Top Trends in Cold Chain Management

  • Date Icon September 5, 2022
  • Time Icon 6 Min
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Trends in Cold Chain Management

The cold chain supply sector is constantly evolving to keep up with the needs of shippers and consumers. When people change their consumption patterns, suppliers of cold chain products have no choice but to adapt to meet the changing needs. Cold chain management operations must be adapted to these changes as well. Some major trends in the cold chain management industry include the following:

Less than truckload (LTL) transportation

In a world where manufacturers of cold chain goods are always looking for ways to manage operating costs, the LTL transport service is a welcome relief. With this new transport solution, companies that sell food and pharma products no longer have to pay for an entire trailer or full truck to deliver their shipment to the consumer market. All they need to do is to pay for the amount of space they use. To benefit from LTL shipping, businesses that supply cold chain products should ensure their shipment is well-prepped for storage and transport so that carriers don’t have to spend their resources handling incorrectly packaged cargo. They may also need to invest in transport management systems since many LTL shippers are slow technology adopters.

GPS technology

Businesses that deal in cold chain products want to keep tabs on the status of their shipment. They want to know that everything is going on as planned and that the shipment will reach its destination on time. Even with refrigeration systems in place, temperature-sensitive products don’t last forever. Hence, delays in the delivery of certain food and pharmaceutical products can lead to huge losses. Shipping companies heavily rely on GPS technology to keep track of their client’s cargo in real-time. This way, they can keep clients informed about the progress of their shipment.

Last mile delivery

Many consumers are willing to pay extra for the convenience of getting their orders delivered to their doorstep instead of having to walk into local stores to get the products they want. Freight companies are adapting to this need by offering last-mile delivery as an added service. In the context of supply chain management, the term “last mile” is used to refer to the final step of a product’s journey from the warehouse shelf to the consumer’s doorstep. It’s the process through which cold chain products are delivered to end-user consumers directly, eliminating the need for retail intermediaries.

The importance of maintaining the cold chain correctly

The result of failing to maintain optimal temperatures at every step of the cold chain, even for short periods may lead to many undesirable outcomes. These include the following:

Product degradation

When cold chain shipment isn’t kept cold at every link of the chain, the quality of the shipment may be compromised, resulting in useless products. This may be tremendously detrimental in the case of shipping vaccines, pharma products, and essential food items.

Waste of suppliers’ money

When cold chain cargo goes bad because of failure to provide the consistent temperatures required for their preservation, shipment owners lose money. The extent of financial losses may depend on a range of factors including the type and quantity of products involved.

The financial impact of losses from a full truck of shipment is greater than a smaller LTL freight, for example. In a similar vein, high-value refrigerated products will lead to greater losses than cheaper products of the same truckload.

Deterioration of business partnerships

When shippers suffer heavy losses because of mistakes committed by their shipping partners, they’re bound to take legal action against them. They may also cut ties with their partners. This may result in legal battles that take time to resolve but also waste precious time and financial resources.

End-user consumer discontent

When cold chain products don’t reach the consumer market due to quality issues, consumers at the end of the supply chain are bound to become disgruntled. Empty shelves are no fun!

Why quality cold chain management is essential for vaccine supply

The ramifications of failing to maintain optimal temperatures for the medical supply chain supersede any business interests that shippers may have. That’s why it’s important to review the cold chain for medical supplies such as vaccines separately.

Failure to monitor vaccine temperatures properly may cause:

  • Loss of potency – the formula will degrade and will need to be disposed of. Potency can’t be restored once it is lost.
  • Waste of money – the manufacture and supply of vaccines involve a significant investment in research, product development, and distribution systems.
  • Create a need to re-immunize patients – vaccines are essential to keep people healthy. When they become defective and unsafe, they’ll need to be re-manufactured to protect the population. Parties involved in the handling and distribution of vaccines must make sure the cold chain is correctly maintained to avoid the above risks. Every child matters – an effective cold chain helps deliver life-saving vaccines to every child in the world.

The importance of trained personnel in cold chain logistics

When talking about cold chain management, it’s easy to discuss processes, technologies, and equipment and overlook the important role that human resource plays in ensuring the efficient movement of products along the cold chain. For cold chain logistics to be successful, qualified staff must be used at every step of the process, including storage, packaging, condition monitoring, and transport.

Final word: Specialization is key to ensure efficient cold chain management

Not all temperature-sensitive products are created equal. Every product is unique and requires specialized handling to maintain its integrity along the cold chain. There are several regulations and guidelines that industry regulators set for shipping companies to follow throughout the cold chain supply. Beyond these guidelines, individual shippers must have in-house quality standards. The need to understand industry, local, regional, global, and environmental regulations, as well as estimate the duration of freight accurately, is making many manufacturers of temperature-sensitive products outsource their cold chain supply to specialized shipping companies that can handle all their freight needs.

Author: Danish Mairaj, CISCOM, PMP

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Related Posts:

What is Cold Chain Management?
Elements of the Cold Chain Management

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