CASE STUDY: Keepin’ it Fresh and Safe: Alpine Fresh Finds Real Value in Real-Time Tracking & Monitoring
It’s no secret that U.S. consumers have an insatiable appetite for all things fresh. According to USDA data released in February 2022, imports of fruits and vegetables in 2021 set records for the second consecutive year: fruit imports rose by 16% year-over- year to $23 billion, while vegetable imports grew by 8% to $17.3 billion. No doubt that Alpine Fresh, whose mission since 1988 has been to bridge the gap between themselves, growers of fresh fruits and vegetables in Latin America, and U.S. consumers, has contributed to that record growth in imports—thanks in part to a strong partnership with Tive. The collaboration’s roots trace to 2019 when Ellie Ivey, the Director of Logistics for Alpine Fresh, met with Tive Founder Krenar Komoni to discuss not only how to improve end-to-end visibility in the fresh food supply chain but how to do so safely. Unable to track shipment locations and conditions in real-time, Alpine Fresh was losing hundreds of thousands of dollars in spoiled products and truck claims; it needed not just any real-time tracking and monitoring solution they needed one that did not use lithium batteries.
Today’s consumers expect more than just food; they want freshness and sustainability too. This parallels the global supply chain, where the expectation is for on-time, in-full deliveries, freshness, and—no surprise—sustainability, with a healthy helping of innovation. Deloitte points out, “The traditional food value chain is becoming a digitized, always-on, and fully integrated digital supply network powered by real-time data and analytics.” In the case of Alpine Fresh, getting that in a single solution presented several challenges.
Lithium batteries are sensitive to high temperatures, are extremely flammable, and pose significant health and environmental risks due to the potential of toxins seeping into the water, soil, and air. Given those risks, one of Alpine Fresh’s most prominent customers decided not to allow data loggers into their facilities if lithium batteries powered them.
Alpine Fresh team members could not monitor shipments’ locations and conditions in real-time, nor could they pinpoint the root causes of fresh failures due to temperature excursions, exposure to excessive humidity or light, or an impact/shock event.
With only two full-time members on its Transportation team, Alpine Fresh could not possibly contact all trucks on the road by phone or email to get updates, especially now that the company has operations in six countries on five continents.
Within two weeks of the initial meeting between the two companies, Alpine Fresh was up and running on the Tive platform and using the Solo 5G, the world’s first non-lithium tracker. This innovative tracker captures and transmits hyper-accurate location, temperature, humidity, shock and light exposure. After the warehouse team attaches the Solo 5G tracker at the container or pallet level and activates it with the press of a button, the Alpine Fresh team can:
Receive real-time alerts when excursions occur (or are about to happen), based on configurable thresholds.
Log in to the Tive platform and track shipments by order number.
Respond to customer inquiries about their shipments quickly and easily, thanks to real-time visibility.
Streamline communications and collaboration with stakeholders. Each team can access the Tive platform.
Know with confidence that the Tive Live Monitoring team is on the job 24/7, watching for issues and ready to mitigate when needed to ensure shipments arrive on time and in full.
Rest assured that Lithium-free Solo 5G poses no threats to shipments and appeases those customers who demand to work with safe, sustainable operations.
“With Tive, there is no guessing game as to whether there is an issue. This saves time and eliminates stress. Everyone can see what’s going on with shipments, and we know the Tive Live Monitoring team is constantly monitoring and checking on our behalf.”
Ellie Ivey Director of Logistics, Alpine Fresh
Alpine Fresh started seeing immediate benefits and significant ROI with Tive. Here are a few highlights:
Savings amounting to hundreds of thousands of dollars by reducing cargo loss and truck claims.
The Tive Live Monitoring team:
Identified and successfully mitigated a temperature excursion on a $120,000 blueberry shipment bound for New Jersey.
Saved a $90,000 shipment of asparagus headed to Miami when the 5G Solo tracker detected temperature fluctuations while in transit. The reefer was set to cycle rather than run continuously.
Significantly reduced the time Alpine Fresh Transportation team members spend monitoring shipments for deviation.
Real-time data and alerts enhance communications between sales, other internal teams, and end customers.
Greater insights into shipment status. Know at a glance if the shipment is on a route with multiple stops, when it arrives at the customer, when it gets unloaded, etc. This drives accountability among stakeholders.
“Tive’s overall customer service is outstanding. Everyone on their team is quick to address a problem, and accessibility to their people is great.”
Ellie Ivey Director of Logistics, Alpine Fresh
Alpine Fresh now has Tive trackers on all trucks in the U.S. and has since started putting them on containers in Peru. Meanwhile, the Tive live monitoring team now monitors all Alpine Fresh orders.
Biocair, a specialist courier with over 35 years of experience delivering industry-leading logistics solutions in the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and life science sections, knew the evolving guidelines and customer expectations for the shipping and handling of cell and gene therapy (CTG) shipments demanded a deeper level of monitoring and communication. Tive’s Solo 5G connectivity with hyper-accurate location updates in real time was in line with industry changes and could provide what CGT clients wanted.