Modern TMS Integrations Help Shippers Improve Cold Chain Custody

Modern TMS Integrations Help Shippers Improve Cold Chain Custody

Shippers in the cold chain must ensure the integrity of temperature-sensitive goods from origin to destination. Complexities involved in the movement and transfer of goods are prone to human error, most of which are preventable by having real-time visibility of cargo conditions.

Shippers are ready for solutions that help them address, and ideally prevent, costly mistakes by acting quickly to save at-risk loads before they are compromised or lost. Capabilities now exist for transportation and logistics teams to know where products are in the cold chain, monitor temperatures, and coordinate activities with carriers and brokers to ensure uncompromising quality.

Modern Integrations Enhance Cold Chain Capabilities

Shippers who have embraced a modern transportation management system (TMS) – the type of system that provides end-to-end shipment visibility of temperature-sensitive loads – can now use integrated trailer telematics to improve cold chain custody.

For example, PCS Software’s Carrier TMS integrates with Thermo King, a company that manufactures transport refrigeration units (TRUs), also known as reefers. The integration gives carriers access to Thermo King’s telematics platform called TracKing, which provides real-time locations and load temperature information. Through this integration, shippers with private fleets can receive alarms and exception alerts for temperatures in Carrier TMS so they can act quickly on information to prevent load losses.

The TMS also brings in fuel levels from TRU units to prevent situations where a trailer runs out of fuel and causes a load to be in jeopardy from going outside the temperature range.

Use Predictive Analysis to Prevent Errors

Besides giving fleets telematics data, Thermo King leverages the data to improve uptime for fleets. The company uses predictive models to analyze operating data to determine when TRUs will have a failure within the next 80 hours. The predictions have over 90% accuracy. Thermo King also uses the telematics data internally for product development to optimize features as well as the quality and cost of TRUs.

Thermo King also has a remote operating center that monitors the health of TRUs for fleets. If something goes wrong at any stage within the chain, they can proactively reach out to the customer to assist the customer with routing the trailer to a dealer who has space and parts available to fix the TRU before the carrier and shipper lose the load.

While shippers with private fleets are tracking reefer temps with real-time telematics, receivers are also seeing new perks. Integrations with TMS platforms from shippers and carriers are focused on the relationship between all stakeholders. Receivers can get an accurate ETA to know when a load is arriving to have labor ready on the dock to reduce unloading times. They can also have visibility to load temperatures in transit to ensure quality and act where needed.

Delivering Greater Visibility and Control

The supply chain and logistics space is a market that’s always innovating. One area where shippers are benefiting from technology advancements is with system integrations that track performance of capacity providers. Shippers can use a TMS to create carrier scorecards that allow them to track what type of reefers carriers are running and monitor compliance with temperatures, on-time service, and condition of equipment; they will also be able to see how long it is taking their facilities to load and unload carriers as well as detention times to help ensure the shipper is being a good steward.

Another sought-after capability is full, two-way integration that enables a remote command and control capability for every reefer between Tracking and the Carrier TMS to remotely change temperature set points and turn units on or off. Users could set the temperature in advance for cargo that is planned for a pickup to cool the trailer before it arrives so that when they put product into it, the trailer will maintain the original temperature of the load.

While this capability is not yet available from PCS, it is possible for shippers with private fleets to assign a load to a trailer, ensure a driver is scheduled for it, monitor shipment progress, clear alarms, monitor fuel, and run exception-based reporting, and predict the ETA for a load pickup or delivery.

Some fleets and shippers are eyeing up every type of automation that is possible, while others only want exception-based notifications so they know where and when there is a problem and can then address it. Regardless of where fleets and shippers are in terms of maturity level, it’s abundantly clear that various integrations and automation capabilities are introducing greater confidence into the chain of custody.

It’s time to embrace the newness made possible by modern solutions—or risk dealing with the complexity, all with limited visibility, day in and day out. Book a demo

to learn more about how PCS Software solutions are improving cold chain capabilities.