Simac Group introduces added value to companies in need of an expert partner, a mature industrial solution and in-depth integration based on a thorough needs analysis. An approach that proved effective for DPD Fresh in addressing their real-time temperature monitoring requirements for food transportation.
DPD Fresh, an express transport service under the DPD Belux umbrella, gives absolute priority to food safety when handling fresh and frozen products. A critical aspect in this endeavour is maintaining optimal storage and transportation conditions. Therefore, Simac Group wanted to arrive at a solution provided by ingenious IT architecture, developed with IoTech in mind, in synergy with what our partners can do in co-development with us – tailored to the customer's needs.
Proactive measurements for quality guarantee
To provide assurance of these ideal conditions, DPD Fresh has adopted an IoT solution developed by the combined effort of Simac Group and Sensolus. Koen Verlaenen, DPD Fresh General Manager, explains: "All data related to the thousands of packages transported each year is now readily available, enabling us to take proactive measures where necessary. This approach safeguards the quality of the food supply and minimizes unnecessary food wastage.”
Established in 2020 by DPD Belux, DPD Fresh is committed to delivering a wide range of products, including dry food, fresh, and frozen items, within a 24-hour timeframe, catering to both businesses and individuals. It is the first player in the market to ensure transport of all types of food under optimal conditions to destinations across Belgium and Luxembourg. DPD Fresh stands out by maintaining an active refrigerated network throughout the storage and transportation process, eliminating the need for customers to invest in costly packaging materials to maintain the correct temperature.
While the Belgian Federal Agency for the Safety of the Food Chain (FASFC) guidelines permit temperature deviations for up to 30 to 60 minutes, DPD Fresh goes the extra mile. Tom Mertens, IT Manager at DPD Fresh, played a pivotal role in the installation of tracking devices and states: "We aim to exceed these standards. Regular temperature monitoring allows us to detect and address issues proactively, avoiding any compromises in the quality and freshness of food products. Hence, a reliable monitoring platform was crucial."
Simac Group and Sensolus introduce robust tracking solution
DPD's long-term IT partner, Simac Group, in collaboration with IoT specialist Sensolus, introduced a robust tracking solution that combines hardware and software, transmitting temperature data via trackers. Sensolus' TRACK 1100 utilizes NB-IoT technology to send data from the sensors to the cloud through cell towers. This real-time information is accessible within DPD Fresh's central system, eliminating the need for additional connectivity infrastructure. As the IT Manager of DPD Fresh notes: "There's no complexity with extra connectivity bridges or network ports. Everything is integrated into the trackers, and data is transmitted to the cloud securely and reliably."
The solution employs long battery-powered trackers, which are cost-effective and capable of delivering accurate measurements. Due to their low energy consumption, these trackers have an extended lifespan, lasting for years. To further enhance longevity, data transmission is halted when the delivery truck is stationary between 21:00 and 6:00. The tracker reactivates as soon as the vehicle moves, nearly doubling the battery life.
Simac group went a mile further by customizing the solution with 3D printed enclosures allowing optimal integration of the hardware. “It is important to seamlessly integrate our IoT solutions into our customer’s environment,” as Dave Engel explains – Simac’s Senior Industry 4.0 & IoT Specialist.
Time-saving single scan for entire load
Efficiency gains are also realized during unloading operations. Previously, each package and corresponding sensor required individual scanning upon arrival at its destination. Thanks to the IoT platform, the entire load can be transferred to the refrigeration unit in a single scan, saving considerable time. According to Verlaenen, this enhancement results in efficiency gains of up to 30 to 50 percent in total operating costs for larger volumes. Furthermore, data from the trackers is seamlessly integrated into the DPD Group platform through an API, enhancing traceability for all transported food products.
DPD Fresh speaks very highly of Simac Group and Sensolus, praising their experience, expertise, and customer-centric approach in developing and implementing the IoT solution. The technology providers have proven their reliability in terms of cost and service transparency.
Excellent performance all the way
The IoT solution has been operational for several months and has performed admirably, meeting everyone's expectations. DPD Fresh can now guarantee, with 100% certainty, that each package of food items has been transported under ideal conditions and can take proactive measures if this commitment is compromised.
Through collaboration with Simac Group and Sensolus, DPD Fresh has streamlined its operations, enhanced efficiency, and achieved a higher level of traceability and data transparency in the food transportation process.