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Hy-Vee Honored for Cold-chain Management

Hy-Vee Inc. won the 2014 RFID Journal Award for “Best Use of RFID to Enhance a Product or Service” at this year’s RFID Journal Live Event in Orlando, Fla.

West Des Moines, Iowa-based Hy-Vee, along with its technology provider, TempTRIP, implemented the first complete cold-chain management system for retail to monitor temperature of perishable foods from the vendor to the distribution center and continuing to the store.

“Hy-Vee has been committed to ensuring our customers the safest and best quality food that not only looks good at the store, but lasts longer for the customer at home,” said Kyle Oberender, director of safety for one of Hy-Vee's distribution centers.

100% Monitoring

Hy-Vee deployed TempTRIP’s cold-chain monitoring technology in early 2013, implementing RFID readers at its PDI distribution center in Ankeny, Iowa. Hy-Vee now requires suppliers to include TempTRIP UHF Gen2 RFID temperature tags with every order. There is no infrastructure or hardware required; with the push of a button, TempTRIP tags record time and temperature readings at pre-set intervals throughout the shipping and receiving process. When items arrive at the distribution centers, tags are passed by RFID readers placed between dock doors. The readers collect and send data to TempTRIP’s cloud-based cold-chain management system. Algorithms are applied on a per-product basis, allowing each product to be evaluated based on specific temperature guidelines. Algorithms analyze the data and results are sent to a Hy-Vee website. Hy-Vee uses this data to refuse product, investigate product, measure performance and provide feedback to drivers, carriers and suppliers.

Once data is collected, the tag is cleared and configured for reuse. This system gives Hy-Vee 100 percent cold-chain monitoring and management capabilities both inbound and outbound, from multiple suppliers, subsidiaries, distribution centers, transport carriers and retail store locations.

The ability to monitor food products during transit gives Hy-Vee greater confidence in perishable product shelf life, quality and safety. Further, TempTRIP’s reusable tags offers a 22 percent reduction in supplier costs versus similar single-use devices. Cost of labor was also reduced due to data integration, the ability to upload data directly to Hy-Vee’s website, and a reduction in data evaluation times. With RFID, the entire process was reduced from five minutes to eight seconds.

Hy-Vee is currently deploying this system to additional DCs and suppliers. Additionally, TempTRIP’s network-connected RFID readers are being implemented for use at each Hy-Vee retail location. This will allow for shipment results to be known upon store delivery. This will also allow Hy-Vee retail stores the capability to use TempTRIP tags on deliveries that come directly from a supplier.

Sturtevant, Wis.-based TempTRIP is part of Diversey Care’s portfolio of solutions that help customers improve food safety and combat food waste.  Diversey Care is a division of Sealed Air Corp.

Hy-Vee Inc. is an employee-owned supermarket chain operating 235 retail stores in eight Midwestern states, with 2013 sales of $8 billion.

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