The deadline looms for food shippers. April 6th is the day the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) goes into full effect and food shippers everywhere are working to ensure compliance. Regardless of how much (or how little) they may have prepared, one thing is certain: TMS solutions are playing a central role in ensuring food shippers are ready to meet (and even exceed) the requirements of the new law. Here’s how!
Transport Topics reports that although the FSMA has been looming since first passed in 2011, many businesses have been slow to prepare for its realities. The final deadline for compliance arrives this April and requires some significant changes to the way food shippers interact with the carriers and manage their private fleets.
TMS solutions are going to be more relevant than ever when it comes to providing the audit trail the FSMA will require. Take temperature control monitoring for example. When a case of food-borne illness breaks out, the FDA will rely on rules contained in the FSMA to quickly zero in on where the contamination or spoilage occurred within the supply chain. Modern TMS tools can be configured to log temperature settings at any intervals required by the shipper. This includes upon pick up, via in transit-check calls, upon receipt by the consignee and even via TRU telematics (which requires special integration). This type of temperature control record-keeping is something TMS is perfectly suited to accommodate.
Another consequence being anticipated as the FSMA comes into full effect impacts the relationship between shippers and their carriers. Transport Topics suggests that there is going to be a period of adjustment wherein the contracts between food shippers and carriers will need to be renegotiated to address the new compliance rules shippers are being forced to observe. TTNews also reports that carriers will be pressured to retrain their drivers, improving their understanding of potential food safety issues. This likely means there will need to be changes to how carrier performance is measured for shippers. Again, TMS solutions provide significant assistance, delivering robust capabilities for configurable carrier performance metrics and reporting. This functionality makes it easier for shippers to weed out carriers who have not adapted sufficiently to the new FSMA rules.
For food shippers with a private fleet, a solution like UltraShipTMS is particularly useful as the UltraShip platform provides functionality to support private fleet management on the same screen as common carriers. The UltraShip system can be configured to log relevant FSMA activity across all trailer assets. For example, trailer cleaning schedules, TRU temp set points, actual trailer temps and even product/pulp temp recording if required. UltraShipTMS also provides a YMS solution which adds yet another layer of control over the cold chain and the ability to audit as necessary.