Food loss, especially produce, is typically the result of spoilage due to temperature excursion at an early point in the supply chain. Between 10% and 14% of produce loads are rejected because they do not meet temperature requirements. The supply chain has been plagued by poor visibility and limited data, contributing to rejected loads, which are very costly (millions of dollars annually), difficult to manage, and affect the shipper’s image.
When a load is rejected due to temperature abuse the options are limited. If the cargo is no longer edible, it must be dumped. If the food is safe to consume, the hunt begins to identify a suitable resolution. However, there are only a couple of options: find another buyer in the same vicinity (usually at a reduced price) or donate to a food bank.
In brainstorming solutions to customers’ rejected loads, DeltaTrak customer, Hwy Haul, evaluated several value-added products and services. The decision was made to provide clients with temperature monitoring devices, and the research began to identify the best option. Several products were investigated, such as Electronic Logging Devices (ELD), but declined, because they are costly and difficult to install. Further, ELD’s are typically not embraced by drivers.
Ultimately, Hwy Haul selected the DeltaTrak FlashLink RTL Prime In-Transit Logger. Real-time monitoring devices give shippers (and Hwy Haul’s operations team) the ability to see their load at all times, so temperature problems can be quickly addressed. According to Hwy Haul’s Product Manager, Ruby W., the DeltaTrak RTL is preferred because “everything is in one piece and the SIM card is inside. It’s portable and disposable.”
DeltaTrak’s RTL uses an on-line dashboard which allows effortless in-transit tracking of temperature and location, giving shippers and receivers a constant view of cargo conditions. A light sensor shows vehicle doors have been opened, indicating port inspection or possible tampering. Trip data is stored in the Cloud for compliance with HACCP and FSMA requirements. Extended battery life ensures the device will continue to operate on long trips.
Hwy Haul has been using the RTL for about two years. “We ship a bunch of loggers to our customers’ warehouses. When they have a load with us we ask the warehouse person to attach the device in the truck,” says Ruby. Both the customer and Hwy Haul are notified immediately when there is a temperature excursion, enabling timely corrective action.
Has this unique approach paid off? The industry standard for rejected loads is 10-14%. According to Ruby, when Hwy Haul began using DeltaTrak’s real-time loggers, their customers’ rejected load percentage was reduced by half. This saves shippers a tremendous amount of money and moves the world one-step closer to putting an end to food loss. But, for Hwy Haul, the benefit is more than financial. Ruby says, “I wouldn’t quantify it in terms of money saved. (The benefit) is the relationship with our shippers. If they don’t have rejections they feel we are more reliable. Our shipper retention is improving year over year. It is a combination of many factors, but definitely, the RTL plays an important role.”
DeltaTrak is a leading innovator of cold chain management and environmental monitoring solutions. If you (or your customer) are experiencing too many rejected loads, speak to a DeltaTrak account manager for a customized solution. Call 1-800-962-6776 for more information.