Food Shipping: Tips & Best Practices to Reach Goals

Food Shipping

Poor execution of fresh food shipping will contribute to be a higher risk for foodborne illness, lead to problems in managing inventory, and upset customers. Ongoing route optimization and collaboration are critical to effective food logistics, but these are downright impossible without the right technology and strategy. Effective risk management must be your top goal. And, to avoid risk, shippers can follow these tips to improve supply chain management along the way.

Increase the Traceability of Food Shipments With Automated Data Capture

Automated data capture will improve food logistics supply chain visibility and eliminate concerns over failure to report data or details regarding each shipment. Automated data capture resources may range from RFID tags through advanced barcodes, such as QR codes, that are easier to read and contain more data.

Consider the Use of New Technologies to Increase Accountability

The use of new technologies, such as blockchain, provides an additional advantage in maintaining and improving food shipping reliability and accuracy. Instead of hoping data is accurate, food shippers can be confident that data represents the facts affecting a shipment. Consider the costs avoided by eliminating concerns over temperature management and associated rejections in a study of 88 food shippers, as reported by Food Logistics Magazine:

One of the survey’s key findings was the cost of temperature violations. Respondents ranked temperature violations as the top non-conformance issue they are facing. The average cost of rejected shipments as a result of non-conformance is around $20,000. However, it can range from $300 to $80,000. Close to a third of respondents said rejected shipment costs range from $1,000 to $5,000, while nearly a quarter pegged it somewhere between $10,000 and $20,000.
“When you multiply that cost against all the rejected shipments that do occur, it’s not hard to recognize the need to manage this cost. Whatever the actual cost of rejected shipments, it undoubtedly weighs heavily on the entire food supply chain.”

Improve the Choice of Proper Packaging for Each Item

Proper packaging is another critical step in improving food shipping efficiency and preventing spoilage. Hot and cold items should be wrapped properly, as well as moved at temperatures to prevent potential spoilage. Obviously, this applies to frozen and refrigerated food above all else. Applying the earlier tips and best practices to food logistics, which includes tracking temperature and maintaining a clear, immutable record of transport, also fall within this best practice.

Increase the Speed of Delivery in Food Shipping

Shippers should also work to increase the speed of delivery. Depending on the purpose of the food, such as for resale in a grocer or in preparing other foods, time is of the essence between harvesting and food delivery. Failures to deliver foods or items within a rapid time from harvest could result in a total loss of the value of that item. In fact, some companies may charge significant funds for late deliveries, either by a flat rate or surcharge as Walmart does for their inbound supplier deliveries.

Use Data to Make Decisions for Carrier Selection and Mode

Food delivery needs the fastest mode possible, but air shipping is not always feasible. Shippers need to use data to make decisions when selecting an appropriate mode that will ensure the delivery arrives on time.

Increase Demand Planning Through Analytics and Actionable Insights

Using analytics, grocers can improve demand planning processes and drive actionable insights to make more informed decisions about reordering, securing additional food suppliers, and mode of transport.

Integrate the TMS With All Supply Chain and Food Shipping Management Systems

Lastly, food logistics requires integration between the transportation management system (TMS) and all other supply chain management systems.

Apply the Tips to Improve Food Shipping

While food logistics includes both perishable and non-perishables, shippers and logistics service providers must take greater care in managing fresh food logistics. Failures can literally cost lives. Avoid these risks by applying the tips and actively pursuing innovations to streamline food shipping.

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