Cold Chain Monitoring for Refrigerator Rental Providers

Cold Chain
Illustration: © IoT For All

One-third of the food produced globally is wasted, with much of that loss occurring along the global cold chain. Overall, that translates to 1.6 billion tons of food, worth about $1.2 trillion, down the chute. While low prices and frequent promotions drive consumers to the store, food quality and freshness is often their biggest concern, making temperature monitoring a critical operation for retailers.

Loca Service is a leading refrigerated furniture rental company headquartered in France that has provided tailor-made rental services for large and medium-sized retail stores, supermarkets and hypermarkets, and food manufacturers in Europe for the last 40 years.

With a network of 12 agencies throughout Europe, Loca Service has a catalog of over 300 products and over 38,000 refrigeration displays in circulation, including Auchan, Carrefour, Monoprix, Starbucks, Pepsico, and Danone.

As an expert in refrigeration, Loca Service wants to design a cost-effective and reliable reporting solution for clients to maintain proper control of their refrigerators without the need for time-consuming and costly manual data collection. Automated readings guarantee specific cooling conditions, better food preservation, and significant savings while complying with strict regulations.

Chilling Problem

Refrigeration monitoring is not only a regulatory requirement but a crucial part of F&B operations with real consequences.

Those who have experienced a loss of inventory due to a broken refrigerator, or worse, sold food that was compromised unknowingly, causing food poisoning, can attest to how painful such an experience can be. While the loss of inventory and time (to repair the refrigerators) is temporary, negative publicity and the permanent loss of customers can affect businesses in the long run or even cause them to shut down.

Traditionally, retail stores have refrigerated display cases to keep food such as dairy products, fish, meat, or drinks at specific cooling temperatures. The use of these display cases requires multiple daily visits to the fridges (minimum twice a day) to guarantee that the temperature conditions are well maintained. Temperature data are collected and reported manually in Excel sheets, and these data logs are kept in store for at least 12 months by HACCP standards.

This labor-intensive procedure is not only cumbersome and inefficient but also subjected to human errors. On top of that, they are not performed or accessible during store closing hours.

For retailers, food must be carefully monitored to ensure shelf life and food safety. However, the quality control of an ever-expanding range of produce and products are laborious and costly due to different temperature and handling requirement.

What is HACCP?

Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) is used in the food industry to identify potential food safety hazards. Key actions, known as Critical Control Points (CCPs), can be created to reduce or eliminate the risks.

HACCP helps the F&B industry put an effective integrated food safety management to ensure safety and traceability. The implementation of a Food Safety Management System based on HACCP principles is a legal requirement.

Keeping Cool

The solution is designed to send location and temperature change data to Loca Services so that their customers can take swift measures to change fridges or move products if necessary.

When the fridge’s power goes below the minimum threshold, a warning will be sent to the customers by email and in push notification via mobile phone apps to inform their customers of a possible breakdown. However, should the temperature return to normal, a second alert will be sent.

Never Lose Inventory

Since implementing the IoT solution, Loca’s customers receive regular updates on their refrigeration assets, helping them reduce loss of perishables by 15%. By monitoring the energy consumption of equipment, the end-user receives real-time alerts when temperatures have veered out of their normal ebb and flow via the mobile application, email, or text messages. This solution provides personalized and secure access to supermarkets 24/7. It also provides daily reports of temperature in graphs, and locations, whether indoor or outdoor, including location history.

Build on a user-friendly platform, ICECONNECT is easily integrated into customers’ IT systems allows users to export reports in PDF, Excel, or CSV format. Data are stored on the cloud and can be retrieved whenever an incident occurs to mitigate risks and trace liability, helping retailers improve the management of every rented fridge. e.g., to send malfunctioning refrigerators for repair or replacement.

UnaBiz is a proven massive IoT service provider who specialises in sensor product design, manufacturing, and data platform services across a hybrid of low-power wide area (LPWA) technologies such as Sigfox, LTE-M, NB-IoT and LoRa, to power busines...
UnaBiz is a proven massive IoT service provider who specialises in sensor product design, manufacturing, and data platform services across a hybrid of low-power wide area (LPWA) technologies such as Sigfox, LTE-M, NB-IoT and LoRa, to power busines...