Since the start of 2020, DS Smith have been a channel partner of Hanhaa’s ParceLive platform. Founded back in the 1940s, DS Smith has become a leading provider of corrugated and plastics packaging for consumer and industrial goods supported by paper and recycling operations.
This case study shall focus on one of DS Smith’s customers, who is a multinational confectionery, food, holding and beverage company, with operations in more than 80 countries.
DS Smith Philosophy
DS Smith believe that packaging is not only a product but a real technology. Through the application of ParceLive to confectionery shipments, DS Smith have gone one step further with their technological applications to ensure that all products are monitored carefully throughout the supply chain to reach their end destination in the desired conditions.
Confectionery (Chocolate) storage conditions:
Chocolate is a $22 Billion business in the US. While roughly 90% of chocolate is still being sold through brick and mortar stores, online shopping is gaining traction. The increasing volume of chocolate bars and praline boxes ordered online every year creates a logistical headache for many chocolate makers.
The melting point for chocolate is between 30-32ºC. Chocolate should be kept away from moisture and excessive heat; these are the two factors that destroy chocolate more rapidly than all others. Optimum storage and transport conditions should be at a constant temperature between 12 and 20ºC.
Although chocolate can be transported at colder temperatures (4.4°C – 7.2°C), there is a risk of condensation if the refrigerated cargo gets unloaded in a warm environment. Chocolate with a liquid filling, such as liqueur chocolates, cannot tolerate any frost, since the liquid filling would expand, and crack the outer shell.
When chocolate is stored in damp conditions, the sugar within the chocolate absorbs the moisture and evaporates to leave a dusty layer of crystalised sugar dust that is almost fluffy and can easily be confused with mould. The relative humidity should be below 50%.
Monitoring the temperature and humidity along the cool chain is instrumental in maintaining the quality of the chocolate. Just placing a thermometer in a truck is not enough. With so many variables to measure and constantly monitor, ParceLive and its smart sensor technology is able to provide the user with real-time data on the storage and transportation conditions listed above.
To ensure maximum security and visibility when transporting cargo, Hanhaa have developed a profiling feature so that customers can configure the sets of data that they want to be alerted on and determine the frequency at which this data is reported back to them.
Perishable shipments or those that require stable temperatures will therefore require much more frequent updates on the condition of their cargo whereas other shipments that contain electronics or manufacturing equipment for example, require less frequent updates on the cargos condition. This of course depends on many factors – if a shipment is extremely valuable and prone to theft, then frequent updates will be a necessity.
The images below shows a confectionary shipment from the USA, Carlisle, Indiana, to The Netherlands, Venlo.
The ParceLive tracker is multimodal meaning that it is able to record data regardless of transportation method. ParceLive has a flight mode that enables the device to detect both acceleration and pressure to signal that the tracker is now airborne.
During the course of the flight, ParceLive will still record all data from the entirety of the journey. When the plane eventually comes to land, all data from the flight will be made readily available via the ParceLive portal.
The image below shows the end of journey, with a chequered flag to illustrate this. The cargo arrived unspoiled with no deviations of temperature or humidity outside of defined parameters.
Nevertheless, if anything were to go wrong that would jeopardise the confectionery in transit, the customer is now in a position to act quickly to ensure product integrity and to resolve any disputes around late or damaged goods. Other supply chain routes may not be as uneventful as the one depicted above. In case of a deviation of the set parameters, ParceLive will provide real-time alerts that can be sent by text, email, or phone. This often allows the problem to be fixed before the temperature is getting too warm or too cold.
Temperature and humidity monitoring also helps in evaluating potential risks for product quality that are not visible right away. Fat bloom, for example, can appear two to three months after chocolate has been exposed to temperature fluctuations. If a temperature deviation has been detected once the products arrives in a warehouse, it can be put on quarantine hold and tested over the following weeks and months to ensure that the quality is still intact.