Technology trends are fairly similar across all industries, just being leveraged in industry-specific ways. The changes in the transportation of fruits and vegetables start at the farm, extending to the warehouse and then to every aspect of shipping, driving, and logistics. The challenge many companies face is that they have been doing things the same way for so long that they see no need to change or don’t yet realize the value of adopting new technology. However, technology can deliver multiple time-saving and cost-saving benefits.

Transportation Network Solutions

Many companies are still struggling with nationwide driver shortages. While one way to fill the open driver positions is to raise wages, reducing the need for drivers is another way. With the recent autonomous car accidents, we are far away from autonomous trucks, so don’t hold your breath there. Even once autonomous cars become a reality, vehicles the size of trucks won’t be part of the initial adoption. Instead, trucking companies of all sizes are investing in transportation management and transportation network design solutions. These electronic solutions can be used by shippers and carriers alike in order to reduce empty miles. They are advanced enough that you can even factor in spoilage times for temperature-controlled items. Even with a tenured team of route and schedule specialists, the software finds innovative new solutions.

Robotic Picking

Along with driver shortages comes a shortage of warehouse pickers. Not only is there a shortage, but there is a simultaneous increased demand for pickers. Why? Because e-commerce and omnichannel sales increase the demand for deliveries. While not as pertinent to the transportation of produce, there is a spike in picking nonetheless, as innovative new on-demand or shipped-to-your-door food options arise. Mobile robots are picking up some of this slack (literally) and doing a fair amount of warehouse picking.

Compliance With The Food Safety Modernization Act

FSMA compliance violations are costly. However, compliance can be difficult to maintain. Between the ever-changing regulations, the multiple farm and transportation vendors used, and the often unclear or misunderstood verbiage—there’s a lot that can go wrong. While large trucking and logistics companies have entire teams dedicated to monitoring compliance, smaller companies have a more challenging time keeping up. This is where compliance cloud software can assist. For new and small companies, compliance can improve by up to 70 percent in the first 6 months. That’s not to say that larger companies should ignore compliance clouds, as the cloud can automate much of the process and minimize human error.

Improved Quality Of Produce

Farmers are embracing a variety of new technologies, many of which require changes in the transportation of fruits and vegetables. A few of the new technological advances include:

  • Monitoring the gases of produce to more accurately determine when they will ripen. This improves quality and reduces waste. From a transportation standpoint, it changes FIFO. In this case, it may not always be the first box in that goes out, but instead the boxes that are ripe.
  • Transparency in where food comes from and what chemicals are used along the way is something that many millennials want to know when making their purchasing decisions. It’s something that farmers simply can’t ignore.
  • Ongoing advances in precision agriculture are improving crop yields and better applications. This includes improving soil and fertilizer, as well as using geospatial technology to create “grids” within fields—so that each grid is conducive to the crop it is growing.
  • Improved controlled environment agriculture, a.k.a greenhouses. We are at a point where almost anything can be grown anywhere, minimizing transportation.

AI, Automation & Augmented Reality

Artificial intelligence, automation, and augmented reality work hand-in-hand to create operational, warehouse, and logistical efficiencies. Scanners and barcode readers are now used to track every item in a warehouse, well before and beyond the picking process. Augmented reality improves picking and logistics in a multitude of ways. Vision and image capture all but eliminate guesswork, while voice-based technologies communicate with staff to help make useful suggestions—such as how each item is to be packaged or stacked on the truck. Smart gadgets and technology are connecting all logistic devices, automating processes, providing real-time reports, and delivering in-depth analytics.

Electronic Logging Devices

We certainly can’t talk about changes in the transportation of fruits and vegetables without talking about ELDs. As of April 1, 2018, without an ELD, drivers will be placed on a 10 hour out of service—in which time they will need to provide their paper HOS. This can create a logistics nightmare. Many trucking companies are still scrambling to comply and install ELDs at the last minute. While an initial adjustment is required for both the driver and the company to use them, ELDs are easy, intuitive and far more efficient than paper logs.

Technology will continue to shape and improve transportation logistics; companies who don’t hop on board with the current trends may get left behind.






What Kind of Technological Changes Can We Expect in the Transportation of Fruits and Vegetables? was last modified: by