Transportation providers now play a more vital role in the fresh food supply chain than ever before. They are expected to provide fast, efficient and sanitary last mile logistics services as this directly impacts the freshness of produce inventory. Product freshness is more critical than ever due to increased customer expectations as consumers are now more educated about varying inventory options available to them. In order for retail grocers to capture market share they must be able to guarantee the highest quality product at the lowest prices- something they can only do by partnering with a reliable and high performing transportation partner. Transportation operations have been impacted by legislation such as the FSMA Sanitary Transportation of Human & Animal Food Rule. Under this legislation many transportation providers have had to make adjustments to their operational processes in order to meet the stringent requirements relating to proper refrigeration during transport, trailer cleansing between loads and proper food protection. Produce inventory shrinkage rates are high due to poor handling during transit. This has spurred advancements in produce packaging and loading procedures. Technology such as cartonization software is being utilized to assist warehouse staff in selecting proper packaging. Transportation providers are also implementing warehouse management software to help direct reverse loading procedures. Reverse loading trailers helps to lower handling requirements as deliveries are made. Minimized handling can potentially reduce inventory damage during transit. Temperature monitors are also being implemented to assist in maintaining regulatory compliance. These monitors track pre-cooling, temperature during transit and temperature at time of delivery. This information helps to complete the audit trail required for FDA FSMA compliance. Vehicle maintenance has also been brought to the forefront as a key factor in ensuring produce inventory quality. Properly maintaining vehicles reduces instances of break downs where inventory shrinkage may occur. Regular maintenance checks are often automated through the transportation providers WMS software. Fuel prices have also affected transportation operations and how they develop their distribution networks. Many are moving towards a spoke-and-wheel strategy, bringing products closer to consumers. To learn more about produce transportation best practices and how the industry is adapting to the latest legislation read this brief SlideShare or contact Datex experts today at marketing@datexcorp.com or 800.933.2839 ext 243.

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