Temperature monitoring at PGG Wrightson saves valuable products from spoilage.

A proof-of-concept test of IoT temperature monitoring devices immediately saved thousands of dollars in product from being wasted at PGG Wrightson – now the plan is to roll it out across the organisation. 

Customer problem

PGG Wrightson buys and sells many millions of dollars’ worth of temperature-sensitive products. When the freezers fail, products become unusable or spoiled, leading to significant financial losses and unnecessary waste. Manual checking was labour-intensive and infrequent.


The PGG Wrightson team set up a proof-of-concept trial with IoT devices installed in freezers at a single site. The IoT sensors sent text and email alerts via the Spark Cat-M1 network whenever the temperature in the freezers exceeded set parameters.


Within weeks, the technology had proved its worth, saving thousands of dollars’ worth of chilled or frozen products. Manual checking has been eliminated at the site. The organisation has learned more about causes of freezer failures and set up new ways to prevent them.

Proof of concept demonstrates value

PGG Wrightson is a leading provider to the agricultural sector and a longstanding cornerstone of the Kiwi farming community. It regularly deals in vital primary industry products and essential items that require careful temperature management, including animal vaccines, deer velvet, wine and enzymes. 

Temperature-controlled environments are essential to safeguarding these products; if they are not stored correctly, they will spoil or be unusable, leading to unnecessary waste and costs. Unfortunately, fridge and freezer failures are common and it can take some time to notice that an appliance has lost power or stopped working correctly. 

The team at PGG Wrightson undertook a proof-of-concept trial at their Blenheim Fruitfed store using Spark’s remote temperature monitoring IoT solutions. Monitoring devices were installed in the vaccine chiller, wine chiller and velvet freezer. These devices sent temperature data across the Spark Cat-M1 IoT network and when temperatures rose beyond their set maximum, an SMS and email alert would go out to those responsible for each appliance. 

The system demonstrated its value straight away. 

“We had two separate incidents within weeks of the proof of concept going live, saving the company thousands of dollars,” says Shawn McKellar, Technology Strategist at PGG Wrightson Group. “The proof’s always in the pudding and once we had demonstrated it, we knew the potential across the business would be significant. We had a number of very excited people.”

Raising the standard for temperature control during shipping and storage

After learning from the trial and tweaking the platforms, the PGG Wrightson team has the system producing highly accurate results: “If we get an alert, we can be 99% confident it’s due to an actual issue,” says McKellar. 

The trial also identified common causes of appliance failures, including underperforming units and units being unplugged by cleaning staff. This has led to new procurement standards for chillers and research into hardwired equipment to cut down on unplugging incidents. 

The next stage is to roll this out across the organisation, potentially creating massive cost savings. In addition, the information generated will demonstrate temperature control throughout the time a product is in PGG Wrightson’s care.

“There are significant investments at stake, and we must do our due diligence in our chain of custody. As a result of the data logging, we are able to have confidence in the performance of the product we supply. We believe this technology will help us raise the standard for temperature controls during shipping and storage.” 


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