Cloverleaf's history traces to 1934, when it originated in Sioux City, Iowa as Farmers Produce Company. It expanded into freezer services first in Mankato, MN in 1952 and soon, to a similar operation in Sioux City. Expansion and innovation have characterized the company ever since and today, it operates more than 63 million cubic feet of warehouse space -- an increase of approximately 50 percent between 2006 and 2011 -- most of it freezer/temperature controlled.
The company manages its sprawling warehouse complex with HighJump's Enterprise 3PL third party logistics management software, in place since 2004. It manages the business side of the corporation with a Microsoft Dynamics GP ERP solution that is seamlessly integrated with the Accellos software.
Some 60 percent of the company's transactions with customers are conducted via electronic document interchange, with both inbound and outbound documents translated automatically by the middleware. Cloverleaf can trigger EDI uniquely from any point in the workflow.
The rapid implementation of the Sanford site is an example of how the Cloverleaf technology team's process works. "Initially, we conduct interviews with the existing staff to learn how they've being doing things," Mastbergen says. "We go through a similar set of questions for each customer. Then, we create a conversion plan with this information."
The warehouses for the most part feature standard racking, specified primarily in relation to its intended use: for example, to store raw protein products versus the market-ready products. Bin identification typically follows a company-wide protocol: letters for aisles; numbers for bays; odds on the right; evens on the left; with letters again used for racking levels.
Cloverleaf has a full range of certifications, including different ones from the USDA for its storage-only warehouses and for Farmers Produce's, with its emphasis on fabrication and packaging. Much of its export business is done with Russia, and it holds that government's various approvals and certifications. The Chicago Mercantile Exchange has designated it an Approved Warehouse, and the company maintains its own U.S. Customs Container Freight Station.