Derek Richardson send us a…Postcard from Malaysiattnshipping tam
I’ve been spending time working in Malaysia recently. For those of you who haven’t been, Malaysia lies in the South China Sea and borders Thailand, Singapore, Vietnam and Indonesia.
Singapore, an important Malaysian market along with Thailand, is an island city-state off southern Malaysia. It lies at the southernmost tip of continental Asia, just one degree north of the equator, so there’s a tropical rainforest climate with no distinctive seasons, fairly uniform temperature and pressure, high humidity, and monsoon time from November to January.
Temperatures usually range from 22 to 35°C and relative humidity tends to kick off at around 80% in the morning, falling as the day progresses.
Like Malaysia, Singapore is a wealthy country, with very low unemployment and 90 per cent of residents owning their own homes. Singapore has the world’s highest percentage of millionaires, with one out of every six households having at least one million US dollars in disposable wealth. That’s not what they can raise if they sell their home – that’s their cash!
So you can probably guess that eating well – plus shopping! – is a high priority for most of the region’s residents. You’ll have also spotted that growing food and transporting it around here isn’t going to be easy.
There are lots of mountain ranges in Malaysia, and it’s up in the mountains that salad-growing takes place because the cooler air provides the best conditions.
The problem of course is logistics.
All that precious salad production has to be transported far and wide, by road in trucks. Off to shops and high-end restaurants. And sometimes the vehicles are gone from base for several days, experiencing a very wide variety of conditions. Losing the load to temperature variations was a very real problem, so when we were called in by the grower we fitted up one truck as a trial.
These are multi-purpose trucks. They need to be since they need to have the flexibility to deliver a wide range of produce without returning to base. So some trucks are split up into two or three – chilled, frozen, and ambient. So we fitted three iSense sensors into the truck, one for each section, each with separate monitoring. Alarms were set up to relay both back to base and to the driver.
The trial has worked well and it has saved the firm a lot of money. So now we’ve extended the trial to another four trucks, before rolling it out to the whole fleet. To us, just another day’s work, but to the grower it’s a game-changer. So now, I’m off to celebrate. With a green salad, of course!