Cold Chain Logistics: Ensuring Product Quality and Safety During Winter

  • 16 May 2024
  • 5 Min Read

eCommerce and globalization have transformed the way the economy functioned, majorly by shrinking the relative distance between the regions but geographical boundaries and limitations are still the same. Rather they have become a matter of bigger concern with a rise in customer expectations. For eCommerce vendors who have grown beyond the local market, temperature control of items is one of the major concerns, particularly for those dealing in pharmaceuticals, food, beverages, or certain products that are temperature sensitive. The purpose of winter freight management is to avoid delays and maintain the quality of items.

Cold storage solutions in supply chain management handle perishable products such as dairy, meat, chemicals, medicines, wine, and fresh produce, etc. which are temperature sensitive. Cold chain logistics maintain a particular range of temperatures to ensure quality and product integrity in the cold chain. For example, some sets of products need extremely low conditions or deep freeze, some need to be frozen, or some can do well by simple refrigeration. If the right temperature is not maintained, it would lead to the degeneration of products and financial damages.

Climate-controlled logistics aims to securely transport items from the manufacturers to suppliers, then ultimately to consumers. In the process, supply chain stakeholders such as 3PLs, warehouses, shipping, carriers, etc., face unique challenges of cold chain logistics in winter months, through this article let’s dive deeper into the challenges of cold chain and how technology is supporting in cold chain monitoring and temperature-controlled shipping.

Challenges of Cold Chain Logistics in Winter Months

Human Intervention: Cold chain risk mitigation is a combination of science and technology. Each product has its own specifications, and it requires trained professionals or intervention of technology to determine the exact requirement of the item for transportation from one region to another. Insufficient knowledge or experience in handling or incomplete paperwork for transportation can lead to quality issues and heavy costs.

  • Uniformity in Temperature: A controlled environment logistics chain cannot be broken at any point in time during transportation, particularly important when the distance is long and the need to travel globally. For instance, in the case of a pharmaceutical cold chain, medicines need the same temperature all through the transit. This cannot be disrupted even when there is a change in the mode of transportation from one region to another. If vaccines are exposed to excess heat, they can get damaged. Cold chain solutions must consider this.
  • Breakdown of Equipment: Cold chain equipment is developed to control temperature and keep the products safe and secure. Due to power shortages, fluctuations, or bad weather conditions, equipment can break and affect the cooling.
  • Quality Risk: If goods are not placed accurately or if temperature is not maintained as desired in the trailer, it can create a threat to the quality of the products and have a negative impact on businesses. To secure the quality, tech-enabled quality check equipment can oversee the placement of products in the carrier to adhere to cold chain compliance, which differs from region to region.

Cold Chain Risk Mitigation for Ensuring Product Quality and Safety

Cold chain logistics require smart hands for end-to-end monitoring, to ensure product quality and safety until the order is delivered to the consumer. Especially with an increase in temperament for farm-to-fork food, and a rise in the supply of vaccines & medication globally; reliable and trustworthy cold storage solutions can be developed with technology-enabled logistics software. By integrating logistics management into cold chain management, real-time data is shared for timely management and intervention.

For example, for a temperature-sensitive cargo, if there is regular sharing of information and visibility, and then in case a disruption occurs, a rescue cargo with coolant and other necessary equipment such as a backup generator or a thermometer or a thermostat for cold chain temperature monitoring can be sent to ensure there is no risk to the quality of the goods.

Strategies to Maintain Product Quality During Transportation in Cold Weather

Product integrity in a cold chain can only and only be guaranteed with cold chain monitoring all through its journey until the product reaches the consumers. The sensitive nature of products requires complete visibility and real-time insights for securing product quality during transportation in cold weather. Also, several temperature-sensitive items are sensitive to time and should be transported on time. For such items, all stakeholders of cold chain management should be in sync with one another with real-time exchange of information and should have clarity on how to address any malfunction that may erupt during the transit.

With the installation of digital technology, stakeholders can monitor the movement and respond in real-time in case there are any disruptions or deviations.

  • Augmented Reality: AR connects virtual reality with the real world and makes the work more practical. With the help of headgear and glasses, accurate information about products’ characteristics is displayed. This further helps ground staff to package items as per requirement.
  • Tracking: Through GPS, RFID, or Scanners, there is a continuous sharing of information and real-time exchange of data about products.
  • Monitoring: The exchange of information further assists in making smart decisions while the items are on the move and ensures quality is guaranteed even during the bad winter season.

By integrating all these three systems and several other AI solutions, cold chain suppliers can monitor movement and take appropriate action.

Advatix Cloudsuite™ and Digital Solutions for Cold Chain Logistics

Winter freight management is extra sensitive due to unpredictable weather conditions in different parts of the country. And, not to forget it is the peak demand time due to the holiday season and Christmas. Advatix Cloudsuite™, with its state-of-the-art digital solutions powered by AI and Machine Learning, can track, monitor, and provide analytical data for timely intervention for safe temperature-controlled logistics.

To know more about climate-controlled logistics…