Maintaining control from a distance – 3 cold chain monitoring solutions

1st October 2018

There are many things that can go wrong in the cold chain as you move loads from A to B. Here’s a brief overview of 3 technologies that will always keep you in the know.

Nobody should have to rely on hope alone. Hope that cargos being transported throughout your cold chain will arrive in perfect condition: fresh, safe, and fully compliant with local laws.

That goes for all loads being transported of course, but particularly with perishables – food, medicines etc. Yet the reality is that many things can go wrong when moving such items from points A to B. In the food industry alone, it’s estimated that a third or more of annual production globally is never eaten.

Gaining the visibility to act

Hope however has had its day. Its replacement: interconnected digital technologies able to provide real-time insights into what’s going on with each load being shipped. Devices able to track cargo on the move, and dedicated to ensuring it arrives in the best possible condition – to provide you with:

  • The oversight needed to check up-to-the-minute conditions throughout your operation
  • The control to identify and respond quickly to any emerging problems
  • The confidence to reassure your own clients on the quality of the service being provided

A two-way flow of information

These technologies work because they have very specific ‘events’ to monitor – from real-time temperatures and location, to door openings, fuel levels, and reefer error codes.

Importantly however they should also contain a level of ‘smart’, and the ability to support two-way communications between a central location and the vehicles ‘in the field’. It’s OK having information ‘pulled’ to you at head office, but what if it signals a problem?

In an intelligent cold chain you should also be able to ‘push’ information back to any vehicle/unit/driver, and in so doing take corrective action. When this happens you’re then able to combine end-to-end visibility across the cold chain, with the ability to proactively act on issues before they become problems – 24/7 from any location.

Capabilities to get you moving

This concept of ‘management from a distance’ is brought to life by a range of Thermo King products that include:

TK BlueBox

Now standard on all our new trailer units, TK BlueBox offers a telematics system that stores data across all relevant parameters. It also comes with a Geo-location feature that automatically switches power between diesel and truck Enviro Drive in the SLXi Hybrid unit. Most importantly of all, it’s set up to enable 2-way communication and remote accessibility to help ensure the loads are monitored (and therefore protected) at all times.


An easy-to-use GPRS/GPS system that provides visibility of all the assets and cargos your transport fleet has ‘live’ in the cold chain – direct to your desktop. The information made available includes real-time data on temperature, location, and alarms triggered. As a result, your business can be confident of delivering:

  • Improved operational efficiency and vehicle usage
  • Reduced levels of cargo loss through ‘thermal abuse’ and resulting wastage
  • Guaranteed product integrity and on-time delivery for clients

TracKing™ also comes with a multilingual web interface to extend your visibility, along with a host of dashboards and reports to give you all the right information when you need it.

TK Reefer app

A really clever app for drivers and managers to interact with their Reefer Controllers in real-time, check status, and change conditions as required. This is part of Thermo King’s commitment to enabling anytime, anywhere connections, by providing remote Bluetooth® connectivity to your SLXi unit.

Real-world benefits

What these technologies bring together is a series of capabilities that support the remote monitoring and management of your transport fleet. And by maintaining a more consolidated and real-time picture of what’s going on and where, you’ll be able to inspire smarter ways of working:

  • Save time and resources – automated monitoring removes the need for human intervention
  • Reduce spoilage and waste – by acting fast if a product’s nominal range is breached or compromised
  • Meet compliance objectives – with clear audit trails to show adherence to any localized laws and regulations
  • Offer preventative maintenance – by acting on warning signs to prevent equipment downtime

Give yourself the power of control

You can find out more about TK BlueBox, TracKing™, and the TK Reefer app, right here.