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Navigating the Challenges of Perishable Logistics

In logistics, the transportation of perishable and refrigerated goods requires strategic planning and innovative solutions that maintain product integrity. These goods often have a limited shelf life, are susceptible to quality degradation, and are temperature-sensitive. Mitigating the risks that come with handling perishable products calls for prioritizing compliance, efficiency, and proactive decision-making.

Protecting your perishable products during storage, handling, and shipping requires a multifaceted approach.

How to Protect Perishable Goods During Transport

Properly transporting perishable goods requires specific trucking solutions that help to secure the quality, safety, and freshness of cargo during transit. By outfitting your trucking fleet with the right technology and following specific protocols, you can ensure your goods get from point A to point B without perishing.

Some essential trucking solutions that help to mitigate the risks that come with transporting perishable goods include:

1. Use Temperature Monitoring and Control Systems

Installing temperature monitoring systems in refrigerated trucks can verify optimal temperature conditions while in use. These systems use sensors, telematics technology, or data loggers to track internal conditions, alerting operators when there’s a sudden change so they can take immediate corrective action.

For example, perishables like floral products and fruits need controlled humidity levels to help prevent excess moisture buildup or loss. Humidity control systems or moisture-absorbing materials help regulate refrigerated trucks’ moisture levels. Similarly, proper airflow management ensures uniform temperature distribution in reefers, preventing stratification. Airflow management systems, baffles, or curtains help keep the airflow consistent around perishable foods in the cargo space.

2. Invest in Temperature-Controlled Trucks

Refrigerated trucks, or reefers, keep steady temperature ranges and are the primary mode of transport for fruits, dairy products, pharmaceuticals, floral products, or meats. In comparison, dual-temperature trucks feature compartments with divided refrigeration units, allowing you to ship goods with differing temperature needs without compromising regulatory compliance or quality.

Additionally, trucks with backup power systems, such as auxiliary power units or standby generators, help secure continuous refrigeration despite potential power outages or mechanical failures.

3. Prioritize Ongoing Training and Monitoring

Drivers, handlers, and logistics personnel must have routine training to properly handle perishable goods. Monitoring systems that track compliance, handling practices, and temperature logs also provide transparency throughout the logistics chain, so training and monitoring can be used together to help ensure perishable goods protection.

Time Management Strategies for Perishable Logistics

When it comes to transporting perishable goods, ensuring compliance, freshness, and quality with timely delivery is key. Depending on the specific types of perishable goods you handle, some strategies may be more relevant than others. However, time management is generally essential for all perishable items.

1. Try Real-Time Monitoring

Using real-time tracking systems like GPS or Internet of Things sensors offers visibility to critical parameters like humidity levels, shipment location, and temperature conditions. Paying close attention to your goods across every step of the logistics chain can help you mitigate time-related risks, such as a shipment remaining in one place for too long.

2. Optimize Routing and Scheduling

Optimizing routes and schedules to minimize transit time can help mitigate the risk of temperature fluctuations and maintain product integrity. Prioritizing the time of day when the goods leave the warehouse can also help maintain temperature stability. Route optimization software and logistics management systems can streamline routing decisions to improve transportation efficiency.

3. Make Loading and Unloading Processes More Efficient

Equipment like refrigerated docks, dock levelers, and insulated curtains help maintain ambient conditions during loading and unloading. Pre-cooling before loading cargo sets up a stable temperature for cargo before transit, reducing fluctuations during handling and transport.

Additionally, remember to train personnel on temperature monitoring, cargo securing techniques, and proper handling procedures for efficient operations. With the right equipment and employees for the job, loading and unloading can become more timely processes.

4. Implement Contingency Planning

Sound contingency plans can help you prepare for unexpected events like equipment malfunctions, adverse weather conditions, or traffic delays. Backup routes, emergency response procedures, and alternate modes of transportation can help ensure the timely delivery of perishable goods.

5. Collaborate With Supply Chain Partners

Collaborative partnerships with third-party logistics providers, such as carriers and suppliers, can improve supply chain processes and reduce transit times. Spend time perfecting communications with your supply chain partners so everyone is on the same page.

Ways to Optimize Warehousing and Storage for Perishable Goods

Perishable goods need specialized facilities to maintain quality, safety, and freshness during storage. As you look to optimize your warehouse space for perishable goods, try implementing the following tools and strategies for the best results.

1. Incorporate Temperature Control Measures

Temperature-controlled storage facilities allow for safe temporary storage, cross-docking, consolidation, and seamless transitions between modes of transportation while maintaining optimal temperature conditions. In addition to investing in temperature-controlled trucks, make sure your facility is a conducive environment for storing perishable items.

Many perishable goods must be stored at 40 degrees Fahrenheit in refrigerators or 0 degrees Fahrenheit or below in freezers. Ensure these facilities have HVAC systems and insulation to regulate temperatures accurately. You can monitor temperature conditions in the warehouse with IoT-enabled devices, temperature alerts, and automated controls to maintain and quickly respond to temperature deviations.

2. Segment Storage Areas

Storage areas should be segmented according to shelf life, temperature requirements, product categories, and handling considerations. This approach helps prevent cross-contamination and product integrity. Storage segmentation also ensures only some product goes in the event of cooling failures, helping protect the rest of your stock.

3. Rotate Stock

There are a few storage methods for perishable goods, but two in particular are widely used. The First In, First Out method dispatches products as soon as they arrive at the warehouse. The First Expire, First Out relies on expiry dates to dictate when products move out first. Consider both approaches to determine which one might work best for your operations.

Technology for Perishable and Refrigerated Goods Logistics

Integrating technology is an essential part of perishable food logistics, and partnering with the right third-party logistics company can give you access to an array of helpful devices and software.

Keller Logistics actively invests in the following technology to enable informed decision-making, manage equipment, and offer top-tier logistics:

  • Transportation Management System (TMS): Our TMS gives you insights into freight monitoring, on-time delivery, and other key aspects of your logistics process to keep you fully informed.
  • Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs): All of our trucks have ELDs to give you real-time data on your shipments. These devices also allow us to be aware of any incidents affecting delivery times and product quality.
  • Barcode scanning: We use barcode scanning to track your inventory, ensuring efficient handling and security.
  • Warehouse Management System (WMS): Our WMS offers total transparency, giving you full-time, real-time inventory visibility.

Why Trust Keller Logistics for Food and Beverage Logistics

Integrating trucking solutions that use tools like effective temperature control measures and time management strategies will contribute to the successful transit and delivery of your perishable goods. At the core of this management strategy is finding a great freight partner with ample experience in handling perishables.

Founded in 1978, Keller Logistics Group has the experience to deliver your business reliable, resourceful, and responsive logistics so you can stay a step ahead of the competition. One of many roles we can fulfill is that of your trusted perishable food logistics company. We offer expertise, flexibility, and state-of-the-art technology logistics services with highly competitive freight rates.

Contact us today for a comprehensive quote, or call us at 419.784.4805 to learn more about how we can assist your team.

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Learn more about what makes Keller Logistics Group and its affiliates the best choice for your company’s 3PL logistics needs. Contact us to learn more about our services and request a no-obligation quote. Call 419-780-3767 or return our online contact form today.