If you’re the operations or quality assurance manager overseeing the transport of perishable food items for your restaurant or other food-related business, you can’t simply, “ship it and forget it.”Like the majority of food businesses, the success of yours largely relies on maintaining the quality and integrity of your food from point A to point B. Therefore, the performance of your refrigerated transport solutions are critical to your business. While reefer trucks are the preferred method to store food during transport, it is crucial to ensure that they are functioning properly if you want them to serve your business well.
Failures cost time, money
A failure or variance in the refrigeration temperature within your reefer truck can have a devastating impact on your business, in the form of lost time and money. Failures result in lost time unloading damaged goods, extra hours (or days) getting a replacement shipment in transit, lost goods, and potential fines.
Whether you rent or own your reefer truck or fleet, the following eight tips will help ensure that you get the most out of them and keep your business running as smoothly as possible:
- If you’re renting trucks, verify that the reefer truck supplier you use regularly conducts proper preventive maintenance. Choose a reliable fleet that provides recent model year trucks.
- Performing a pre-trip analysis allows you to test the various systems of your reefer truck. Some truck models can even perform automatic pre-trips by auto-starting the truck and running through each of its operational modes, including low-speed cool, high-speed cool, low-speed heat, high-speed heat, and defrost.
- Regularly inspect the condition of the reefer truck/trailer unit to quickly identify any new damage that will compromise the integrity of sealing mechanisms, insulation, or defrost drains.
- Clean your reefer trucks regularly and thoroughly. Any debris that affects air flow in your truck can compromise the refrigeration temperature and lead to food contamination and spoilage.
- Pre-cool your truck/trailer at least one hour before loading. Never load your truck before it is at the proper temperature to transport whatever food items are being loaded into it.
- Adopt an efficient product-loading system. Establish a system for loading food into your reefer truck as quickly as possible, and make sure to organize loads in such a way that airflow is maximized. All sides of your food boxes or pallets should be exposed to air at all times.
- Never leave the reefer unit running when doors are open. Leaving doors open with the unit running will draw outside conditions, such as warm air and humidity, inside the truck. Always make sure the truck is off once you’ve reached the delivery destination and it’s time to unload.
- Ensure the integrity of the food you’re transporting in your reefer units by always using a cold-chain monitoring device. While many food suppliers use data temperature loggers to record the conditions during food transport, real-time monitoring is the only way to ensure that you know what’s going on with your food the entire time it’s in transit. Wireless temperature sensors are recommended for their portability from truck to truck. You’ll also want to select a temperature monitor that alerts you when temperature variances occur.
By following these tips you’ll ensure that you get the most out of your reefer truck units, helping eliminate wasted time, food, and money within your business. Without the worry of shipment losses, FSMA compliance, and potential FDA fines, you can get back to focusing on running and growing your successful restaurant or food business.
If you’d like to learn more about the benefits of wireless temperature monitors for your cold-chain monitoring needs, Nimble can help. Our real-time temperature monitor and associated IRIS application provide all of the features you need to prevent losses related to temperature failures. Contact us today.