Cold supply chains are constantly evolving because of technological advancements and changes in consumer preference. The majority of industries that use this method of supply chain are either in the food or medical sectors. That being said, cold chains are a lot more than keeping your ice cream cold during transit. In 2015, the cold chain industry was estimated to be worth $167.24 billion and is expected to grow to $234.49 billion by 2020. Cold chain can save your company millions of dollars annually by preserving the quality of your product. If you’re interested in introducing cold chain to your business, be sure to keep the following industry trends in mind.
Trend #1: More attention to detail
As consumers are becoming more educated, their wants become more complex and so do the products needed to fulfill them. Many products are very particular about the temperatures they can be stored at, with some only able to withstand a temperature variance of only a few degrees before textures change or quality spoils. Think about a carton of ice cream from the grocery store. If you put it in your cart at the beginning of your shopping trip, it will be soup by the time it gets to the register. Imagine this happens in transit to the grocery store. The refrigerated truck is a little too warm and the product melts. Besides having a disappointing dessert, this can be extremely dangerous to consumers of pharmaceuticals. If a medication isn’t stored at the right temperature it can lose its effectiveness or actually harm the recipient. With the rise of premium products that demand to be stored at certain temperatures, cold chain users must be prepared to have multiple temperature zones for different products.
Trend #2: Cold chain is going global
Remember how you learned about global trade in history class? Were you in disbelief that someone would risk their life and spend months on a journey just to bring back a spice such as cinnamon? Thanks to modern technology and cold supply chain, you no longer have to go on an epic quest to taste a flavor from the far corner of the globe. In fact, it’s probably on the shelf at your local grocery store. Consumer demand is causing cold chains to rapidly expand not only in the United States, but in developing countries such as China and India. If you’re looking to where cold supply chain will be growing next, look for a country that has a growing middle class. The higher the population’s disposable income, the more likely they’ll be able to afford specialty products that come from afar and require refrigeration. Governments in this country are working hard to develop the cold chain infrastructure to support the products you may offer.
Trend #3: Increase in regulation
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the government is mandating a tighter control over cold supply chains. The majority of this supply technique is used to deliver food and pharmaceuticals all over the world. Not too long ago, pharmaceuticals were only mandated to stay at manufacturer’s temperature requirements while in storage. Nowadays some governments such as the European Union are requiring the manufacturer’s refrigeration standards to be followed throughout transit.
Most pharmaceuticals that require refrigeration are bioengineered drugs. The bioengineered drug industry has tripled within the past decade, now accounting for than $150 billion. Did you know that in 2013, 24 of the top 50 drugs in the world require cold chain? That’s up from 18 drugs in 2010.
Trend #4: Becoming more cost-effective
Sustainability has become almost a meaningless buzzword in the business world, but we promise that these green efforts will save you in the long run. Some companies found that adding additional insulation to their trucks has saved energy and increased the efficiency of those refrigerated vehicles. Other companies go further, and are using electric vehicles. Another major shift is that drivers are no longer in charge of maintaining temperatures because they can be controlled remotely. This puts less pressure on the drivers, who are already in short supply because they require special training.
Does your cold chain supply team need help keeping up with the times? Contact Bar Code Direct today to schedule an onsite consultation.