IoT Helping Food Transporters Meet Increasing Demand

E-commerce giants like Amazon and Walmart are continuing to change customer expectations when it comes to acceptable delivery timelines and transportation requirements. Customers are increasingly going online to buy cosmetics, housewares, health and personal items and more recently, as research shows—groceries, further fueling the decline of brick and mortar retail and food transporters.

According to a 2019 survey by Coresight Research, the number of US shoppers buying groceries online has jumped in the past year from less than a quarter to well over a third. In the same survey, 39.5% of respondents said they expect to shop online for groceries over the next 12 months into 2020. While a recent report by the Consumer Goods Forum says that online grocery shopping is set to increase by 163% globally by 2023.  

This direction that shoppers are taking is a strong indication that we’ll see more refrigerated vehicles. With greater demand for online groceries, there is a larger focus on temperature-sensitive loads and last-mile deliveriesBut as demand growsso do the challenges for carriers. Temperature fluctuations, inability to comply with food safety regulations, blind spots in the network and chain of custody breakdowns can all lead to problems, rejected loads, shipment delays and consequently, revenue losses.  

Small reefer operators face many of the same challenges as larger operators. Smart IoT solutions help to break down the barriers for operators of all sizes, ensuring they can keep up with the changing habits of shoppers and the challenges that bring.  

Smarter Strategies for Food Transporters

Transportation and logistics companies are integrating IoT technology as part of their core strategy to improve fleet and load visibility, maintain adequate temperatures and comply with regulations. IoT also brings advanced features such as Controlled Atmosphere, which can help to lengthen the shelf-life of products travelling long distances in intermodal shipping containers, making life easier for food transporters and ensuring the integrity of the cargo at the end of the journey. 

Ensure Accuracy and Two-Way Reefer Control 

Today, operators can utilize sophisticated monitoring systems that connect directly into OEM refrigeration units to ensure accurate temperature readings and remote control of the units. If needed, operators can remotely initiate a defrost, run pre-trip inspections, change reefer state and adjust reefer temperature. Two-way control gives food transporters the ability to manage vehicles from a centralized location, so drivers can concentrate on what they do best—driving. Two-way monitoring can also help mitigate human error by enabling fleet managers to deploy quick corrective measures when issues occur.   

Stay up to Date with Real-time Temperature Alerts 

Constant temperature monitoring and real-time tracking protect carriers against potential losses. In the event of a discrepancy between the trailer temperature and set-point, an alert informs staff, who can quickly take corrective action. If, for example, a door is open for too long and the temperature changes, key personnel get notified via email or text. This means operators can identify a problem before the goods are lost or compromised.  

Bolster Regulatory Compliance 

Automating data collection and record-keeping safeguards operators as proof of temperature compliance is always available. In addition, a telematics solution allows users to send automatic reports to shippers or receivers to prove cold chain integrity and document chain of custody.  

Randy Martin, Compliance Manager with Dutch Valley, a PA-based bulk distributor says the ORBCOMM solution is invaluable in protecting his deliveries: “If the customer on the other end just decides they don’t want the load, they’re going to say the temperature isn’t right. We can prove quickly that the temperature was right, and they’ve got nothing to go against.” 

ORBCOMM’S reefer management solution is simple and complete. Smart IoT devices come with cellular or dual-mode satellite connectivity, sensors and robust management portals. To learn more about our next-generation cold chain monitoring solutions, visit our website, or email us

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