Express transport service DPD fresh considers food safety a high priority. One of the most important aspects of delivering fresh and frozen food is storing and transporting it under optimal conditions. To demonstrably guarantee those ideal conditions, they chose an IoT solution from Simac Group and Sensolus. “Now all the data from the thousands of packages per year is clearly displayed, and preventive action can be taken where and when necessary,” says Koen Verlaenen, the General Manager of DPD fresh. This is how they keep their clients’ food safe and prevent unnecessary food waste.
DPD fresh was founded in 2020 by DPD Belux as an express transport service. The company delivers, within 24 hours, dry food as well as fresh and frozen products to both professionals and individuals. The Belgian subsidiary of the European parcel supplier DPDgroup is the first player on the market to transport all types of food in optimal conditions to a wide range of destinations within Belgium and Luxembourg. The company distinguishes itself with an active refrigerated network, both in storage and during transport, so that customers do not have to invest in expensive packaging materials to keep their goods at the right temperature.
Where the Belgian Federal Agency for the Safety of the Food Chain (FASFC) guidelines allow for temperature deviations for a maximum of 30 to 60 minutes, DPD fresh wanted to go further. Tom Mertens, IT Manager at DPD fresh, was also heavily involved in installing the trackers: “We want to, and can do better. Checking the temperature regularly prevents us from only finding out afterwards that something went wrong and allows us to intervene proactively when and where necessary. No risks are taken with the quality and freshness of food products, which is why we needed a reliable monitoring platform.”
IoT sensors monitor product temperatures
Simac Group, DPD’s IT partner for many years, pointed out the strength of tracking technology, for which it works closely together with IoT specialist Sensolus. The smart solution combines hardware and software and reports temperature data via a tracker. Sensolus’ TRACK 1100 uses NB-IoT technology to send the data from the sensors to the cloud, utilizing cell towers. The information can be viewed in real-time in the central DPD fresh’s system. As the IT Manager of DPD fresh put it: “No hassle with extra connectivity bridges or network ports. Everything is built into the trackers, and the data is transmitted to the cloud via a reliable and secure connection.”
Low price, long lifespan
Simac Group and Sensolus’ solution uses battery-powered trackers. “Internet of Things technology, such as trackers without a direct connection to the electricity grid, allow us to offer an affordable solution that can take accurate measurements. Because the tracker has such a low energy consumption, they last for years,” says Pieter Doornaert, VP of Sales at Sensolus. This way, assets with a lower cost price—that do serve an extremely valuable purpose in the logistics chain—can also be fitted with IoT tracking. To extend the lifespan even further, no data is transmitted when the delivery truck is stationary, between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m.. As soon as it moves even one meter, the tracker reactivates. Thanks to this customized optimization, the battery life was almost doubled.
Efficiency gains and seamless integration
When a fully loaded truck with 50 packages arrives at its destination, all the packages—and the corresponding sensors—have to be digitally “transferred” to the refrigeration unit. That used to mean scanning 50 times. Now, the entire load registered in the IoT platform can be transferred to the refrigeration unit in one scan. “This is a huge time-saver. I reckon it means efficiency gains of as much as 30 to 50 percent in total operating costs when handling larger volumes,” according to Verlaenen, DPD fresh’s General Manager.
In addition to the associated IoT platform, the data from the trackers is also integrated into DPDgroup’s own platform using an API. Particularly this feature DPD fresh’s IT Manager is very enthusiastic about: “This further increases traceability for all transported food products. This seamless integration also saves us a lot of time and research, although we do some searches and retrieval of historical data via the Sensolus platform because it is so user-friendly,” Mertens points out.
Excellent service and no surprises after the fact
Simac Group and Sensolus proved to be excellent parties for DPD fresh to work with. In particular, the transport company praised the “experience, expertise and strong customer focus” of the IoT specialists. The technology companies also demonstrated their reliability in price and service. “Sensolus was very transparent about the costs, and there were no ‘skeletons in the closet,’ so to speak,” Verlaenen noted.
Textbook example for food transport
The solution has been running for a few months now, and performs well, to everyone’s satisfaction. For each package of food items, DPD fresh can guarantee 100% that it has been transported in ideal conditions and can also take preventive action if that promise is compromised.
About DPD fresh
DPD fresh is an express transport service for the delivery of dry food as well as fresh and frozen produce in Belgium. The Belgian subsidiary of the European package supplier DPDgroup distinguishes itself with an active refrigerated network. DPD Fresh offers the food industry a flexible and simple solution to the ever-changing logistical challenges of the market. In addition, they optimize distribution and support e-commerce activities. For more information about speed, food safety, and traceability as well as improved efficiency in your logistics and production, visit www.dpd.com/be/en/sending/dpd-fresh/