Today we’re sitting down for a (virtual) cuppa and a chat with Ian McAllister, Transcan product specialist and Connexas Group’s Commercial Director, to unpack the ins and outs of the UK’s market-leading temperature monitoring solution.
1. “Can you summarise in 2 sentences or so what Transcan does?”
Challenging, but I’ll try (laughs). Transcan is an industry-standard, market-leading temperature data logger. It’s a product with advanced temperature reporting capabilities. When part of a bigger, integrated solution, it provides customers with business-critical information in terms of real-time temperature monitoring, alerts and reporting.
Transcan records the data and gives the customer the opportunity to remotely access that data. It also prevents potentially critical temperature deviations, which can cost the business serious money in both loss of cargo and claims from end-users.
2. “How would you say Transcan is different and better than the competitors?”
If you’re looking at it in terms of expertise, Transcan benefits from its long history – we’ve been in business for 25 years! The industry knowledge is definitely there, as well as the expertise of our team and our key partners.
When you look at the product itself, Transcan Advance incorporates 8 channels of temperature measurement and 8 status or ON/OFF inputs. We know for a fact that, at this moment in time, this is more than any of our competitors can support. 8 channels are particularly useful for businesses that require multi-compartment solutions. In the pharmaceutical sector, for example, it lends itself nicely to more complex situations where there is a need to track and monitor different environments at different temperatures.
Transcan Advance also features an enhanced OLED display, a bright blue display that is visible in any light condition; a humidity sensor for environmentally sensitive products; a high-speed noiseless thermal printer and the ability to easily offload data via the integrated USB port. I would say it’s the unique combination of features and functionality that ultimately sets Transcan apart from the competition, rather than a single feature.
3. “What problems does Transcan solve for customers?”
I would say the main problem Transcan solves is it removes uncertainty and risk and gives logistics businesses peace of mind. It gives them the confidence that their temperature-critical cargo has been transported within the required temperature parameters. It makes possible for businesses to address any temperature deviation issues before the damage is irreversible. It can also support their ability to show evidence of compliance if requested. They can either produce physical printed tickets at a point of delivery or retrospectively recover data, either from our databases or directly from the USB interface on the data logger.
4. “What are the main objections you face?”
This is actually quite an interesting question! Historically, conversations focused on whether Transcan and our wider fleet management solution would provide value, where and by how much. Now the value objection is not even brought up, and as with most sales scenarios, the price has become the key criterion in the decision-making process.
It’s not a secret Transcan is not the cheapest product on the market, however, it’s definitely the best. It provides enhanced temperature reporting capability; enables customers to manage and mitigate risk in their business; and provides evidence of compliance with the numerous rules, regulations, and standards that impact our industry. It does deliver an immediate and obvious return on investment.
There are several relatively simple and cheaper temperature solutions on the market at the moment. So simple, in fact, you would only need to plug a couple of probes into the telematics hardware. The catch is they would give you very low-level temperature readings. That is totally different from what Transcan offers. I’m almost tempted to say they’re not really competitors. Transcan is a high-level, but competitively priced solution.
5. “Is there an average ROI improvement?”
It totally depends on the size of the fleet. On a big fleet, you can usually see the difference much more clearly. For instance, when we deployed Transcan for a national supermarket chain over 10 years ago, there was a saving of 4 million pounds in lost stock just in Year 1.
Pharmacy is another great example. If there is a temperature deviation resulting in an entire load being spoilt and therefore refused, this sometimes can have a lost value close to 1 million pounds! That gives you an idea of the risk and losses the company can potentially incur. Preventative action is fundamental.
If the recipient of a load alleges that there are some problems with a cool cargo, Transcan allows our customers to show the product has been transported within the required parameters and therefore rebuff fraudulent claims. Insurers love that companies have adopted this type of monitoring. Compliance people and regulatory agencies like it too. If companies have temperature monitoring as part of their systems, it helps them in tenders and to win new business as well.
And let’s not forget additional cost savings, such as employing a yardman. Back in the day companies would have this guy physically checking the temperature of trailers parked overnight, to make sure the load wouldn’t be spoiled and there were no temperature deviations. Now, this can all be done remotely.
6. “Would you recommend Transcan as a standalone solution?”
Yes. Transcan has been a market-leading product for over 25 years and has been used on a standalone basis throughout this time. Very reliable, tried and test. If you compared it to other industries, Transcan would be the Hoover or the Dyson of temperature monitoring. Globally and widely recognised. However, with advances in technology, and, in particular, with the mainstream adoption of telematics solutions, Transcan fits really well into a wider integrated fleet management solution too. When the Connexas Group bought Transcan, the whole rationale behind it was for Transcan to eventually seamlessly integrate with JPOD, LMU and the likes. This is being worked on at the moment, and we hope to release it in the next few months.
7. “Where is Transcan going? Any new features, integrations, markets?”
One box that gives you temperature, telematics capability and Bluetooth functionality. That is where we see the market going. A one-stop shop – customers don’t want to deal with multiple suppliers – they want ONE partner that can supply all of those things in the most hassle-free way possible, with greater time and cost efficiencies.
8. “What types of industries can benefit more from Transcan?”
Any industry with a requirement for temperature reporting can benefit significantly from the use of the Transcan. Existing customers will be able to benefit from the extended features and functionality of Transcan Advance and new customers will be able to more effectively manage risk within their businesses and achieve a healthy ROI.
We serve a number of more traditional markets around food and pharma. We are in discussion with potential customers in completely different sectors, such as airside operations or livestock. We’re also working on new applications in existing markets, such as independent pharma distributors.
9. “How have you seen the market evolve in the last few years?”
There has been a clear evolution. Whilst Transcan has always been a valued asset by Bodybuilders and Fleet Managers, it is now perceived as a must-have by Compliance, Risk and Quality Managers and it’s these stakeholders that are driving demand for our product internally.
The whole focus has changed from value to price point. This is also a consequence of government bodies making guidelines and best practices almost mandatory. For instance, our single biggest customer (currently deploying over 4,000 units) has become so off the back on the Spanish government making temperature best practices mandatory. We saw a massive uptake in demand almost overnight, and we’re seeing the same thing happening in the UK with the MHRA.
10. “What changes have you seen since Coronavirus?”
Whilst every businesses’ absolute priority in the current climate is to protect the health and safety of their staff, our business remains very busy. Several industries we support (Food, Online Retail, Pharmaceutical) have seen significant upturns in demand. For us, this means an uptake in demand as well, and the challenge then becomes aligning manufacturer, distributors and engineers going out for installations.
Most customers and suppliers are still operating, if not at full capacity, certainly very close to that – only a few Bodybuilders have shut for an initial period of a couple of weeks. Interestingly, we have also seen evidence of a number of new entrants into the Frozen and Chilled market space, who are obviously looking to take advantage of the situation.