longest customers, who has been with us for 25 years has worked hard to grow their business. They started as a one pallet customer, and grew in to one of our sought after Cold Storage Self Storage Rooms. Over time, they kept growing due to his hard work, and great service attitude to his clients. He is now at that stage where he can afford to build and run a 200 pallet warehouse, and we are so happy to see them succeed and move on to bigger things.


We never like losing customers here at APF Cold Storage and Logistics, and it rarely happens, but we are so happy when customers leave due to us helping them grow. Naturally we will still work together, handling all containerised freight, Australian Quarantine and Imported Foods Inspections for the client, which means we can still help their business grow.


Over the years we have provided advice, guidance, and support. It’s all part of our strong service culture, and our company ethos which is based on succeeding when our customers succeed.


As this customer is leaving, it also means we have vacancy in our self-storage cold storage rooms from February. The last time we had this vacancy in our rooms was 2013, so it’s a real rarity that multiple rooms come up at once. If you are interested, be sure to send me an email, or give me a call to discuss.


Our self-storage rooms give clients 24/7 access to Cold Storage Rooms that enables them to do business at a time that works for them. It allows the client to manage their own pick and pack, and is also backed up by our DC1 warehouse crew, that is happy to receive and despatch goods when required. In essence is a self-storage cold store, with your own personalised warehouse management team.

Attendees enjoy a light morning tea of local produce, while enjoying the roof top views from the Majestic Hotel.

Tom Colyer, General Manager - AQ, EQ & GRIT Training with Brand South Australia

On Thursday, I attended one of the Brand South Australia Free professional development workshops, that is put on with the support of Bernie Lewis Home Loans.  The event on Thursday was run by Jo Marshall from Culturise and was in the amazing Majestic Rooftop Garden on Frome Road.


The session went in to an area that was completely new to me, which is the Adversity Quotient.  Commonly called AQ, it falls in to the same style of psychometric as EQ (Emotional Quotient).


AQ looks at how resilient people are, and how we can build on it to ensure our teams are well prepared to deal with the ever-increasing pace of today’s work place.  AQ is not only individual, but also team focused, and is a key part of ensuring a workplace culture is established that gets the most out of your team.


The Participants took a GRIT (A measurement and metric type for AQ) test, and everyone was given detailed feedback on how they can improve their overall adversity.


Some of the standout points that Jo raised was the ability for teams, and people to “Not Panic”.  It may sound simple, but having that ability to pause, assess, and then work the problem without panic, is much easier said than done.


APF Cold Storage & Logistics is firmly focusses on creating a strong workplace culture.  I want the team to enjoy working, and the tools provided in the session will help in making sure it stays a great place to work.


AQ is also a strong part of Industry 4.0.  Not only automation is seamless in the value chain, but the employees that deliver our goods, as part of our Refrigerated Transport need to have a high AQ, as if they are dropping off goods to clients, and are panicked, or upset, it reflects poorly on us, and our client. 


APF at all levels tries to embody the “Don’t Panic” rule, and we work hard to be the calming presence, when our customers are flustered. AQ is a big focus for us now, we just never knew the science and terminology behind it. 


This was the first Brand SA event I have attended, and it was great.  If I walk away from any session with one thing to think about, I consider it a success.  And at this event I took away plenty.  I will be looking far more in to AQ, and it was excellent to talk to other great local businesses.  A special thanks to Tania Cunningham from Blackbird IT for being so friendly to me at my first event too, and also to Helena Senesi for being so wonderful in making sure I had all the information for the event.

Attendees enjoy a light morning tea of local produce, while enjoying the roof top views from the Majestic Hotel.
Jo from Culturise discussed with the group why AQ is an important factor in developing high performance teams.

As the weather outside was champagne Adelaide spring weather, with fog and rain encouraging everyone to sleep in, I made my way to The Caledonian in North Adelaide for the RWTA's networking breakfast at 7am.


Today's event featured Glaciem Cooling showing off their new technology which seeks to make CO2 a more desirable option as a refrigerant compared to synthetic refrigerants.  The technology is impressive, and easily surpasses the efficiencies of Synthetic Refrigerants, and is able to compete with the industry standard Ammonia when the CO2 operates as sub-transverse temperatures (in simple terms, it will be a strong alternative to Ammonia in the future).


The presentation was detailed, yet understandable, and a robust discussion happened around the practicality of its use in large-scale refrigeration, and the risks that industry would have in adopting the technology.


If you are interested in what Glacium have done, you can find their information here.  They recently completed the refrigeration for the Peregrine Corporations' "The Bend" motorsport park, and it has been running well.  As the technology matures, it will be great to see this utilised in SA.


Thanks to RWTA State Chair Danny, RWTA EO Marianne, Robert and Hesam and the team from Glacium, and Dr Martin Belusko from Uni SA for the great event.  In my typical style, I asked a lot of questions, which they answered exceedingly well.


I am always so proud of what we do here in SA, and innovating refrigeration Tech makes me so happy.  If you are interested in refrigeration tech, you should check them out.

Tom Colyer, General Manager - October RWTA Networking Breakfast, with Glaciem Cooling

APF Cold Storage & Logistics, gives great care and service to small SA businesses and their self-storage cold storage & logistics needs.

APF Cold Storage and Logistics have always been about doing what the customer needs, rather than trying to make a client fit what we want.  When we started business in the 1908’s, we were in the centre of the migrant population that grew in Australia after the Vietnam War, and the Conflict in Cambodia and Laos.  The migrants that came to Adelaide were hard working and focussed on developing a better society, and a better life for their families.  They worked tirelessly, and we provided traditional Cold Storage to them.  It was then raised that these small business owners were looking for storage that was more flexible to suit their normal working hours, as opposed to the traditional Australian working hours.  APF Cold Storage and Logistics listened to the clients and developed our purpose-built self-storage lockers to give the clients exactly what they needed to thrive.


Self-Storage Cold Storage Lockers, sometimes referred to as Freezer Rooms or Cold Storage Room Rentals, are rooms that clients rent out, typically with an average occupancy time of over 5 years, which allows clients to run their business how they wish to, and APF CSL provides merely the Room and Equipment needed.  With lockers built in multiples, we can pass on those savings to the client, and offer them a fixed cost monthly, with 24/7 access, and complete security monitoring to ensure their products are safe, and on temp.


The great benefit to the Self-Storage Rooms, or Freezer Rooms, is that when you rent from APF CSL, you get a free storeman, who can accept your goods at our Athol Park DC during our regular hours, and then we can even put it away in your Freezer Room.  This means you, the client, can focus on growing your business, rather than managing logistics.


Self Storage Rooms are just another way that APF Cold Storage and Logistics has worked with clients, to help them grow.  Our culture of service first, and to grow with the customer, means we want you to succeed because it means we succeed too.


If you are interested in Self Storage Rooms, please feel free to contact us to discuss your options.

Ian & Harrison at APF Cold Storage & Logistics manage self-storage cutomer supply chains.

Tom Colyer, General Manager - Self Storage & Freezer Rooms, Another way we are different

Last week I had the opportunity to attend the Beer and BBQ Festival here in Adelaide at the Wayville Showgrounds. It was one of those great times in business, where enjoyment and work are perfectly aligned.


The Beer and BBQ Festival seeks to assist craft brewers to connect with a large audience that they would not normally have access too. I was visiting a few of our clients at the event, and everyone remarked on how South Australians are passionate about their beer. People from Adelaide also like to believe that they are quite refined when it comes to the finer things in food and drink, so it is no surprise that this festival that focusses on craft beer was a hit.


We are also incredibly parochial in South Australia. We favour the underdog, or in this case, the craft producer over the multinational companies. Smaller organisations are perfect for craft beer. Craft beer needs love and care, and smaller organisations are much more focussed on those aspects.


Care needs to be taken all along the craft beer supply chain as well.  Beer is now recommended to be treated like Milk- keep it refrigerated, and at a constant temp until it is consumed. This ensures the finer details of a craft beer is preserved, giving the consumer a much richer tasting experience.


Care within the logistics supply chain is where APF Cold Storage and Logistics specialises. We offer our Craft Brewery clients a range of services including Bonded Storage, which delays the Brewer’s tax liability, and we excel at Refrigerated Logistics. Our organisation is small and flexible enough to be able to pivot with our clients, to help them achieve what they need to achieve.


Much like successful brewers, APF Cold Storage and Logistics are small, nimble, and agile. We pride ourselves on boutique style service, which aligns with the care and passion of craft brewers and distillers.


As I talk to more people within the South Australian food and beverage industry, it has become apparent that now is the prime time for boutique business.  Never has there been more demand for unique producers, and at APF Cold Storage and Logistics we are no different.  Small is the new big.

Nat Badger, Operations Manager. at APF Cold Storage & Logistics manages cutomer supply chains usisng CartonCloud.
APF Cold Storage & Logistics, gives great care and service to small SA businesses and their cold storage & logistics needs.

Tom Colyer, General Manager - Small is the New Big

APF Cold Storage & Logistics began using warehouse management platform CartonCloud in 2017, after previously relying on paper based inventories, and basic excel spreadsheets to track and manage customer stock levels across our Distribution Centres. 


CartonCloud enables all customers to track their stock and follow stock movements inwards and out and is easy for our customers to manage and customise, regardless of product type. It is also accessible and can be used by customers on any device - making it practical and efficient.


CartonCloud saves us time and our customers money, as it allows us to keep up to date with our stock counts and enhances our stock integrity. From a Cold Storage management perspective, it enables simple control and precise storage statistics throughout our various site locations.


Recently CartonCloud visited APF to shoot some video on the founding of their business. Watch the video here and see if you can spot our General Manager Tom.

Nat Badger, Operations Manager. at APF Cold Storage & Logistics manages cutomer supply chains usisng CartonCloud.

Nat Badger, Operations Manager - How Carton Cloud simplifies our administration, allowing us to focus on the customer.

Lucas House, Finance Manager- Using Xero to streamline our financial systems

For some time now, APF has had a goal to streamline as many business and logistical processes as possible, so that we can simplify our customers' supply chain, and make savings internally which we can then pass on to you.


As one of these changes, APF has been using the cloud-based accounting platform Xero since the start of 2017, chosen it for its ability to integrate customer data and cross-reference information to create a business plan that facilitates the day to day work load. Xero, as an online database, also gives us access to the creators when problems arise and this helped us decide to use XERO over other databases.


While there are many benefits to using a platform like Xero, some of its benefits include:


* Xero works well with processing software such as Carton Cloud, integrating a number of key accounting features, and allowing for transparency between our Accounts and Operations departments.


* Access to information such as customer payment history is easy.


* Tracking current and future bills is straight forward, and up-to-date bank feeds keep the business cash flow on track.


* Following up on payroll is simple and the internal alert system lets you know important dates such as when to pay superannuation.


* Being a web-based data service, all information is securely saved on the cloud.


For those yet to move to an online accounting system, or looking for alternatives to your current platform, our main tip is to make sure that XERO is setup for your type of business. The view seen when first accessing Xero may not seem like it suits a business that is not retail based, but with a little modification XERO can be setup for any business structure. Xero provides help whenever it's customers need it, and once you are set up it can offer significant time savings, which in turn lead to cost savings for you and your customers.

Lucas House coaches Nat in using Xero to simplify financial systems at APF.
Nat using online platforms Xero and Carton Cloud to simplify financial systems at APF.

Don House, Founder & Director- Our Early Customers

Athol Park Freezers, now APF Cold Storage & Logistics, was established in the early eighties, a time when the paradox of Australia being a part of the Asia-Pacific region, yet still embracing the European and American cultures of our ancestors was obvious, but not often a topic of discussion.


The (minor) influx of migrants at the end of the Vietnam War altered our perception of our isolation in many positive ways. None was more obvious than with food. Vietnamese people in particular are passionate about food and cooking and are keen to preserve and promote their traditional recipes and share them with other Australians, of all cultures.


APF CSL rose to the challenge of serving these new customers from the beginning, helping to facilitate the importing of specialist frozen food from Asia and assisting people, to whom English is a second language, with quarantine and other regulations and in offering flexible and innovative storage and distribution solutions. 


We still offer these services to our customers today, and still work with people of all cultures to help them simplify their supply chain, and meet Government regulations, including quarantine.

Tom discusses Cold Storage and logistics with staff at APF Cold Storage & Logistics.

Tom Colyer, General Manager - The APF CSL Service Mentality

 Our principal objective here at APF Cold Storage and Logistics is to bring value to our clients.  We have various ways of achieving this such as pure economies of scale, allow us to deliver savings that customers by themselves are not able to achieve.  Whether through Refrigerated Logistics, or Cold Storage, this is the fundamental principle of a 3PL (3rd Party Logistics), provider.


Within Adelaide and South Australia, we face harsh conditions, through our climate, supply costs (power being a huge factor) and geographic location, compared to the major population centres, causing a natural selection to occur where businesses need to ensure they streamline their entire logistics chain to purely survive.


I see that economies of scale are the baseline for value.  Where 3PL's need to strive, is saving the client time.  You can earn more money, but you can never get more time.


We pride ourselves on knowing the market and being able to see problems before they occur.  We develop deep customer relationships in order to understand the customer, and from here we can understand their needs.  The goal is to know what the customer will need before they realise it.  And then present this information to the customer.  In short, when the customer stores with APC Cold Storage and Logistics, they not only get the benefits of reducing supply chain costs, but they also get the benefit of having a Logistics Manager and Supply Chain manager, working for them, and giving them advice, included in the service.


By integrating seamlessly with a customer, we ultimately provide our customers with the knowledge, and experience to run their logistics.  Saving time, and money, while it is a thoroughly positive experience.

Tom discusses Cold Storage and logistics with staff at APF Cold Storage & Logistics.
Tom & Nat discuss storage and logistics at APF Cold Storage & Logistics' newest location DC3.

"The RWTA hosted its first networking breakfast for 2018 at the Caledonian in North Adelaide yesterday, and was well attended by the industry.  The focus of the event was on Chain of Responsibility and the new legislation regarding labour hire companies and the requirements to be a registered labour hire organisation in order to comply with regulations designed to ensure all companies are meeting fair work obligations.  While it is a rapid change of requirements, I welcome to increased regulation as it will ensure that all members of the work force are paid in accordance with state requirements.


It was also great for the SA members to meet the RWTA's new Executive Officer, Marianne Kintzel, and to hear her direction for the organisation.  I look forward to a growing industry association that can provide value to its members."

Refrigerated Warehouse & Transport Association's new Executive Officer, Marianne Kintzel speaks at the SA RWTA's networking breakfast.
Refrigerated Warehouse & Transport Association's SA State Chair, Danny Somner speaks at the SA RWTA's networking breakfast.

For more information on the Refrigerated Warehouse & Transport Association of Australia, visit their website at http://www.rwta.com.au/

APF Cold Storage & Logistics are proud to be a member of the Refrigerated Warehouse & Transport Association of Australia Ltd.

Tom Colyer, General Manager - RWTA Networking Breakfast

Don House, Founder & Director - the changing Cold Storage industry

In our first News article on the APF Cold Storage & Logistics news page we asked Don House, founder of Athol Park Freezers, now APF Cold Storage & Logistics, for his recollections about the changing Cold Storage industry from his 34 years of experience.


APF, originally called Athol Park Freezers, opened for business in February 1983 at the time of the devastating Ash Wednesday bushfires. We were operating an ice-manufacturing business and required seasonal storage and started with a "modest" premises. Australia had won the America Cup, Bob Hawke was Prime Minister, SA was gripped with drought and the economy was in recession, showing that even businesses started during hard times can be a success.


Many South-East Asian migrants were settling into the north-western suburbs and were already importing frozen goods to Australia from Thailand and Cambodia. Over time the range of products we see imported and the countries they are from has greatly increased, with some products, such as giant (apple) snails not allowed to be imported any more. 


We are now licensed to store goods under quarantine and regularly accommodate government-imported food inspections. This system is in part a result of the scandal in the early 80’s when kangaroo pet meat, and even horse meat, was substituted for beef exported to the US. This resulted in greater government controls and licensing in all levels of food processing, including cold storage and refrigerated transport. For a time after the roo-meat substitution scandal, we would receive pet meat with blue dye dripping from it and a government certificate had to accompany all transfers of meat. 


Computing was in its infancy and warehouse management systems were a dream for the future. Our first warehouse management system was an old MS DOS based database called Foxpro, licensed and adapted for our use. It was on a computer with 128k RAM. We now use Carton Cloud, iPads, and work on computers with multiple screens to accommodate all of the data we need access to.


In the Sixties ‘Bulk Handling’ was the buzzword and most wholesale meat was sold to local butchers as carcasses. When I started Athol Park Freezers in ’83, there were still the remnants of the bulk-handling push of the sixties, when we tried to move everything with conveyer belts and hopper vehicles however, over time, packaging and palletization became the most common way of handling foodstuffs. By the Seventies, packaging had improved, and the government set up a national pallet-hire system.


In the seventies and eighties roads and trucks had improved to an extent that many small transport operations could start up. Road transport became very competitive with owner-drivers dominating the line haul routes. In the nineties and noughties many of these were rationalized and, in this decade, both transport and cold storage are mostly owned offshore, making APF’s family owned and run business very rare.


This kind of competition is good though, as Australia must find its place in the evolving world systems or suffer becoming irrelevant. I would like to see all companies embracing environmental protection, immigration and respect for worker safety and well-being, both in Australia and in the countries of our trading partners.

I think we will see some benefits of our adoption of clean energy. I think immigration will continue to make Australia a vibrant and interesting place to live.

Don House, Founder & D



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