Cold Chain Compliance: An Essential Part Of Your Supply Chain
A cold chain is an uninterrupted transport and storage system of refrigerated goods from the manufacturer to the end consumer. Cold chains help companies safely transport everything from food to pharmaceuticals.
Cold chain compliance is essential to:
ensure that the product arrives safely to the customer
comply with government regulations and client standards
reduce waste due to product damage or spoilage
prevent financial losses due to damaged or spoiled product
The Importance of Cold Chain Compliance
Cold chain failures can severely compromise product integrity. Depending on the product in question, this can result in anything from unsafe food to unusable vaccines.
In addition to the trouble that this causes for consumers, failures can result in significant losses: Purfresh estimates that 20-30% of quality losses during shipping are due improper temperature or atmosphere in the perishable cold chain.
Finally, following proper cold chain compliance helps you stay in good standing with regulators or local authorities.
For example, in our jurisdiction of Canada, it was recommended in 2015 that when a cold chain break occurs during vaccine transportation, you must contact the local public health office or immunization program to determine next steps. Avoiding the need for such measures can save both you and regulators time, effort, and money.
In the US, states like California have charged up to $20 million in fines and restitution for transporting perishable foods without proper refrigeration.
Common Cold Chain Problems and Solutions
Underperforming or broken cooling equipment, such as freezers or reefers, can lead to unwanted dips in temperature.
The Solution: When it comes to equipment malfunctions, prevention is the best course of action. Regularly equipment status and temperature checks let you detect issues before they become critical.
Manually monitoring and checking machines can be time-consuming and costly. That’s why we created our asset tracking and vehicle brain technology. It allows you to monitor asset health over time and alerts you when temperatures fall outside of the accepted range.
Incomplete Standards or Information
If workers don’t have insight into products' required temperature ranges, this can result in errors.
For example, if team members do not know the specific refrigeration temperatures needed to keep items stable, they might put products with different temperature requirements in the same refrigerator.
The Solution: Accurately outlining the needed specifications for products’ cold storage is crucial. Through our Digital Control Tower product management tools, you can easily add product details, including temperature requirements as well as expiration dates.
Improper Handling/Loading Temperature
Packing and loading can cause unwanted changes in temperature.
Points of transfer can be some of the weakest links in a supply chain because they are susceptible to human error and disruption.
The Solution: When goods are being transported between the warehouse and truck, or between the truck and refrigerator, it’s essential to follow the right procedures.
Your team should take steps like:
handling temperature-sensitive products in the appropriate, temperature-controlled zones
moving product to temperature-controlled zones quickly and effectively
proper packaging procedures when it comes to refrigerated containers, dry ice, and more are needed
Routeique’s Inventory Management system streamlines and enhances this process by offering employees the ability to manage every aspect of picking, packing, and loading from the palm of their hand.
Breaks In The Cold Chain
Sometimes, brief interruptions in the cold chain are expected, such as product inspections at the border.
At other times, they may be the result of human error or circumstances.
a staff member leaving a refrigerator unplugged after cleaning
an airport having insufficient room for your cargo in their cold storage areas
The Solution: Planning and communication can help you avoid preventable cold chain breaks, as well as to mitigate the effects of ones that are unavoidable.
For example, one respondent in a 2010 study stated that when they knew their product would be inspected at the border, they packed it on pallets so that it could be easily removed via forklift for inspection and then rapidly put back into the refrigerated truck. On the other hand, the respondent said, “if you floor load it, it’s going to take a whole day to get your frozen product out and then back in.”
Planning can be enhanced by full supply chain visibility. Additionally, supply chain transparency helps when and where breaks in the cold chain occur to avoid them in the future.
Routeique helps you stop relying on small clusters of visibility, and start focusing on synchronized planning and execution across the extended supply network.
Putting It All Together
Maintaining cold chain compliance is essential to ensure product safety, customer satisfaction, and to minimize product loss.
Routeique is here to help you gain insight into all facets of your supply chain, including cold chains.
Want to learn more?
Get in touch with us at email@example.com, and keep an eye out for our upcoming post on how our Vehicle Intelligence Hub and asset tracking technology can help you maintain cold chain compliance.