Efficiency is crucial for a normal supply chain to run smoothly, but it’s even more important for cold chains to run effectively. Think about the types of products you’re shipping in a temperature-controlled environment: milk, meat, vaccines, etc. With each passing moment, the quality of these products degrades; spoilage is only delayed by cool temperatures which slow their chemical reactions. Here are 4 qualities your cold supply chain must have to maintain the integrity of perishable goods.
Quality control shouldn’t stop at manufacturing. While some perishable products are more sensitive than others, temperatures should not fluctuate during transportation nor should they at any stage in the supply chain. Imagine yourself going to the grocery store to pick up a few things. At the beginning of your shopping trip, you put a carton of ice cream in your carriage and continue to do your shopping. Twenty minutes later, you arrive at checkout and notice your ice cream is a little soft when you put it up on the counter. No big deal. Except on your way home, you hit a ton of traffic. By the time you get home to put your ice cream in the freezer, it’s practically soup. You put it in the freezer and are highly disappointed when you pull it out later because it’s grainy and freezer burned.
Temperature fluctuations not only ruin your favorite dessert, but can cause people to get sick from mishandled pharmaceuticals or food products. Installing wireless sensors can give you real-time temperature updates. Having a constant eye on your cold chain’s temperature can point out weaknesses in your cold chain, allowing you to make improvements without the guess work.
Fail to plan and plan to fail. We recommend always having a backup plan so your cold chain can accommodate unforeseen circumstances. Adding flexibility to cold chains gives you a competitive advantage and ensures the safety of your products. While it may seem like improving product packaging in the short run may be more expensive, small tweaks will have a big impact on your bottom line. You’ll suffer less product spoilage if there is a problem with a reefer and will avoid pricey lawsuits from selling the public faulty goods.
Not every product that requires refrigeration needs to be held at the same temperature. Treating every product the same may actually do more harm than good. If you have it in your budget, we highly recommend considering shipment during your product’s development phase. Many pharmaceutical companies fail to test the optimal temperature a new drug should be stored at because it’s too costly in the testing stages.
Don’t be afraid to innovate! Once you have a custom shipment method in mind, don’t forget that each of your products is diverse. Successful supply chains are able to adapt to multiple products needs, which may mean investing in separate storage areas in your warehouse that are set for different temperatures.
While complying with cold supply chain regulations may feel like jumping through a dozen hoops to get your goods from Point A to Point B, it’s good that these guidelines are in place. Believe us, you don’t want to know what food production was like before organizations like the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) were involved. Just like any important business function, there are many different organizations that put rules in place that often contradict each other. This is especially noticeable if you ship your goods internationally. Some regulations you should comply with include:
- Good Storage and Distribution Practices (GSP)
- Chapters 1079, 1083, 1118, 1077, 1150
- Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP)
- Good Storage Practices (GSP)
- Perishable Cargo Regulations (PCR)
Is your cold chain lacking some of these qualities? Call Bar Code Direct to learn how our in-house cold chain experts can help make your cold supply chain more efficient.