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Sterling Solution’s major areas of expertise include:

  • Demand Chain Economics
  • Sales and Operation Planning
  • Distribution Optimization
  • Transportation Management
  • Third Party Logistics
  • Fleet Management
  • Cold Chain Management
  • Food Safety
  • Project Execution
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The Integrated Food Chain (IFC) Center

The IFC Center was established by Georgia Tech's Supply Chain and Logistics Institute and Sterling Solutions LLC as a collaborative effort among academic, government and industry constituents.  Our vision is to assure that growers, processors, retailers and logisitics providers can deliver on their "quality promise" in highly efficient ways through the use of systematic and synchronized linkages throughout their supply/cold chains.


IFC Center Description

IFC Membership Overview

The Integrated Food Chain (IFC) Center is ultimately about the need for a strategic capability among all food chain members. The Cold Chain service offer consists of seven interrelated products;

1. Product Abuse Testing – how and at what temperature and duration points products deteriorate throughout the supply chain and how severe the deterioration becomes throughout the test design which is based on real life operating environments.

2. Food Engineering – based on abuse testing our science details how products are or should be designed and packaged in handling the rigors of selected distribution channels.

3. Cold Chain Assessment and Audit – the vast majority of producers, distributors, foodservice operators and retailers have a vague understanding of abuse their frozen and perishable products experience throughout the extended cold chain. Specifically pertaining to limited insight about when, where and how products deteriorate throughout the cold chain. Moreover, there is little, if any, quantification or impact assessments made on compromised product in terms of cost related to declining shelf life, lost sales and spoils.

4. Predictive Modeling – through the combination of food science (#1 and 2 above) and the cold chain audit and temperature monitoring technology we are able to predict, based on cumulative average ambient temperature, when selected products will leave the ‘safe zone’ and begin the deterioration process.

5. Performance Reporting and Index – this provides a performance rating for all of customers’ deliveries in a given day or other selected time periods. As an example, when a retailer has daily deliveries that can total in the hundreds an efficient way is needed to capture and report the ‘quality’ of deliveries based on meeting prescribed temperature ranges.

6. Continuing Education and Certification – the IFC provides and blends the science of food engineering and food safety with operations management in offering a unique approach to continuing education of members, clients and sponsors. It is the learning center for growers, producers, logistics providers, retailers and foodservice operators interested in applying cold chain processes to differentiate their business and to further provide a frictionless relationship with their customers.

7. A Learning Lab for Undergraduate and Graduate Students – the IFC provides hands-on training of students where they will have the necessary skills and proven experience required by growers, processors, distributors, retailers, foodservice providers and research and analytical firms.

Cold Chain Management Series - Certification Courses

The Cold Chain Management Series is comprised of four courses to help guide you through the Cold Chain Management process--from postharvest to auditing to integration with current government regulations. These courses will assist you and your organization in providing solutions and practices to continuously improve Cold Chains.

The series will provide supply chain and quality managers of all levels with insights and proven practices with standardized and sustainable 'Cold Chain' programs in keeping customers satisfied and their companies efficient through:

  • Collaborating in product design, specs and packaging
  • Defining the right distribution practices and controls
  • Assessing food quality risks and economic loss
  • Implementing processes and technology
  • Maximizing sales and reducing spoils

Cold Chain Management

There is a critical common need for both domestic and international food chains to embody engineering systems that integrate the flow of food through the diverse components of the chains. In this course, students will focus on the Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve and Control process. Upon course completion, students will have a better understanding of cold chain management and methods to put it into practice effectively. We strongly recommend that the Cold Chain Management course is taken prior to the Cold Chain Assessment and Audit or Cold Chain Integration courses.

A Preview of Course Topics

  • The Cold Chain Defined
  • Policies, Processes and Practices
  • Controls and Enabling Technology Training
  • How to implement a Cold Chain Management Strategy

Cold Chain Assessment and Audit

Guiding a company through the development of standards and the design of an audit is critical to the success of your cold chain. Assuring optimal quality and minimal waste is more environmentally friendly and economical than increasing production to compensate for losses. This course is relevant to companies of all sizes as cold chain standards are evolving into a regulatory tool and a supplier and retailer specific requirement. We strongly recommend that the Cold Chain Management course is taken prior to the Cold Chain Assessment and Audit or Cold Chain Integration courses.

A Preview of Course Topics

  • Components of an Audit
  • Converting the Cold Chain Process into an Audit
  • Monitoring, Verifying, and Designing Audits
  • Applying and Leveraging the Value of the Audit against GFSI Certification
  • Using an Audit as a Management Tool

Strategies for Successful Postharvest Handling of Fresh Produce

This course covers the fundamentals of fruit and vegetable biology after harvest, and the essential technologies to maintain product quality after harvest. Topics include quality and maturity, food safety, postharvest pathology, temperature and humidity measurement and management, ethylene effects, modified and controlled atmospheres, and measurement of product quality. Detailed descriptions of the harvesting and postharvest handling technologies commonly used for specific crop groups are also included.

A Preview of Course Topics

  • Postharvest Biology
  • Quality Factors for Horticultural Crops
  • General Practices of Food Safety
  • Postharvest Pathology and Strategies for Disease Control
  • Ethylene in Postharvest Technology
  • Maintaining the Cold Chain Storage Systems

Cold Chain Integration

Increasing government regulation and the demand from customers for continuously available high-quality food products are the primary drivers of cold chain integration. The complexity of food chains is created by international sourcing and increasing diversity of products with different requirements for temperature and handling. This dramatically increases the challenges of maintaining high-performance cold chains. This course develops principles, practices, and tools required to assess and continuously improve cold chains and assure that government regulations and customer expectations are met. We strongly recommend that the Cold Chain Management course is taken prior to the Cold Chain Assessment and Audit or Cold Chain Integration courses.

A Preview of Course Topics

  • Economic Value of Cold Chain Integration
  • Strategy and Value for Process Modeling
  • Cold Chain Network Design
  • Role of Technology in Cold Chain Integration
  • Cold Chain Integration Trends and Innovation
  • Information Requirements for Integration and Tracing