Reefer refreshed!


Puja Pankhania: What exactly are Thermo King's customers looking for?

Gayatri Chaturvedi: Thermo King provides refrigerated transportation using reliable and sophisticated equipment incorporating with high-end electronics. Monitoring these sophisticated systems and temperature-sensitive cargo is a natural progression for us.

Our customers are looking to manage their total cost of ownership and they trust us to not only monitor their refrigeration equipment but also their vehicles. Thermo King's web-based tracking system allows customers to monitor the temperature of their cargo and the location of the vehicles carrying it, from their desktops.

PP: What regulations are driving the reefer market at the moment?

GC: There are many regulations that drive the transportation refrigeration industry – ranging from those that call for more stringent control of temperature for load protection, to environmental standards on refrigerants and recycling of equipment.

The European Directive 37/2005, which includes EN 12830 & 13486, requires transporters and distributors of chilled and frozen perishables to install data loggers on their vehicles and in their warehouses. This ensures traceability throughout the cold chain.

Our customers are also driven by legislation like HACCP, which highlights the importance of food hygiene.

PP: What new partnership options are proving interesting for you?

GC: In order to further drive Thermo King's telematics value proposition, it is important to form strategic alliances with both technology and service partners that help to increase value for the customer.

PP: What is the value proposition for the integration of "cold" data into the separate fleet management system?

GC: In today's cost-sensitive environment, and with rising fuel costs, customers are looking to maximise their investments in monitoring systems. To improve back-office efficiency, they expect their telematics providers to work together to integrate systems and provide common interfaces. This sometimes means a marriage of tractor, trailer and temperature data in one interface.

Our customers also expect us to be flexible and integrate with their ERP, logistics & payroll systems.

PP: Who in the supply chain needs to receive the reefer information in order to be able to react to changes and prevent breakdowns – the fleet manager, the shipper or the 3PL?

GC: Depending on who the customer is, temperature data is important for the logistics / fleet manager, operations manager, the cargo owner (who is not necessarily the transport operator) and the end-user customer (who could be a retailer).

PP: Is there a business case to synchronise data – such as traffic – with reefer data, and if so, what would this enable?

GC: There is a strong business case to consolidate all information that can help our customers to reduce their operating costs and better manage their assets.

PP: As a big industry player, is your general long-term strategy focused on hardware or services?

GC: The future is in moving beyond hardware to integrated intelligence and services. We will focus on services that reduce the total cost of ownership for our customers and help drive recurring revenue for Thermo King.

As director of marketing for telematics & financial solutions for Thermo King Europe, Gayatri Chaturvedi is responsible for all asset management products and services, Ms Gayatri is speaking at the Logistics & Fleet Management Systems conference in Amsterdam on June 17-18 2008, where she will discuss how temperature monitoring can become an integral part of logistics operational planning.

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