Growth // Culture

Changing the World From Inside Our Walls

May 14, 2021

Historically, Engineering and Maintenance (E&M) teams have had very defined roles in the temperature-controlled logistics industry: ensuring buildings and equipment were working and fixing them when they weren’t.

Well, that was then.

As the global food supply chain moves increasingly faster to meet consumer demands, with technological advancements and new thinking fueling the relentless pursuit of efficiency, Engineering and Maintenance has evolved from a reactional, day-to-day function into a strategic, forward-looking team that is essential to the goal of eliminating supply chain waste and reinventing how food moves around the world.

Lineage’s Engineering & Maintenance team oversees three essential facets of our business:

  • Infrastructure: From Underfloor Heating that keeps our floors level to roofs that help keep the cold in and the elements out, and everything in between, this team oversees and optimizes all the properties in our global facility network while also looking for new ways to standardize process and procedures.
  • Refrigeration: Cold is our business, and this team keeps us at the right temperature. Our Team Members must operate and troubleshoot complex cooling systems in real-time. The preventive maintenance our team conducts ensures our facilities are continuously running at peak efficiency and are also regulatory compliant.
  • Our machines: This team maintains food handling equipment, from forklifts and handle jacks to our advanced and complex system of automated machines and robots. Furthermore, E&M is solely responsible for ensuring that each facility has the right equipment, in the right place, at exactly the right time.

The evolving role of Engineering & Maintenance.

As our industry looks at what’s next, Engineering & Maintenance will be called on to solve for the integration between traditional warehouses and the increased use of automation and robotics. To do this, Engineering & Maintenance will need to be proactive, tech-forward and tied in with the Sales and Operations teams to ensure excellent delivery to our entire customer base. At Lineage, Vice President of Engineering Eric Krupa is working alongside his Team Members across our organization to turn ideas into realities that achieve meaningful results in areas like energy savings, safety and quality.

“When our Data Science team comes up with never-been-done-before ideas, it’s our job to help get them off the ground and provide real-world data points back in the spirit of continuous improvement.”
Eric Krupa, Lineage VP, Engineering

Always on the hunt for efficiency.

Right now, one of the most crucial issues in our industry is optimizing energy usage. At Lineage, our energy bill is our second-highest annual company expenditure. As we look at both new and existing buildings, the preplanning and observations provided by our E&M teams play a significant role in reducing our yearly energy spend, as well as our carbon footprint.

“Energy is our second largest expense, and this team can directly affect that bucket of moneywhen we can shave 5% off, that’s a huge impact to the bottom line.” - Eric Krupa, Lineage VP, Engineering

The quest to save energy and get more energy from renewables has spawned a new department that now works in conjunction with our Engineering & Maintenance division. Known as our “energy efficiency gurus,” the Energy Resources Center is a cross-functional team composed of Data Scientists, Finance and Operations teams, and Engineering and Maintenance teams that identify and implement energy efficiencies and promote an energy efficiency culture throughout the organization globally. As our industry becomes more complex, and our business grows internationally, it becomes even more imperative that divisions and regions within our company collaborate with each other, saving time and resources.

Maintaining standards for safety and quality.

Safety and compliance are two other areas that are an opportunity for E&M Team Members to drive meaningful change. SAFE is the #1 value of our company, so it is vital, even as e-commerce, automation and other changes in cold storage logistics add to the complexities of these roles, that we never lose sight of the most important agreement we have with our customers: to keep their products cold and maintain the integrity of everything we move, store and prepare. To this end, the E&M Team Members are essential in the continuous process of guaranteeing safe, quality products for our customers and for consumers across the globe.

“At the end of the day, we are all consumers of the food we store.  If we leave food safety and quality concerns to others, we risk the ones we love by releasing or distributing substandard products.” - Dr. Stephen Neel, Lineage Director of Food Safety

An important tool in the evolution of Engineering and Maintenance throughout the industry is having the right software to allow for departmental growth. In our case, we’ve made a decision to implement a standard CMMS-based tool (Computerized Maintenance Management Software) across the enterprise, allowing for streamlined and optimized workflows. When our E&M team wanted to incorporate labor management tracking and work order scheduling into our existing structure, we didn’t need to switch platforms to explore this opportunity. The end result is one team speaking the same language and working to achieve the same goals.

Limitless paths and possibilities.

Right now, as our Engineering and Maintenance Team Members are being redeployed in new and different ways, our industry is looking for talent to drive future change. With numerous opportunities in Engineering and Maintenance throughout the cold logistics supply chain, there is career path potential throughout the entire global network for those who are ready to step forward and make their mark.

Throughout Lineage, it’s our goal to ensure that Team Members are in roles that stimulate their thinking and advance their careers. As the E&M team grows in influence and impact, so will the possibilities within it and the opportunity for it to help reinvent the global food supply chain – and ultimately help feed the world.