Nearly one-third of globally grown food is thrown out every year, totaling $35 billion in losses and 1.3 billion tons in waste. The United States alone wastes over 40 percent of all the food it produces.
Although personal food waste is a leading contributor to these staggering numbers, food loss often occurs before products even hit market shelves. Approximately 12 percent of all food waste occurs during distribution, which means a large portion of perishable goods don’t actually make it from truck to grocer before spoilage strikes.
If your fleet is transporting food, beverages, or other perishable goods across state lines or to the next city over, your drivers are probably aware of the risks that spoilage can pose to a haul. But how can fleets help reduce this waste and take control of their part in the cold chain? New technologies like wireless temperature monitoring and humidity sensors allow fleets to track temperatures in-transit to prevent product spoilage, decrease rejected loads, and meet regulatory compliance requirements.
How does food spoilage occur in the fleet industry?
Whether your team stores, distributes, or delivers temperature-sensitive products, an unbroken cold chain is critical. It can require precise record-keeping and if something goes wrong, it can lead to rejected loads and unhappy customers. To maintain the freshest, highest-quality product, perishable goods must be stored at a certain temperature in-transit.
This can be challenging, however, when a change as small as one-degree can be the cause of thousands of dollars in spoiled products. What’s more, if a truck is hauling goods that require varying temperature requirements—like poultry and fruit—the possibilities for a rejected load can be even greater. And even if a product is placed onto a truck at the correct temperature, environmental conditions, power outages, or even an open door can cause a change in temperature enough to signal a rejected load.
Rejected loads can negatively impact a fleet in several ways:
- Cost: The carrier is required to compensate the shipper for the value of the spoiled goods through a direct payment or insurance claim.
- Waste: The carrier is required to dispose of spoiled goods, typically in an environmentally friendly way that can often be costly.
- Inefficiency: The truck might need to be taken to a washout facility, contributing to additional mileage and costs.
- Customer service: A rejected haul can strain customer relations and complicate securing future business.
What is temperature monitoring?
A temperature monitoring system can be the difference between several hundred pounds of food spoilage and peace of mind.
Temperature monitoring systems can provide a reefer management solution that helps fleets monitor temperatures in-transit to prevent product spoilage and rejected deliveries. Temperature monitors, like Samsara’s Environmental Monitors, offer automated and continuous temperature logging so fleets can eliminate manual recordkeeping and make it intuitive to provide accurate temperature readings in real time. Not only does this help carriers communicate effectively with customers, but it also ensures Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) compliance. Because temperature and humidity information is continuously logged, fleets can easily pull historical data as proof of product quality to regulators.
How do Samsara’s temperature sensors work?
Samsara's plug and play WiFi monitors and cloud-based software make it easy to oversee cold chain logistics and collect continuous temperature data.
Whether a fleet has boxed trucks or refrigerated trailers, Samsara’s wireless sensors allow trucks to monitor temperature, humidity, and reefer settings in real time. Fleet managers can configure automatic mobile or email alerts to detect temperature fluctuations so temperatures can be quickly adjusted if necessary. To do this, fleet managers or dispatchers can designate an acceptable temperature range and enable notifications in the case of temperature fluctuation. Fleet managers can also set a specified timeframe before a notification is shared so something like a door that's been momentarily opened does not automatically trigger an alert.
How do organizations use Samsara environmental monitors?
Food providers and foodservice distributors alike rely on Samsara temperature monitoring to maintain the integrity of their products and keep their customers happy.
Alex Blunk is the Logistics Director at San Francisco-based brewpub, Fort Point Brewing. Blunk and his team use Samsara temperature monitors to ensure their beer maintains an ideal temperature and doesn’t succumb to temperature spikes that could cause their products to be undrinkable. “Temperature stability for beer is very important,” Blunk said. “We can rely on Samsara’s temperature monitors to make sure the beer we package at our brewery is being delivered at the freshest state it possibly can be.”
Foodservice distributors, like Cash-Wa Distributing, also use Samsara to ensure customers are satisfied with their products. Chad Henning, Co-President of Cash-Wa Distributing, believes Samsara has helped their business achieve a high level of product quality that’s allowed them to secure more customers. “With Samsara’s always-on temperature monitoring, we can show that we’ve taken great care of the product every step of the way. We’re confident we’re compliant, and we’re winning more business.”