Cold chain logistics has a line of processes and equipment to maintain a product within a specific temperature range. Temperature-controlled logistics is a complex industry and requires strategic planning due to various requirements and regulations. The sector presents unique challenges, such as temperature monitoring, regulatory compliance, technology investments, and maintenance.
The industry can also present opportunities if organizations establish and manage the right processes correctly. Experts anticipate that the global cold chain market, currently valued at almost $280 billion, will experience a remarkable growth of $647.47 billion by 2028. Leveraging tools like temperature control technology, refrigerated trucks, and cold storage warehouses can mitigate challenges logistic providers face along the way.
Learn how to regulate challenges and maintain profitability with the proper resources for cold chains:
Understanding Cold Chain Logistics
Due to the pandemic, the rise in e-commerce, and the growing need to transport temperature-sensitive products safely, cold chain logistics has played an essential part in supply chain solutions. But what exactly is cold chain logistics? Simply put, it’s the planning and implementation of secure storage and transportation of temperature-sensitive products over a long distance.
Temperature-sensitive products could include certain food items, beverages, or pharmaceutical drugs. Because there is a range of temperature-sensitive products, it’s important to note that they all have different temperature requirements.
The Complexity of Cold Chains
Requirements often backtrack operations and disrupt profitability because of the multiple intersections and parties involved in moving temperature-controlled goods. Providers’ challenges could be handling goods properly, investments in a cold chain infrastructure, or temperature monitoring.
Even when organizations meet regulatory requirements, it remains essential to understand the intricacies of temperature-sensitive products and deliver quality products that are affordable.
A cold storage warehouse is a specially crafted facility that keeps temperature-sensitive products safe and secure. Typically, several categories of products require different temperatures to prevent spoilage or contamination.
Warehouses face complex challenges, and almost 60% of shipper respondents with cold chain products report that packaging was either partially or fully outsourced.
One of the most important things for a warehouse to supply is a range of refrigeration types, temperature monitors, and trackers for product traceability. Managing multiple temperature zones can be costly, but specialized facilities can increase efficiencies and scale profits.
Regulators are increasingly tightening regulations, necessitating inspections at all levels of the food supply chain. Different levels of food require specific food safety requirements and handling procedures. Regulations are increasing for companies involved in the processing, producing, and distributing of agricultural commodities.
One of the most essential cold storage requirements is traceability. Through visibility and traceability, logistics providers can maintain compliance and monitor temperature levels to ensure the freshness of temperature-controlled products. Traceability gives customers and regulators insight into every step, which increases warehouse accountability.
Evaluating capacity and setting up infrastructure for customers’ needs can be a huge obstacle for those wanting to venture into the cold chain. Specializing in certain goods can help leverage the infrastructure already set in place and maintain inventory on specific products. Product specialization typically requires a small warehouse, whereas high-density storage is larger and more challenging to manage and keep track of.
Utilizing a management system that tracks and locates inventory can be a great way to improve efficiency. Management systems built around cold storage help employees track goods quickly and enhance traceability.
Overcoming Cold Storage Challenges
There’s no question that the cold storage industry faces numerous obstacles and hurdles.
Complying with regulations and maintaining the quality of individual products brings more significant challenges to any provider.
However, cold chain logistics has a huge market and can be an excellent opportunity for those planning on expanding services. About 90% of third-party logistics respondents report that their company plans to expand its cold chain capabilities.
The driving needs for cold storage space is due to increased consumer demands for fresh products and strong e-commerce sales. Utilizing and leveraging the right technology and equipment can mitigate cold chain challenges, ensure a smoother flow of operations, and provide customer satisfaction.
Various systems and technologies ensure requirements and regulations meet expectations in cold chain logistics. In today’s growing industry, automated solutions for warehouse software are implemented in other markets and are adapted for the cold chain industry.
Technology advancements that achieve cold train competencies include the combination of RFID, mobile communication, temperature sensor, and database technology, which enables a seamless cold chain logistics system that effectively monitors items. Incorporating such systems can offer significant advantages to providers, including enhanced visualization and monitoring, assurance of product quality, and effective management of recalls.
Before the goods are shipped, certain products have to be in temperature-controlled storage units. These units must maintain a specific temperature and protect the goods from temperature fluctuations and power outages. To withstand the extremely cold conditions, operators utilize wired digital thermometers and warehouses typically maintain a backup of Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) to prevent product spoilage.
Investing in temperature control technology is vital to guarantee product preservation and minimize waste in cold storage warehouses. Maintaining quality standards can be achieved through temperature-controlled warehouses, where storage units are strategically placed to meet product requirements.
Transporting temperature-sensitive goods has to be done in temperature-controlled vehicles equipped with cooling systems to meet the requirements of the goods. Refrigerated units with removable panels are attached to vans for temperature-sensitive goods traveling on the road. The removable panels help with fresh air ventilation and sustain low temperatures.
Investing in high-quality refrigerated trucking operations is essential to ensure the shipped goods meet regulations and standards. The benefits of investing in refrigerated trucks are increased visibility and meeting the requirements for specific interests. Advancements in manufacturing and growing delivery requirements lead to new investments in temperature-controlled vehicles.
Growth Through Challenges
The cold storage industry presents both challenges and opportunities for supply chains. Many complex processes require strategic planning and investments, like temperature-sensitive infrastructure, regulatory requirements, and inventory management. Regulatory compliance, traceability, and specialized facilities are critical factors in successfully managing the cold chain market.
Ensuring the safety and quality of goods is just as important as the technology used to keep those products fresh. Although adhering to standards and regulations can be a heavy toll, implementing technology and equipment can significantly benefit operations. Supply chains can overcome challenges and increase profitability by leveraging temperature control technology and cold storage warehouses.