Cool It!

Technology keeps pace with food companies' need to optimize cold chain maintenance.


Transform A Cold Chain Into An Advantage

By Christian Schenk

Food now travels further than ever from farm to fork. As local farms and main street restaurants have given way to corporate entities and national chains, food has gone from traveling across town to traveling across the country. As we all know, much of that food must be properly refrigerated or food becomes susceptible to bacteria. Just one tainted shipment could cost a company its reputation, its future orders and millions of dollars in lost sales and liability.

Fleets face increasing pressure to follow strict temperature standards to ensure that food is not spoiled during transport. On the cost-saving side, they must also optimize reefer fuel usage and overall reefer fleet utilization, among other issues.

Bottom line: there are no second chances when it comes to the quality of the food people eat, many producers and retailers are now demanding that the fleets that transport their goods—whether traveling across town or across country—provide real-time data, including proof of temperature and knowing where their products are at all times.

A reefer management solution enables fleets to manage trucks and untethered reefers. The right system can provide a real-time look at both tractors and trailers within a single view. It also provides instant access to important information such as proof of temperature, door status and trailer locations and also helps ensure temperature compliance.

For example, XATA’s new reefer management solution integrates with XATANET and provides fleets with tools to track temperature data throughout a delivery and to ensure they are getting the most efficient use from their reefer fleets. Having instant access to this information helps fleets increase supply chain visibility and intelligent reefer management solutions also help with the following:

Reduce costs: Fleets can reduce fuel costs by closely monitoring fuel consumption, door status and temperature status with reefer management. Other cost-reducing factors include reduction of maintenance costs through preventative alerts and reducing food spoilage liability.

Increase customer satisfaction: Customers want to know from shippers: “Did my products arrive on time and were they kept at the proper temperature the entire time they were in your possession?” The right reefer management software can provide this information in easy-to-read graphs and charts.

Improve safety and compliance: Knowing the exact location of products ensures compliance with government and industry regulations.

Address driver performance: Data provided can give visibility in to driver behavior such as unscheduled stops, unsecured trailer doors and idling. Fleet managers can put this information to use immediately—talking with drivers to be sure they understand what is required of them, and, if necessary, providing additional training.

Reefer management provides the power to manage an entire fleet of trucks and reefers in one system. With a single-view of in-cab and reefer fleet data provided by the right reefer management system, managers have the right information at their fingertips to reduce delivery costs and improve customer service.

Schenk is vice president, product marketing, XATA Corp., Minneapolis.

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