Regulations like the ELD mandate and the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) come with their ups and their downs. While regulations often impose extra costs and burdens, it’s also true that thoughtful implementation of regulations can lead to enhanced capabilities and profitability.
One common thread that runs through modern trucking and transportation regulations is technology, and in particular the use of enhanced monitoring technologies. Typically the regulations are aimed at using monitoring technologies to increase safety, and this is certainly true of the FSMA regulations regarding refrigerated transport.
But better reefer management not only improves safety; it can also improve both service and profit. Here’s how.
The goods hauled in a reefer are generally more susceptible to environmental damage than those in a dry van. It’s common sense, after all: Goods contracted to ship via reefer will need to be kept at or below a certain temperature. But along with the increased revenue from hauling a refrigerated load comes increased risks should the refrigeration system somehow fail in transit, including the risks of having to pay out costly claims when the cargo is damaged from prolonged exposure to temperatures that exceed a given point. It’s just common sense, then, that solutions that monitor temperatures and status lower the risks of damaged refrigerated freight and the dollars lost to the attendant damage claims.
A good reefer monitoring solution is thus a good way to help manage the risks associated with hauling reefer freight. There are several capabilities that a complete solution will bring to the table.
Reefer Temperature Sensing
At its most basic, reefer monitoring can be as simple as device that measures temperature and checks in at given intervals. Even with this most basic of solutions, fleet managers should be able to customize how often devices check in, with typical ranges being anywhere from every 30 seconds to every 5 minutes. Fleet managers should also be able to configure alerts that are sent when the monitored temperature exceeds a given point, as well as configure how those alerts are sent. Text (SMS) messages are a common choice, but the system should also be capable of sending alerts via email if desired. Finally, the FSMA final rule requires that, upon request, carriers need to be able to demonstrate that required temperatures were maintained – so even a basic temperature monitoring solution should be able to provide historic as well as real-time temperature data.
Extending Reefer Risk Management
Aside from the basics afforded by temperature monitoring, good refrigeration monitoring solutions can also be integrated with the most common reefers on the market, Thermo King and Carrier’s Transicold. In addition to compartment temperature, such integrated solutions will also be capable of monitoring the compartment’s temperature set point. Set-point monitoring aids fleet managers in risk management by letting them be certain that compartment temperatures are always correctly set for a given load, reducing the chances of spoilage and thus of damage claims. Fleet managers can also positively impact the bottom line by monitoring set points of reefers en route to pick up a load, which allows loading to begin immediately and minimizes time spent idle at the dock.
With constant awareness of the location and temperature of the reefer truck, dispatch can set the temp in advance to match the requirement of the next load. That means it’s pre-cooling on the way to loading. The driver is left to do what he or she does best: drive.
A precise arrival time is communicated to dispatch, who can then let the shipper know when a shipment will arrive, as well as its set temperature when it gets there.
There’s no reason a refrigeration monitoring solution can’t also be an asset management solution. When it’s necessary to leave the reefer locked and loaded at a parking lot or along the roadside, a good reefer monitor can report the location and status to dispatch. Trailer theft is a growing and very real problem in the industry.
Get On Board
CyntrX offers several refrigeration monitoring options so you can get the solution that works for your needs. Request a demo to learn more about our refrigeration monitoring solutions.