Liquor is big business. Every year the equivalent of 3 billion bottles of spirits, 5 billion bottles of wine and nearly 70 billion bottles of beer are transported across the U.S. to satisfy the national thirst for alcoholic beverages*. Speed, safety, and great care are needed during the transportation of these beverages to ensure they get to the customer in good condition, and for this reason much of the distribution of these products is handled by specialist companies.
The biggest and best-known North American distributor of wines and spirits is the Miami-based, Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits (SGWS), which has been going strong for nearly 90 years. GMR Safety talks to Mark Booth, vice president of supply chain technology at SGWS, about the company’s use of the Powerchock trailer restraint system for loading dock safety.
GMR Safety: Firstly, can you please introduce yourself and your role in SGWS and then give us a few words about the group.
Mark: As the VP of supply chain technology, my responsibilities include all the material handling equipment in our distribution facilities that amount to over 14M sq. ft., along with lift trucks, rolling stock, safety equipment, racking and most anything that has to do with what goes on inside a warehouse. Here at SGWS we have 44 production facilities across the United States, and we have a lot of cross-docks for all our internal trucking. I’ve been with the company for 35 years and doing this part of my job for the last 20-years. I’ve been involved in all our new-plant construction projects.
GMR Safety: One of the main points that comes out of your Corporate Social Responsibility report 2021 is just how important employee safety is to the company. Has always been this way or has it increased in importance over the last few years?
Mark: It’s always been important, but the safety focus has probably increased over the past 3 or 4 years. We now have a fully resourced internal Environmental Health & Safety (EHS) department, and each facility has its own site safety specialist covering all aspects of EHS including fire protection, trailer loading and unloading for dock safety, personal protection, safety training and much more.