How TMS Software Helps Handle Data and FSMA Regulations

The FDA’s Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) is the most sweeping reform of food safety in laws in more than 70 years. Signed into law by President Obama in 2011, it aims to ensure the U.S. food supply is safe by shifting focus from responding to reports of food contamination, to preventing it from happening in the first place. The Sanitary Transportation of Human and Animal Food (SFTA), is the last rule of the FSMA series, and it applies directly to the transportation of food.

The SFTA has specific requirements around temperature control and tracking, cleanliness, training, data retention, and temperature certification. (You can find a more in-depth explanation here).  Each of these regulations presents a new set of challenges for food shippers. Namely, the mandate on temperature tracking and data retention. And with this heightened focus on data and visibility, it’s made TMS and other supply chain software essential. Here’s how TMS software helps with FSMA rules and regulations:

Automation of administrative work

The new FSMA regulations – by definition, requires more paperwork. Everything must be documented and recorded. The rule states that carriers must have written procedures, agreements and training documents.  However, with TMS software, you have the benefit of automating each of these processes. TMS software helps immensely with productivity by greatly reducing the workload caused by processes that were historically manual. It allows you to simplify processes, collect the necessary data and ensure compliance, without having to worry about adding more to your workload.

Tracking & Data

The FSMA rule has put an emphasis on visibility through tracking and data collection. For example, in the new rule, the FDA considers container sanitation and temperature monitoring a preventative food safety measure.  Thus, a shipper is required to provide carriers with written instructions on sanitation and temperature controls for the safe transport of their food.  In return, the carrier is expected to comply and offer further documentation.

A TMS software serves as a valuable data repository, allowing you to quickly view, manage and analyze your data in real-time. Also important is the historical record of all loads you’ve carried. With a software that makes your life easier, you will find more time to work on other aspects of your business.

 

Added Shelf Time

Most refrigerated foods – especially meat, cheese, fruits, and veggies – already have a shorter shelf-life than other food products. These highly perishable products need to be in stores as soon as possible to ensure they are stocked and consumed when intended. With TMS software and various optimization integrations, you are able to reduce the amount of time products spend in transit by optimizing routes and avoiding potential setbacks. When your TMS software can drive time out of the supply chain with 100% visibility into every step, you are going to impress your customers and have a chance to grow your revenues and profits. 

 

For a complete overview of Food transport guidance and regulation, visit fda.gov

How the ELD mandate impacts the trucking industry

 

Over the past few years, the trucking industry has seen a lot of changes.  Following the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), signed in 2011- shippers, carriers, and supply chain professionals have been forced to adhere to a new set of strict requirements. In an effort to prevent food-borne illnesses, carriers must comply with a variety of food safety precautions including temperature monitoring, cleanliness, training, and data retention. (You can read more about that here).

The biggest hurdle, however, came in December 2015 when the FMCSA announced the ELD mandate.  The new rule requires all commercial motor vehicles to be equipped with certified Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs) in order to enforce accurate hours-of-service (HOS) recordings.  The FMCSA reasoning for the new ruling is as follows … “to improve roadway safety by employing technology to strengthen commercial truck and bus drivers’ compliance with hours-of-service regulations that prevent fatigue.”

 

The ELD mandate is perhaps the biggest change seen by the trucking industry in over 50 years and one that many people are unhappy with. There’s no doubt it will have a dramatic impact on the industry. What’s not as clear, is exactly how. In an effort to gain more clarity on the topic, we will discuss the implications of the ELD mandate and how it impacts the trucking industry.

 

PRODUCTIVITY

Productivity is one area that no one seems to agree on. The initial thought was that ELDs would help to increase productivity for drivers by acting as a personal time-management tool. Matter of fact, the FMCSA estimates that the ELD mandate will result in a $2.44 billion savings. Most of which will be attributed to the amount of time drivers will save by not having to complete and submit time logs.

There has been a lot of skeptics, to say the least. Numerous reports have emerged that claim quite the opposite. John Larkin, managing director of transportation capital markets research, estimates the trucking industry will actually lose between 3% and 5% of its overall productivity once the federal regulations for ELDs go into full effect. He adds that small carriers will be most negatively affected, losing an estimated 6% to 10% of overall productivity.

 

COST

The FMCSA projects the ELDs to save over $1.6 billion annually from paperwork savings alone. They also suggest carriers will save in additional ways, with decreased fuel costs, reduced truck downtime and lowered total crash rates, to name a few. Even still, $1.6 billion in paperwork savings in slightly hard to believe.

Here’s a breakdown of the findings from a Regulatory Impact Analysis by FMCSA.

Estimated paperwork savings per driver per year:

  • Driver Filling RODS: $487
  • Driver Submitting RODS: $56
  • Clerk Filling Rods: $120
  • Elimination of paper driver log books: 42
  • Total: $705 per year in paperwork savings

Let’s face it, the savings are impressive, but do they make up for the costs of implementing the ELDs? The most common device will cost carriers about $495, per truck. For a small or medium-sized business, that’s a huge expense. One that could drastically change the state of their business.

 

SAFETY

The driving force behind the ELD mandate is first and foremost, safety. The ELD mandate applies to over 3 million drivers on the road. That’s 3 million drivers that could cause fewer accidents due to fatigue and inaccurate HOS logging. An analysis by the FMCSA, predicts that the ELD mandate will prevent approximately 20 fatalities and 434 injuries each year, due to driver fatigue. By ditching the paper and pen method and adopting the ELD method, it will ensure all drivers are following the specific safety and compliance standards.

 

Sources:

ELDFacts
FleetOwner.com
OverDriveOnline
FMCSA.gov