Hy-Vee scores win in cold-chain management

Hy-Vee has won the 2014 RFID Journal Award for “Best Use of RFID to Enhance a Product or Service” at this year’s RFID Journal Live Event in Orlando, Fla. Hy-Vee, along with its technology provider, TempTRIP, implemented the first complete cold-chain management system for retail to monitor temperature of perishable foods from the vendor to the distribution center and continuing to the store.

“Hy-Vee has been committed to ensuring our customers the safest and best quality food that not only looks good at the store, but lasts longer for the customer at home,” said Kyle Oberender, Hy-Vee food safety director.

The grocery retailer deployed TempTRIP’s cold chain monitoring technology in early 2013. As part of the TempTRIP system deployment, Hy-Vee implemented RFID Readers at its PDI distribution center in Ankeny, Iowa. The company now requires suppliers to include TempTRIP UHF Gen2 RFID temperature tags with every order. There is no infrastructure or hardware required by suppliers as they simply push and hold the button to start the tag. The TempTRIP tags record time and temperature readings at pre-set intervals throughout the shipping and receiving process. When items arrive at the distribution centers, tags are passed by RFID readers placed between dock doors. The readers collect and send data to TempTRIP’s cloud-based cold-chain management system. Algorithms are applied on a per-product basis, allowing each product to be evaluated based on specific temperature guidelines. Algorithms analyze the data and results are sent to a Hy-Vee website. Hy-Vee uses this data to refuse product, investigate product, measure performance, and provide feedback to drivers, carriers and suppliers.

Once data is collected, the tag is cleared and configured for reuse. This system gives the grocery retailer 100% cold chain monitoring and management capabilities both inbound and outbound, from multiple suppliers, subsidiaries, distribution centers, transport carriers and retail store locations.

Hy-Vee said that it greatly benefited from the implementation of the TempTRIP system. First, monitoring food products during transit allows them to be confident in perishable product shelf-life, quality and safety, thus providing customers with a consistent product experience and ensuring customer loyalty.

Second, using TempTRIP’s reusable tags solution offers a 22% reduction in supplier costs in comparison to similar single-use devices. Cost of labor was also reduced due to data integration and the ability to upload data directly to Hy-Vee’s website. Labor costs were also reduced due to a 97% reduction in data evaluation times. With RFID, the entire process was reduced from five minutes to eight seconds.

Hy-Vee is currently deploying this system to additional DCs and suppliers. Additionally, TempTRIP’s network-connected RFID readers are being implemented for use at each Hy-Vee retail location. This will allow for shipment results to be known upon store delivery. This will also allow Hy-Vee retail stores the capability to use TempTRIP tags on deliveries that come directly from a supplier.

“Hy-Vee is a pioneer in full cold-chain management in the retail space,” said Phaedra Culjak, COO of TempTRIP. “There are not any other retailers, that I am aware of, that have implemented such a complete, end-to-end temperature monitoring program that enables visibility and decision-making capabilities to reduce food waste, as well as increase the quality and safety of their products.”

TempTRIP is part of Diversey Care’s portfolio of solutions that help customers improve food safety and combat food waste. Diversey Care is a division of Sealed Air Corp., a leader in food safety and security, facility hygiene and product protection.