Supply chains across industries are unique and come with their own set of complexities, the cold food and beverage supply chain however is perhaps one of the most complex. When transporting fruits, vegetables, dairy, fish and meat, major variations in temperature and humidity can have a devastating impact on the entire shipment.
Fresh produce is acquired from different locations, which results in complex logistical operations. This has created a stronger need for companies to ensure that their goods are protected at every stage of the journey from spoilage, damage and theft. By incorporating IoT enabled tracking technology, companies can access real time data and gain supply chain visibility through every leg of the transportation journey. This will enable the firm to implement real time solutions as well. Wide Angle Visibility will allow companies more autonomy at each shipment stage and reduce the chances of product damage and spoilage, and ultimately reduce global food waste.
IoT enabled sensors work by sharing real time information through Wi-Fi and wireless networks. Sensors which are installed in goods containers, transportation trucks or even in individual storage units can monitor food items and track any changes in their environment like temperature or humidity changes and even shock, tilt and location impacts. RFID based sensors provide data about the movement and direction of produce coming in or going out of a given area.
Regulated temperature and humidity are crucial when transporting perishable food items. Nuts for example are severely affected by a higher moisture level in their environment as this leads to mold and toxins developing in them – a small change in the moisture level during the transportation journey could result in degradation of quality of the product as well as open food safety concerns for the company. Through deploying sensor technology companies will have an opportunity to make immediate adjustments and preserve product quality at every step of the shipment journey.
Theft in the food and beverage industry contributes to a high amount of loss. Through the combined use of GPS, RFID and sensor technology, companies can consistently track their shipments in real time and ensure that transportation carriers stick to correct routes and that shipments remain tamper resistant. Light detecting sensors on truck doors can also provide companies with information when it comes to unauthorized access to shipments through specific location as well as provide details related to the time and duration of breaches.
Garnering more control over the intricate food and beverage supply chain will help firms optimize their operations and have greater confidence in the quality of the products they are selling. Through the collection of data over time companies will be able to deal with problems at their root cause. Aside from providing increased quality assurance and compliance, this kind of technology has the potential to positively transform all supply chain functionalities proving it to be an investment that has endless scalable options for the future.