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John MaleyStrategic Solutions Director, Facilities, FourKites

With more pressure on cold chain compliance than ever, don’t let the yard be a blind spot.

If you handle temperature-sensitive shipments like food, chemicals, or pharmaceuticals, you’re no stranger to the mission-critical nature of cold chain compliance. Diligently tracking a shipment’s temperature from the moment it leaves your facility until it reaches the end-consumer is an imperative part of cold supply chain daily operations. Teams might be hyper-focused on checking warehouse and in-transit trailer temperatures, but how focused are they on ensuring cold chain visibility in the yard?

This gap in yard temperature monitoring and cold chain visibility leads to millions of dollars in spoiled inventory annually, contributing to the 14% of food that spoils between harvest and retail and $35B in annual inventory loss for Pharmaceutical companies. For warehouses and distribution centers experiencing record volumes, finding time to do thorough yard checks can lead to trailers going unmonitored for a lengthy period of time. If a reefer unit runs out of fuel or fails to cool while in the yard, how likely would your team know in time?

Do You Have Cold Chain Visibility Across Your Carriers?

There are more players than ever in the cold chain market. A Forbes survey shows third-party logistics providers (3PLs) are entering the market at neck-breaking speeds. 90% of 3PLs polled intend to expand their capabilities and fleets to serve cold chain customers better. Shippers have a reason to celebrate stable capacity. Still, with the addition of so many new players, it can be much harder to manage integrations, temp-tracking, and visibility throughout the cold chain without the right tools. 

Manual Processes Leave Your Cold Chain Yard Vulnerable

In an existing yard, manual checks are usually done by an associate who goes trailer-by-trailer to check fuel, temperature set-point, and ambient temperature. Making notes on a clipboard, they are usually at the mercy of hoping that a trailer is in the right spot, that each trailer was checked recently, and that if a load is in jeopardy of being lost, it’s not too late to do something about it.

Think of a hot summer day and a lot full of frozen goods. Missing a trailer inspection could result in thousands of dollars in lost products. Having an automated method to direct trailer checks can give you peace of mind by doing the work for you, ensuring gaps aren’t created in your line of sight and trailers aren’t forgotten.

Entrusting the company’s reputation and compliance to a paper-based process is risky, especially when sophisticated technology can track compliance in the warehouse, in transit, and in the yard.

Digitize Your Yard For Better Cold Chain Visibility

Digital process management is all but required as your yard matures. As mandates like the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) signal a continued pattern towards stricter compliance guidelines for cold chain shippers, having a process that intelligently schedules trailer checks can help mitigate safety concerns and compliance gaps and solve lost inventory.

Solutions like Dynamic Yard provide cold chain visibility and temperature monitoring in the yard, allowing managers to know which trailers to check and when. In the 12 months since June 2023, FourKites detected anomalies in over 17,000 trailers on customers’ sites, saving millions of dollars in inventory at risk of spoiling. This prescriptive task assignment keeps each trailer in check while digitizing the audit trail for the inventory’s entire stay in the yard, including time on site, frequency of checks, and time of arrival – all helping to avoid spoilage. This helps ensure compliance and comes in handy when determining liability for shipments that may spoil along the cargo journey. 

The Next Era of Temperature Monitoring

Supply chain visibility is all about integrations and standardizing data feeds. New capabilities link onboard IoT systems to your YMS, making remote temperature monitoring possible. This can eliminate spoilage in the yard while simultaneously reducing labor expenses.

Think of a yard where, instead of manual checks for temperature and fuel, each connected piece of equipment feeds its temperature and fuel level to your spotter and alerts them of any anomalies. Even in yards without 100% connected capacity, having a portion of your yard automated with passive monitoring can significantly reduce the amount of time spent on yard checks and safeguard your sensitive cargo from any risks.

But Wait, There’s More (Yard Capacity)

Storing sensitive cargo in the yard may feel like a last resort if you’re like the thousands of shippers dealing with warehouse space issues. Rather than paying premiums to overflow into temporary locations, using a yard management system with product protection features transforms idle capacity in the yard into warehouses on wheels. This opens up thousands of cubic feet of space, leveraging yard capacity you’re already paying for while diligently monitoring them with a digital solution.

If you want to shine a light on blind spots in your cold chain, FourKites is here to help. Dynamic Yard provides an end-to-end view in a single platform for all activities across the yard, helping you keep your teams aligned to what is most important. Learn how Dynamic Yard generates 3X ROI for its users, and get in touch to find out how we can solve your unique yard management needs. When you’re ready, our experts would be happy to share their experience helping other organizations with their cold chain supply chain challenges and how we can help craft a personalized solution for you.

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