Who is Armada?

RG: Hello this is Rob Grimes with the IFBTA and I’m very pleased today to be with John Burke the CEO of Armada. So welcome, John.

JB: Thank you Rob.

JB: RG: John, certainly supply chain fills a very important part of the technology cycle within a food and beverage operation so what types of products and services specifically does Armada offer to the food and beverage industry?

JB: So we offer to our clients a full range of outsource supply chain management services. Commonly referred to as a 4PL. We have a suite of technology solutions, supply chain visibility, a software that we offer as a Saas to our clients, we do a wide variety of engineering consulting work and then in addition to that, we have operations in warehouse consolidations as well as in managing transportation and global logistics for our clients.

RG: Now you just said the word operations in that. So are you actually operating with logistics or are you managing it? So in other words, if somebody wants to come and just outsource that to you, is that something they can outsource to you?

JB: We like to view ourselves as a full-blown department of our large clients. So we do a full range of integrated supply chain management work starting with providing technology platforms and consulting solutions and then large scale operations in warehousing and transportation. So we offer a fully integrated suite of services to our clients.

RG: Now, when you use the word integrated and you start talking about all those different services, what we’re really talking about is managing relationships. And it would seem that you not only have the relationship with the operators, but you also have the relationship with the suppliers, the people who are actually down the food chain.

JB: Yes, so we step into large and often very fragmented supply chains and we act on behalf of our clients to really create efficiencies across the supply chain. Even more importantly is to improve the performance of the supply chain so we take the network that has developed, generally over decades for our clients, and turn that into something that functions almost as a closely held, virtually owned supply chain.

RG: Now you guys of been in business for a long time I think I read in the profile since 1890. Is that right?

JB: Right.

RG: So how did you actually evolve into the business that you’re in today? I don’t think you were around since 1890.

JB: No those were the horse and buggy days so supply chain was a bit of a different animal then. We actually grew out of a large meat company based in Pittsburgh,  Pennsylvania – North Side Packing. It was interesting, the company evolved and began to largely serve a variety of national restaurant chains in the 80s. As a part of those relationships, we began to work inside those supply chains and found a lot of opportunities to generate efficiencies for those clients. So as you said, as relationships matured, we began to become purely a supply chain management company for our clients. And so in 1996 we split the business off into our initial company, Hub One Logistics, and since then we’ve been offering purely supply chain management services and the logistics business and meat company have gone separate ways.

RG: But they still exist?

JB: North Side foods continues to exist and they are a division of Smithfield Foods now and they work with a number of large restaurant Brands across the world.

RG: Now I would think that given the start and where your company grew from, that it actually gives you a rather unique perspective as people think about supply chain and, very specifically, I’m thinking about things like food safety as one of the components that certainly everyone wants to track what is it – farm to fork these days – and supply chain sits in the middle. Are you offering solutions to cover that as well?

JB: Yes and so is you think about growing out of a manufacturing environment, obviously the incentive of all good manufacturing companies is to operate in the most efficient way possible across all of the manufacturing assets that are in play. And as we work in supply chains, we became frustrated because of a righty of supply chain issues that ultimately became manufacturing issues. So really growing out of that birthplace, we found ways to create efficiencies to reduce overall cost in supply chain, improve visibility of data, and use that not just to generate more manufacturing efficiencies but ultimately generate efficiencies across the supply chain. That includes traceability, food safety, and all of the really great benefits you have when you embark on a journey of full supply chain visibility on an in end basis.

RG: That really puts a lot of responsibility on your shoulders to be able to track and do those things for a client because it’s become one of those issues or challenges for people today. I think about the headlines actually over the last couple of years in this particular thing and so, those particular aspects of become more and more important to food and beverage operators.

JB: And obviously, solutions lie in having great technology solutions in finding ways to have data readily available across large supply chains that support the transactions that all the relevant traceability and food safety data can follow products as they move along the supply chain.

RG: Well great, listen, it’s been great to have you today and we really appreciate, the IFBTA appreciates the industry partner support of Armada and yourself and I think going down the path, there’s going to be a lot of opportunities for our members, not only to take advantage of you as a partner, but also the education and information that you bring to the table to help them operate better, more efficiently and safely for their customers.

JB: Thanks Rob, we are looking forward to participating.

RG: Great, thank you for joining us today. Rob Grimes with the IFBTA and here with John Burke the CEO of Armada.

Leave your thought