Much like the regular supply chain, the cold chain is one of the many economic linchpins of modern society. In simple terms, the phrase “cold chain” simply refers to a supply chain specializing in the logistics of transporting anything requiring cold temperatures. Such items include vaccines, medication, food, and more are all items which require a keen understanding of cold chain logistics. Maintaining appropriate refrigeration levels from the initial embarking point to the final destination is what the cold chain is all about. The mass production of food and maintaining its safety during transport is one of the primary functions of the cold chain. But it’s a multifaceted and complex industry comprising storage, packing, design, and transport. Using various gadgets to monitor your cargo as it travels along the cold chain means you can remain compliant, safe, and maintain product integrity across the entire chain. Here are five ways using gadgets can help you improve your cold chain logistics.
Understand Your Cargo Temperatures
Knowing what the proper temperatures are for your cargo (and finding ways to maintain them) is a significant part of shipping cargo along the cold chain. Medicines, life saving vaccines, Medical tissue, food, and more make their way across the country through this integral Supply chain. These items often need to be at or below certain temperatures in order to maintain viability. If they go into the temperature danger zone at any point they could be rendered ineffective or spoil. Using gadgets to Monitor and assess temperature is perhaps one of the most important roles in cold chain logistics.
Thermometers, temperature indicators, and other tools make it easier for supply chain managers to keep track of proper temperatures and take swift action should they fall below or above the safe limits for the card.
Know Compliance Standards
Understanding compliance standards should always be a part of your training and management. The FDA has numerous standards governing the cold supply chain. It is imperative to know these in order to operate efficiently and safely along the chain. Because the cold chain also extends to Medical tissue and pharmaceuticals, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention also has many standards that must be in place to operate safely. These all include aspects of temperature, storage, handling, and more. The Global Cold Chain Alliance seeks to standardize compliance and create online resources for every question you may have about the standards, making it a wonderful additional resource for understanding cold chain compliance.
Use Ideal Cooling Systems
Do you know what type of cooling systems to use for refrigerated freight? There are several different types of cooling systems in the world of refrigerated transport. Dry ice refrigeration is a popular choice because it’s easy to use and has a low cost. It does tend to have things ice over a bit due to the gas escaping the ice, but it does keep things cold for a long transport time. Cold plate refrigeration involves pre-chilled plates that are used to cheap cargo cold as it moves. There is refrigerant in the place that gets used up during transit. Liquid nitrogen refrigeration offers another unique way to chill cargo. It is maybe one of the most useful ones, as it works quickly, and can freeze just about anything it needs. Finally, there’s the standard mechanical refrigeration with which many of us are familiar. When something has to make a long trip or go a crazy distance throughout the country, having mechanical refrigeration can be a great benefit. Ultimately, the refrigeration method of choice can be largely determined by the contents of the transport and whatever best suits your business needs.
Use Temperature Indicators
Another way to leverage gadgets to accomplish your cold supply chain goals, is to use temperature indicators. Never underestimate the value of such a simple device. Temperature indicators measure time temperature abuse, providing insight into when cargo is exposed to dangerous temperatures and for approximately how long. A simple temperature indicator can operate within a particular range of temperatures or customized to suit your business needs.
Have A Back-Up Plan
Sometimes, despite our best intentions things can go awry. So it’s always best to have some sort of backup plan. With covid-19 knocking out certain parts of the supply chain, it’s more imperative than ever to plan for the future. Some ways to do this are seeing if your suppliers can pivot with you during a shortage or when an issue comes up. See if they’re able to help you in those circumstances. Consider developing additional relationships within the region and leveraging Technology to help take some of the load off so you’re able to meet demand. Whatever the future holds, you can largely control the outcome with just a little bit of planning ahead.