In order to ensure that food-grade shipping is handled correctly, there are plenty of rules and guidelines to consider. These rules apply for shipping all food, not just shipping refrigerated food, and they are in place to ensure food safety (which you can read more about here). There are three main factors to consider if you want to guarantee the best experience for everyone involved in the process. They are:
- Ensuring good trailer conditions before on loading food products.
- Providing visibility and open lines of communication.
- Allowing for on-time pickup and on-time delivery.
Following these guidelines will greatly increase the quality of the food shipments that you are involved in whether you are the carrier, shipper or broker.
Impact of trailer condition and cleanliness when shipping food
It doesn’t take a lot for a trailer designated for food shipping to fail an inspection. Due to all the products and people going in and out, it is easy for them to fall into poor conditions and not meet the standards of the shipper. Upon pick-up, there are a couple of things to look for in the trailer to ensure freight is delivered in good condition. The most important things to look for in regard to food-grade shipping are:
- Cleanliness – Check the overall cleanliness of the trailer; it’s never a good idea to ship food in a dirty trailer.
- Dry – You want to make sure that the trailer is completely dry so that the freight does not get wet or damaged.
- Empty – Ensure that there is nothing else in the trailer that will contaminate the food product.
- No odor – Any unusual odor in a trailer is coming from somewhere and you do not want it to effect with the food product.
- No holes – Ensure that there are no openings in the trailer that animals or rain/snow could get into. Also, when shipping refrigerated food check that there are no holes in order to maintain the correct trailer temperature.
If you can guarantee those 5 measures are met, then you are off to a good start in food shipping. Of course, there are still more things to consider if you want to assure the process goes well for all sides.
Customer visibility when shipping food-grade product
Visibility is always important in shipping but is crucial in food-grade shipping due to the delicacy of the product, as refrigerated food can be completely ruined with one error. Because of this risk, keeping open lines of communication between both the driver and the shipper are essential.
Consistent communication with the carrier is a safeguard so that everything is going as expected and that there are no breakdowns. If there are any unexpected issues then it is critical that they are passed on immediately to the shipper. Additionally, it is essential to keep the lines of communication open with the shipper. It is their product that is being shipped so they get to determine the number of updates that they need along the way. The entire relationship is built on trust so it is of significant importance to provide what is being asked for.
Importance of On-Time Pick-up and Delivery with food-grade shipping
On-time delivery and pickup are two of the biggest KPIs in the logistics industry because they are vital to a healthy supply chain. For food-grade shipping, the importance of these KPIs carries additional importance. The level of importance depends mostly on the type of food being shipped. Additionally, it is impacted by the strict guidelines of the trailer conditions mentioned above. It is fairly common that a trailer shows up on time but then does not pass inspection. This means that it has to leave and be cleaned before returning to transport the freight.
There are many factors that you will have to track and follow to ensure that your food-grade product is shipped correctly. We covered some of them here and you can read more at the links below: