On-board telematics technology essential

Nashua, NH, US: Cooltrax, provider of real-time cold chain tracking and monitoring solutions for temperature-sensitive products and mobile assets, has published The Role of Reefer and Refrigerated Telematics in Measuring and Monitoring the Cold Chain.

This whitepaper examines why food transportation companies need telematics technology for real-time status of their products inside reefers and refrigerated trailers.

Telematics technology provides fleet managers with the ability to monitor reefer unit and refrigerated box temperatures proactively, to receive alerts about truck locations and open-door durations, and to change reefer temperatures remotely as needed. Without such capabilities and insights, transportation companies cannot immediately react when temperatures fall outside of acceptable ranges set by government regulations or internal quality control requirements. Uncontrolled temperature variations during transportation can lead to food spoilage, decreased product sales, fines by regulatory agencies, lawsuits by victims, and widespread corporate reputation management issues.

“A minority of trucks with reefer units – only 15% of nearly 500,000 units – operate across the US with remote monitoring and management capabilities,” said Shawn Allaway, president, Cooltrax. “That puts nearly 85 % of all units at risk of catastrophic consequences as fleet managers resort to trial-and-error or outdated processes to discover problems rather than seeking early identification of issues for immediate proactive remediation. And for those who rely on data loggers, risk avoidance is negligible, as it is all after-the-fact reporting.”

Without remote, real-time technology, it is impossible to identify improper temperature variations or the start of a reefer unit failure. Data loggers, a widely used alternative to telematics solutions, accumulate historical performance information and typically only report temperature measurements. Fleet managers can only react to the source of spoilage or load rejection at the time of delivery. Advanced monitoring and management technology often reveals surprising information that allows fleet managers to proactively, and in real-time, ensure adherence to operational guidelines and potentially avoiding a costly load rejection.

While the superior monitoring capabilities of telematics technology are well known, the ability to manage reefer units and trailers remotely is relatively new. In addition to examining the challenges of measuring true refrigerated unit performance, the paper also looks at new, stricter regulations on food safety and increased regulatory enforcements.

Transportation companies readying themselves for the eventual increase in regulatory enforcement are paying greater attention to the benefits of telematics technology, which include:

  • maintaining food safety and regulatory compliance to avoid lawsuits and penalties
  • fuel savings through optimized reefer management
  • reducing shrink to increase profits
  • preventing rejected deliveries of spoiled foods
  • demonstrating accurate product traceability


Transport companies evaluating the benefits of telematics solutions can use this paper to understand better the return on investment resulting from operating and fuel cost reductions, enhanced asset-management opportunities, and ultimately better brand and customer loyalty protection.

Insight and proactive, remote response are essential to the success of any telematics solutions. Allaway says, “Knowledge is king and data is the ultimate proof of a company’s ability to properly care for food and adhere to both internal or external regulations. Transportation managers, preparing for the eventual increase in regulatory enforcement, should seek solutions that extract as much data as possible through alerts, fault codes, temperature set points, door open/close statuses, and geo-zone tracking.