Inbound Logistics | January 2022

Today, in an estimated 10,000 to 12,000 stores across the United States and experiencing rapid international growth, the company’s commitment and personal approach hasn’t changed much. Not only did that approach help the company survive COVID, but committed relationships with retailers and carriers enabled it to thrive, doubling the number of stores carrying its products in 2021. Undercover Snacks’ journey wasn’t without the transportation challenges experienced by other small and mid-sized businesses (SMB), including manufacturers and retailers. For them and others, the secret was a combination of strategies both tried-and-true and technology-based. Like many others in this crunched-capacity market, they tied themselves tightly to their transportation partners. “We’ve had to cultivate relationships with a number of major carriers and transportation and logistics companies,” says Michael Levy, chairman and co-owner of Undercover Snacks. “For various routes, we have developed a good rapport with some companies we think highly of, but they also face challenges including driver shortages and other bottlenecks impacting performance and dependability.” Consistency and a little bit of compassion have proven to be a winning approach for securing capacity in the current freight market. “It stems from how you treat drivers and whether you provide them with business throughout the year that keeps them happy during the crazy times,” says Manny McElroy, senior vice president of transportation for ITS Logistics, an omnichannel third-party logistics provider based in Sparks, Nevada. “That keeps the drivers in your network and keeps the capacity with you.” Strong carrier relationships proved decisive for Undercover Snacks during the pandemic because it enabled them to t was only back in 2017 that Undercover Snacks, a New Jersey-based manufacturer, was making its chocolate and quinoa snacks by hand in a single commercial kitchen and delivering them from the back of an SUV.

Undercover Snacks, a chocolate quinoa treats SMB,

thrived during the pandemic thanks in part to committed relationships with retailers and carriers.

January 2022 • Inbound Logistics 191

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