Your Guide to Maintaining the Integrity of Your Cold Supply Chain

Cold supply chain

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

Managing your cold supply chain can be quite challenging—whether you’re transporting food, pharmaceuticals, or life-saving vaccines. Maintaining its integrity is critical to getting the proper temperatures for your cold-sensitive cargo.

Since most of the world depends on high-quality shipments from companies specializing in the cold chain, it’s more integral than ever to ensure products arrive at their destinations safely. The challenges of running a cold chain successfully are plentiful and require some additional tools you wouldn’t normally need in traditional supply chain operations. In this article, we will tell you about some of those tools and how you can keep your cold chain viable. Check it out below.

Take Care of Your Trucks

Regularly inspecting your refrigeration systems isn’t just a good idea; it’s essential to monitor and conduct routine maintenance on your trucks. It’s the same reason you regularly change the oil or check the operation of your own car: keeping the truck performing in tiptop condition. A refrigerated truck isn’t going to be very useful to cold chain integrity if compressors are going bad, refrigeration isn’t functional, or the truck is otherwise compromised, your shipments aren’t going to get very far.

Cleaning and routine inspections are necessary for keeping refrigerated trucks in optimal shape. It’s also vital that you don’t ignore minor issues or things that might seem out of the ordinary. If the driver mentioned something weird happening with the truck, then you need to take swift action. Taking the time to ensure your trucks are consistently and routinely maintained will ensure your cold chain’s integrity all year long.

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Use Precision Temperature Indicators

Staying on top of temperature monitoring throughout your cold chain is crucial. So how do you do it? By measuring temperatures of goods in transit. Good temperature monitoring systems are a must for any business. Using precision temperature indicators is the best method for monitoring temperature changes or issues throughout a trip. They keep records of temperature abuse over time, provide an Easy-to-Read color-changing display, and can be put on any type of cargo.

Furthermore, precision temperature indicators are cost-effective and can resist hitting some of the temperature thresholds they’re designed to detect. Using them as part of a comprehensive cold chain logistics strategy is crucial to your continued success in temperature monitoring and mitigation.

Use RFID Temperature Monitoring

If Precision temperature monitors don’t align with your operations or needs, you can try RFID technology. Radiofrequency identification tags are useful for monitoring temperature, tracking, and myriad other functions.

In RFID, there are two components: a tag and a reader. The tag gets placed on whatever cargo or product you want to measure. As it travels, the RFID tag can collect and store information about what happens while in the environment. The tags function won’t depend on how it’s programmed. Some tags monitor for impacts and others can monitor for temperatures. With RFID temperature sensing tags, you get a high-quality and easy-to-use temperature indicator with incredible functionality.

There are two types of tags: active and passive. Passive RFID tags lower technology and opportunity costs simply because they offer an inexpensive implementation of tracking technology that can ultimately be quite beneficial for everyone from distribution to the client at the end of the chain.

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Practice Safe Handling

Safe handling and storage are an absolute must when it comes to any kind of shipping, but it goes double (or maybe even triple) for cold chain shipments. So what types of prices should you follow when handling temperature-sensitive products? It can vary wildly based on the product, but here are a few methods that work:

  • Make sure that the packaging is adequate and properly sealed
  • Use insulation materials if necessary
  • Monitor the temperature constantly and record any fluctuations
  • Keep the product in a cool place until it’s ready to be shipped
  • Install temperature indicators/sensors
  • Use humidity detectors
  • Perform regular inspections
  • Wear gloves and PPE when handling items
  • Store items in a safe manner (such as keeping raw foods that can drip at the bottom of a fridge)
  • Avoid cross-contamination
  • Use food safety protocol when handling foods and CDC guidelines for handling pharmaceuticals

By following safe handling procedures—and training your team to adhere to them—you can ensure your products arrive at their destinations safely and viable every time.

Adhere to Proper Regulations

Just like the standard supply chain, cold chain logistics require adherence to some pretty strict regulations. And there are plenty of them. Every manager who deals with the cold chain should spend some time understanding not only the traditional food safety regulations, such as food handling and temperature danger zone but also what specific regulations apply to their own products/area of operation.

There are guidelines for refrigerated trucks, guidelines for food storage, guidelines for packaging, and much more. By taking the time to stay on top of these regulations and ensure they’re followed, you can keep your cold chain viable and productive throughout its entire cycle.