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PGG Wrightson uses Spark IoT tech to store animal vaccines

Farmers and animal lovers across New Zealand will have more peace of mind knowing the vaccines they're purchasing are fit for purpose, thanks to a new technology trial between agricultural business PGG Wrightson and Spark New Zealand.

“Animal clostridial vaccines need to be kept at temperatures below 7°C. A faulty fridge, or a door left ajar, can quickly cause a fridge full of vaccines to be rendered unusable. Our PGG Wrightson's Business Innovation Group alongside Spark's IoT teams have deployed a solution that monitors vaccine fridge temperatures to reduce the likelihood of vaccines going to waste through insufficient storage measures," says Stephen Guerin, CEO of PGG Wrightson. 

“We have rolled out temperature and humidity sensors in the vaccine fridges to ten of our stores. These sensors provide real-time information through a centralised dashboard and issues alerts any time the temperature gets too high which means our staff can double check our stock is safe.”

“It proved its worth almost immediately when staff at our Blenheim store were alerted to a rise in temperature in one of our vaccine fridges due to it losing power. Contact was promptly made with the store and power was restored to the fridge within one hour which saved high value vaccine products.”

“Also, as part of the British Retail Consortium Global Standards (BRCGS) certification for our Blenheim Fruitfed Supplies store we are required to provide audit information to show that the vaccines we hold have been stored at the correct temperatures. The new monitoring system means we have reduced manual monitoring and staff have been freed up to help customers or tend to other pressing issues in their day.”

The same solution was installed in deer velvet freezers and has also been able to help the team respond immediately to an issue before it resulted in a loss that could have cost thousands of dollars.

“The installed sensors in fridges and freezers send information every 15 minutes to the Spark cloud-hosted platform – IoT Bridge. Previously, the manual monitoring of fridges in some stores didn’t necessarily catch problems quickly enough before they could be remedied. If a fridge door isn’t fully shut and it stays that way for several hours, all the vaccines in the fridge may need to be binned. That can lead to several issues: not enough vaccines available for stock; expensive losses; and piles of paperwork,” adds Michele Wong, Lead, Spark IoT. 

“With monitored fridges, online dashboards and alerts which immediately show if there is a problem, visualise data and even prepare reports. This solution really showcases the beauty of simple smart technology that can increase staff productivity and decrease cost and risk simultaneously.”

The key features of the temperature and humidity sensors by Spark IoT include an easy-to-use dashboard to manage assets from desktop or mobile. In addition, these are easy-to-install devices and set up with no wiring or power required.

An extensive reporting capability gives insights into the temperature and humidity of all assets. In addition, the clients get exception alerts that inform them of any potential problems. The workflows also help to automate your processes and escalate unresolved issues.

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