Western Cape Business News

Send  Share  RSS  Twitter  04 Aug 2009

EXPORTS: IT In Cold Chain Integrity


Recent Western Cape Business News

FROM the orchards in the Western Cape, to retailers’ shelves in Europe, UK or Asia is a long and arduous route. Yet that is exactly the challenge fruit exporters face when selling overseas, where it is expected that perishable products should be as presentable as if they were just recently picked from a tree.

Fortunately technology has given us the ‘cold chain’ which ensures a quality product through low temperature controlled storage conditions. This is the theory. In reality the distribution process - from packaging, shipment and storage - can throw up many pitfalls where the integrity of the cold chain process can be compromised. Sensitech Southern Africa is the leading provider of integrated supply chain solutions for environmentally-sensitive products. At the shipping location, monitors are added to the shipment. At the same time all customised logistic information can also be captured.

At the receiving location these monitors are then checked for out-of-range conditions and can be downloaded for a complete trip history. Sensitech says that historically this technology has simply been used to see if a product has been handled within its protocol or not. Now, however, the company’s expertise and data analysis capabilities are increasingly being used to enable produce exporters to pro-actively manage their cold chain.

With this detailed analysis of the data one can more easily identify trends about such aspects as packaging type, shipping method and ideal temperature protocols, whether for sea or air shipments, so that the temperature data can be used to effectively manage the cold chain. The company is now rolling out a programme which provides exporters with critical information which allows them to maintain the highest standards in the distribution process whereby temperature data is summarised and presented in specific customised reports according to product type, destination, shipping method and package type.

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