What is dynamic routing?
Dynamic routing involves determining the best route for something based on the current set of conditions.
In the food supply chain, an example would be sending fresh produce to retailer sites based on the expected shelf life of the produce. This ensures that the food nearest to expiration goes to the closest stores and spends the least time in transportation until it is on the shelf.
As technology develops further and supply chains become more connected, dynamic routing is the obvious direction moving forward. And it’s no surprise that this is the dream state for many supply chains in the food system. It is critical to get products to consumers well before the expiration date.
What is needed for dynamic routing of fresh produce?
To dynamically route fresh produce, 3 things are needed:
- The ability to measure shelf-life and freshness accurately (within 1 day)
- A method or system for deciding the routing patterns
- Communication of routing decisions
Why is technology so necessary for dynamic routing?
Fresh produce does not have the same shelf life between batches. Some are longer than average and some are shorter. Thus, there is no way to have dynamic routing without shelf life predictions, and there is no benefit to dynamic routing unless it is accurate.
Regardless of how accurate the shelf life prediction is, there is no benefit to dynamic routing unless there is a system for implementing it. Therefore, it is important to have all recipients of a given type of produce sorted by distance and finding the most efficient path to get the fresh produce to them.
Software is typically needed for this because the data is always changing and a computer is the only realistic way to keep up with it.
Communicating routing decisions is critical to ensure that dynamic routing is followed. Unless all stakeholders know exactly what their role is and where to send each batch, this can be a complicated process.
However, with the proper dynamic routing software, this makes jobs easier for employees as they know exactly what to do with each batch.
What are the benefits of dynamic routing?
The benefits of dynamic routing in the fresh produce supply chain include:
- Maximized shelf life
- Reduced amount of food waste
- Savings of wasted food cost
- Large environmental impact
- Improved product freshness
- Increase in sales
- Improved brand perception
- Fresher products donated
What are the different ways you can measure produce shelf life?
There are a few technologies available that allow for measuring produce freshness. The most important metric to look for is accuracy in measurement. Therefore, if the accuracy is not within a day, the dynamic routing system will not work optimally.
Different ways of measuring product freshness include:
- Allowing products to sit on the shelf and measure expiration
- Measuring ethylene oxide released by produce
- Using product specifications and imaging
- Determining internal properties and comparing to a static standard
- Implementing scanning with AI algorithms to involve many factors
The best technology to predict shelf life is the only that is most accurate for a specific type of produce. This may even be a combination of different methods.
What should you look for in dynamic routing technology?
It’s nearly impossible to fully implement dynamic routing without a solid technology stack. Here are some things to look for when evaluating different dynamic routing solutions.
- Cloud platform to connect various stakeholders
- Bi-directional data flow
- Data analytics and suggestions
- Mobile app
- Accurate scanning technology and integration with software
- APIs to connect to logistics software
What’s the next step for implementing dynamic routing?
The next step should be to contact a company that specializes in dynamic routing and shelf life prediction and offers a full technology stack. The earlier communication begins with a company, the quicker you are to saving money and implementing changes.
What does OneThird do in terms of dynamic routing?
OneThird offers the full technology package necessary to implement dynamic routing for all parts of the food supply chain.
With handheld scanners developed by the leaders in applied spectral knowledge (Ocean Insight), a cloud platform, and mobile app to process data and communicate routing, and an expert team of data scientists and researchers, OneThird is the ideal solution to implement dynamic routing.
Above all, OneThird is focused on preventing food waste by helping customers make smart business decisions.
If you would like to learn more about how you can implement dynamic routing in your supply chain, contact OneThird today.