With a growing global market that includes a strong demand for fresh food, supply chain’s cold side has never been more important. Companies want to ensure their product is fresh, as well as safe, when it reaches consumers. However, governments and organizations add another layer of complexity because they want to guarantee the same things but through regulation. For produce, fruits, seafood and other fresh-to-consumer items, the U.S. Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), signed into law in 2011, governs how producers and shippers ensure food safety.
These directives illustrate the emphasis on preventing loss, contamination and spoilage rather than merely responding to it. This shift in focus requires new solutions and processes that can provide visibility and documentation from origin to destination, and perhaps beyond. IoT technology is part of the answer because smart options provide insight into not only the location of every shipment, but its environmental conditions whether it’s a full truckload, one pallet or an individual package.
Keeping Fresh Food Safe
Farmers and other food producers are implementing technology to aid growing and harvesting, but that is only part of the solution. The supply chain must maintain real-time visibility by monitoring location and environmental conditions during the entire chain of custody—from field to warehouse to consumer—to ensure the safety, freshness and quality of food products. When a recall occurs due to a contamination, it is ideal if the government and companies can trace the origin of the contagion in order to prevent the problem from happening again. Technology helps document chain of custody and control enabling people to know where their food comes from, how it is processed and that it is guaranteed to be fresh.
Can you imagine tracking all or most of this manually?
It seems like a lot of work and resources. Therefore, the supply chain will need to adopt new processes and digital tools to comply with regulations and industry standards. Technology solutions that can automate and document will provide a competitive edge by continuously logging shipment condition data and transmitting it to the cloud for easy retrieval and compliance reporting.
One solution is the low-powered Bluetooth-equipped (BLE) sensor tags that can be attached to containers, pallets or even individual cartons of produce, pharmaceuticals, or other sensitive cargo to provide detailed, real-time information about shipping conditions. These sensors monitor temperature and humidity then connect to a wireless gateway that transmits this information along with up-to-the-minute location data to a cloud application that keeps stakeholders informed. If anything goes wrong—a temperature threshold is exceeded, there is a light exception or cargo strays from its scheduled route—alert notifications automatically go out to let authorized personnel know immediately so they can take action.
Another, new, option is 4G LTE technologies such as LTE Cat M, which is the second generation of LTE for the IoT, and offers up to 10 years of battery life for connected devices that don’t need the highest bandwidth. This technology is ideal for applications that need widespread coverage on a low-power network for reliable connectivity, such as multi-mode supply chains.
CalAmp’s new-to-market SC iOn™ Trak SC1204 is a wireless gateway that communicates with multiple Bluetooth tags. The solution is ideal for transport and storage applications because it offers the low-cost, low-power LTE Cat-M cellular with multi-country support and 2G fallback.
These two technologies work together to provide a reliable, cost-effective way to gain visibility into sensitive shipments throughout the entire supply chain, from warehouse to destination. To learn more about how CalAmp can help you prevent risk to your food and pharmaceutical shipments, visit our Cold Chain Solutions page. Visit with the team in person during the 2019 United Fresh Expo, in the FreshTEC area, on June 11-12th at booth 16027.