Smart Warehousing Mar 4, 2022 11:00:00 AM 11 min read

Cold Chain Monitoring: Improve Product Quality & Customer Satisfaction

An effective logistics and cold chain strategy is pivotal for driving forward momentum for your business. From boosting revenue and penetrating new markets to upholding your company’s promise to deliver nothing short of a five-star experience, expert management of your temperature-sensitive products is essential. And that’s where cold chain monitoring can make all the difference.

Meeting consumer demands in this day and age requires an agile, technology-driven approach to temperature-controlled logistics. After all, you can’t expect to deliver fresh produce or pharmaceutical products without having a sound cold chain strategy in place!

Spoiled meat or yogurt? Cringe. Not only do cold chain breaches like these jeopardize compliance and safety standards surrounding perishables and refrigerated goods, but can negatively impact customer retention. And every spoiled or sub-par product you need to replace takes a bite out of your bottom line.

From production to consumption, every step of your cold chain must be precisely managed to maintain a competitive presence in the marketplace. With the cold chain market projected to reach an estimated $340.3 billion by 2025, business leaders must aim to minimize error and maximize efficiency in their temperature-controlled fulfillment process.


What Is Cold Chain Monitoring?

Cold chain is a temperature-controlled supply chain that requires the uninterrupted management of sensitive products from production through storage and distribution. To maintain the quality and safety of these temperature-sensitive goods, the process is supported by specialized equipment like data loggers, facilities, and transportation. Increasingly, cold chain monitoring is needed for direct-to-consumer (DTC) food and beverage brands.

In cold chain monitoring, there’s very little margin for error. Cold chain management is much more complex than it sounds on paper. Why? Because regardless of the product or industry, maneuvering the cold chain process exposes goods to potential risks as they progress through each phase. To preserve product integrity and avoid a cold chain breach, businesses must have a temperature-controlled fulfillment process that focuses on consistent cold chain monitoring.

Devices like data loggers are designed to monitor and capture temperature data, ensuring conditions will preserve the freshness and viability of products. Temperature-controlled fulfillment centers often leverage specialized labor, in conjunction with advanced technology, to adequately manage the cold chain and track temperature consistency.

Cold chain monitoring can be done both manually and remotely to regulate temperatures and ensure they remain uninterrupted through packaging, storage, and transportation. By implementing a monitoring and data logging solution, your business can strike the perfect balance with speed, cost-effectiveness, and quality standards.


Components of Effective Cold Chain Monitoring

Although every business leader wants to maximize output and quality while minimizing costs, you can’t successfully increase your bottom line by cutting corners — especially in the cold chain game. The key lies in prioritizing areas that streamline processes, drive consistency, and leverage technology to move the needle forward.

Here are three main factors to consider that’ll help optimize your cold chain monitoring efforts.

1. Access to Comprehensive Data

When every minute counts, you simply can’t afford to let hours, or days, pass before discovering products have spoiled or are no longer viable. Any disruption to your cold chain will cause production delays, increase company costs, negatively impact revenue, and harm your hard-earned reputation as a brand. The solution is a proactive approach to temperature monitoring.

Having access to temperature data, captured in real-time by data loggers, will ensure immediate corrective action can be taken should a temperature excursion occur. Ensuring you’re partnered with a 3PL provider that can monitor temperature during the transportation process is also vital for maintaining regulatory standings and enhancing cargo safety while in transit. The goal is to have specialized labor in place to intervene and mitigate product loss.

Temperature consistency is crucial. To paint a more robust picture, a study conducted by UPS analyzed the $76 billion global pharmaceutical logistics delivery market. Researchers discovered that — brace yourself — more than 30% of deliveries had some degree of damage or spoilage upon arriving at their intended destination! In addition to financial loss, your brand’s reputation and your customers’ safety are at great risk.

Modern data loggers are waterproof, pre-calibrated, and disposable, helping drive efficiency in cold chain monitoring. This technology provides increased convenience in varying environments, such as humid, icy, or wet scenarios. Enhanced monitoring capabilities paired with temperature-controlled packaging, storage, and transportation will preserve the integrity of your cold chain. Your organization can find real peace of mind with the comprehensive monitoring that data loggers provide.

2. Monitoring Packaging and Inventory

For your business to operate like a well-oiled machine, your products must be protected throughout the entire fulfillment process. Temperature-controlled pick-and-pack stations should be expertly situated around the fulfillment center to ensure sensitive products are appropriately cared for until they reach their intended destination.

To circumvent unwanted temperature fluctuations, products may require specialized packaging, such as dry ice. Creating optimal packaging and storage environments is essential for preventing microbial growth and preserving product integrity.

Similarly, when you store and ship out a high volume of inventory, proper measures must be taken to ensure products aren’t sitting and expiring in a warehouse. Placing an emphasis on traceability and lot control via data loggers is an effective approach to improving quality, avoiding non-conformance, and controlling the flow of products in and out of the warehouse.

3. Technology & Analytics

Scaling your business in today’s hyper-competitive landscape requires cold chain management solutions focused on technology and a strong analytical infrastructure. Real-time inventory visibility can provide actionable insights and enable early intervention, if needed, to drive efficiency in your cold chain monitoring. Manual approaches to cold chain monitoring simply won’t work as your organization scales larger and larger.

Having access to premium technology and integrated solutions also streamlines the order fulfillment process — promoting stability between supply and demand. This is vital for accelerating production, decreasing expenditure, and protecting perishables as the products move through various phases of your cold chain.

Ultimately, all your cold storage efforts, including the utilization of data loggers, contribute to customer satisfaction. When you deliver safe, quality products the first time to customers, your organization builds a strong foundation for a lasting customer relationship. And with 54% of customers saying they have higher customer expectations than ever, satisfying your stakeholders is paramount to the sustainability and success of your company.


Choosing the Right Partner for Your Cold Chain Management

Systematically optimizing and automating pieces of your cold chain can offer unparalleled time and cost-saving benefits. Managing temperature-sensitive products is a complex and tricky endeavor, requiring a fulfillment partner with the tools and expertise needed to drive sustainable growth for your business.

At Smart Warehousing, we have a network of warehouses strategically located across the continental United States — allowing us to provide two-day shipping to 99% of the country. Not only can this help your business satisfy growing consumer demand, but it ensures temperature-sensitive products are handled swiftly and effectively. Constantly worrying about products melting or spoiling while in transit? Not here.

Our Kansas City, Missouri, warehouse alone is comprised of more than one million square feet of temperature-controlled omnichannel fulfillment abilities. Before products are even unloaded from trucks, temperatures are checked to make sure all products are safe from the start. We utilize underground Kansas City caves as an eco-friendly way to manage temperature needs and conserve energy. This is 60% more cost-effective and allows us to maintain a 50-degree environment year-round – perfect for food items and other perishables that don’t need to be frozen, but require protection from heat.

We also have special sections purely dedicated to housing frozen goods, including meat, dairy, pharmaceuticals, and other bulk food items. With a specialized maintenance team to preserve product integrity, 24/7 remote temperature data logger monitoring capabilities, advanced data logging technology, and a security system that’s triggered should a temperature change occur, we’re equipped to handle your entire cold chain from start to finish. But don’t take our word for it — take a look inside our temperature-controlled spaces for yourself!

What’s more, our warehouses are audited annually by the American Institute of Baking to ensure we are meeting and exceeding food and beverage industry standards. From packaging to loading, everything we do at our temperature-controlled fulfillment centers is handled and overseen by our own people.

If you are looking for a 3PL provider that not only specializes in temperature-controlled fulfillment but also serves as a brand and back-of-house partner, contact the Smart Warehousing team today!