Case Study

EROAD’s Cold Chain Solution Yields Big Savings for Top Food Distributor

EROAD ran a cold chain technology pilot program designed to minimize disruptions to day-to-day operations. Costly inefficiencies were revealed and ultimately corrected with EROAD’s cold chain solution.  

Refrigerated fleets trust EROAD’s cold chain solution to ensure regulatory compliance, prove that they are meeting – and often exceeding – their customers’ requirements, minimize operational risks, and significantly boost their profitability. EROAD’s innovative technology provides unparalleled accuracy and reliability, delivering deep insights that quickly translate into proven, operation-wide ROI.  

Recognizing the potential benefits that EROAD’s advanced reefer asset telemetry could yield, one of the largest wholesale food distributors in the United States, serving about 250,000 customers, decided in to participate in a pilot of the EROAD cold chain solution. During the pilot, EROAD’s technology revealed costly operational inefficiencies. After evaluating the findings, the company implemented EROAD’s solution, resulting in significant cost savings across fuel consumption, fleet utilization, maintenance, labor and product quality. 


Silent Pilot Process

EROAD installed its Reefer Solution in more than 200 trailers at one of the company’s numerous distribution centers. To minimize disruptions to the company’s day-to-day operations, streamline management of the pilot and ensure the integrity of the data collected, the EROAD team conducted a silent pilot, allowing the equipment to run without any manual intervention or adjustments during the trial period. 

Over about four weeks, baseline data was gathered, giving an overview of existing operational inefficiencies and performance metrics. This data would later serve as a crucial benchmark against which the improvements and benefits of EROAD’s Reefer Solution could be measured, ultimately demonstrating the value and impact of the technology in a live operational environment.  


 Key pilot findings 

The pilot identified several critical operational inefficiencies: 

  • Precooling procedures were causing excessive fuel burn and unnecessary stress on equipment. 
  • An analysis of reefer-related roadside breakdowns indicated that early alerts would have been generated in more than 60% of these instances. 
  • Inconsistent bulkhead and door management during deliveries. 
  • Significant deviations from established company standard operating procedures (SOPs), resulting in substantial financial losses (e.g., reefer fueling/post route, set points and reefer operating modes, among others). 
  • Excessive labor resources deployed for drop yard management. 


EROAD Cold Chain Solution

Based on the pilot results, the company opted to install the EROAD cold chain solution to its fleet of about 9,000 reefer trailers. Asset telemetry includes, but is not limited to:  

  • Remote temperature, fuel, and asset health monitoring to ensure product quality, minimize spoilage, and reduce wasteful energy consumption. 
  • Predictive reefer shutdown alerts to identify potential problems before they lead to equipment failure, allowing for timely maintenance and repair. 
  • Two-way reefer communication/control to allow key operating settings, including temperature, to be modified remotely.  
  • Refrigerated and dry asset tracking to communicate accurate delivery times and monitor for theft protection. 
  • Bundled alerting structure for easy data consumption and utilization. 



EROAD’s solution improved operational efficiency and delivered significant cost savings across fuel consumption, fleet utilization, maintenance, labor and product quality.


Energy consumption

Improved precooling procedures facilitated by remote reefer monitoring, two-way controls and data playback save the company a significant amount in fuel costs – potentially saving up to $100,000 a day across its fleet of about 9,000 trailers, based on inefficiencies revealed during the pilot and corrected by EROAD’s technology. The EROAD solution also provides enhanced visibility into driver behavior, including bulkhead and door management, providing actionable data to optimize performance for additional savings across fuel use, maintenance, asset life and product. 

“On average, a reefer trailer needs about 30 to 45 minutes to an hour to precool,” says EROAD Senior Technical Account Manager Travis Ross, who oversaw the pilot. “We were finding that they were precooling for three to six hours, burning about a gallon of fuel an hour.” 



Early priority one reefer alerts (generated seven days before an incident occurs) reduce roadside breakdowns, saving costs associated with roadside repair calls, damaged product, negative customer experience and wasted driver wages. Alerting structures paired with the ability to quickly access applicable data through EROAD’s Reefer Insights Dashboard also facilitate a proactive and streamlined preventative maintenance program, ensuring that critical issues are resolved in order of importance and extending asset life. 

“We took a sampling of six weeks of their SOS roadside breakdown calls and compared them to reefer red alerts for the same period. We showed that in 62% of those breakdowns the EROAD solution would have provided an alert allowing them to act before the breakdown,” Ross says. “That could have saved driver wages, the cost of lost product, the cost of a roadside repair – it’s pretty profound.” 



Remote reefer monitoring paired with two-way reefer control saves labor costs by eliminating the need for employees to manually precool trailers and check temperatures, fuel levels and trailer health. The ability to remotely monitor and manage the health of dropped assets yields further savings on labor costs. 

“Carriers will often send someone from the warehouse to walk the yard and check temperatures, check fuel and switch reefers on to precool. Or they have to pay someone to check on trailers in remote shuttle yards,” Ross says. “With our solution, someone with a computer or tablet can monitor and control reefer units from anywhere – so, they save a lot on labor.” 


Product and customer experience

The ability to remotely monitor and control reefers paired with early breakdown alerts reduces the risk of lost loads – both during journeys and with dropped assets – and the resulting negative customer experience. 

Our bundled alerting structure saves loads. You could be sitting within 50 yards from a trailer and lose a load because you don’t know that the reefer is having problems,” Ross says. “With the EROAD platform, carriers can create temperature alerts within a geofence and know in real time whether a trailer is out of temp.” 


A Growing Partnership

Based on its success using EROAD’s cold chain solution across its entire fleet of 9,000 trailers to reduce fuel and labor costs, improve its maintenance program and reduce breakdowns, and minimize product loss and improve customer experience, the company has since added EROAD technology to more than 500 reefer straight trucks, 800 dry vans and 900 dollies. 


CLICK HERE to learn how EROAD’s cutting-edge cold chain technology can help you slash fuel costs, boost efficiency and minimize lost loads. Or, CONTACT US today for more info. 


Improved precooling procedures facilitated by the EROAD cold chain solution save the company potentially $100,000 a day across its fleet of 9,000 reefer trailers, based on inefficiencies revealed during the pilot and corrected by EROAD’s technology. EROAD’s cold chain solution delivers additional savings across maintenance, labor and product.