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Reduce waste and improve cold chain operations
Pilot project reveals how cost of cold chain shrink

Intelleflex, a leading provider of on-demand data visibility solutions, and ProWare Services, a software and services company focused on providing solutions for the fresh food industry, today announced the results of a recent pilot program that documented the value of Delivered Freshness and quality of produce by dynamically routing product in real-time based on remaining shelf-life. Intelleflex enables Delivered Freshness through the use of its temperature monitoring tags that provide actionable data through the use of pallet-level temperature monitoring. This solution has a proven ability to help minimize losses and maximize freshness at the point of delivery. Spanning the operations of a major North American berry producer, the program, which incorporated tens of thousands of data points, tracked the temperature of hundreds of pallets of berries in-transit at the pallet-level from local Mexican growers to a packing house and cold-storage facility in Mexico and then from that packing facility to three distribution centers in the United States. Data from the program documented how pallet-level temperature monitoring enables the calculation of relative shelf life loss between each pallet to provide actionable data for FEFO+ (enhanced First Expired, First Out) inventory management and dynamic transit routing.

"This study by Intelleflex and ProWare convincingly demonstrates the multiple opportunities to improve the quality of delivered produce in the cold chain," said Ann Grackin, CEO, ChainLink Research. "Cold chain suppliers can apply the learnings to their own operations, knowing that they now have the benefit of readily available product to combat losses and document the freshness of their perishables throughout the cold chain and at the point of sale."

Intelleflex temperature monitoring tags were initially placed in pallets of berries in the field as they were harvested, and the temperature was recorded by the tags every 15 minutes from the field to the pack house. The distance from the fields to the packing house varied significantly, from an hour to over four hours, and the temperature at harvest varied significantly by the time of day. After quality control at the pack house, the temperature data was downloaded and each pallet's relative remaining shelf life index was calculated using ProWare's FreshAware. software. Each pallet was then intelligently routed to the most appropriate distribution center based on its unique remaining shelf life index to maximize delivered freshness and reduce waste. The study identified that 30 percent of the pallets would require prioritized routing to help avoid loss in-transit that would have resulted from delivering spoiled berries.

The program then studied the temperature of the pallets of berries in-transit from Mexico to a distribution center in Southern California to compare the pallet-level temperatures against the ambient temperature in various refrigerated trailers and measure the previously undocumented impact on shelf life. The program revealed that there was as much as 30 percent difference between the temperature of pallets and the ambient temperature in a single refrigerated trailer. While ambient trailer-level temperature monitors indicated an average temperature of approximately 35 degrees throughout the five-day journey, over 13 percent of the pallets experienced temperatures higher than 40 degrees Fahrenheit during the trip, losing as much as nine days of shelf life in less than five days of actual transit time.

For more information on this study and other notable findings, please send an email to:

Publication date: 11/18/2011


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