Remote automated temperature monitors critical to cold chain
To maintain a high-quality cold chain, remote automated temperature monitors may soon become the norm. Transportation and logistics around perishables and certain pharmaceutical goods, such as vaccines, require an effective and unbroken cold chain. Any instance where the temperature of goods falls outside the required range, whether in transit or storage or at the final point of sale, could render the products unusable.
This affects profitability and reputation and creates unnecessary wastage. Automated temperature monitoring at every point of the cold chain helps logistics companies ensure that their cold chain is never broken, and that goods arrive in prime condition.
The complexity of cold chains
Transporting perishable goods such as food or pharmaceutical products, that need to be maintained at a specific temperature, is a complex process. The cold chain has many links, various storage facilities and different transport environments between the manufacturer and the final point of sale. This includes the initial warehouse, long-haul transport (truck, rail or air), and regional or last-mile transporters, as well as storage locations in between.
To preserve foods and medications, the product temperature must remain constant and within regulated tolerance. The tolerance varies depending on the product being transported. For example, fresh fruit must remain under 10°C, but specific vaccines may need to be maintained at temperatures below freezing. If at any point the temperature falls outside of the recommended range, food may spoil. In the case of pharmaceuticals, there could be a severe adverse reaction if the exposed medication is administered to a patient.
Refusing automated temperature monitors affects profit
Poorly handled food products directly impact the bottom line of manufacturers and logistics companies. Nobody wants to buy food that tastes, looks or smells less than perfect. Even more important to remember is that spoilt medication could endanger lives. What we’re saying is that wastage creates economic strain, since goods must be procured repeatedly and cannot be resold.
Retailers will look elsewhere, including outside national borders, if locally sourced and manufactured products consistently fail to be delivered in a saleable condition. Logistics companies may lose contracts if they consistently fail to deliver. This includes maintaining the cooling equipment and cooling plants.
So why choose remote automated temperature monitors?
The integrity of the cold chain needs to be ensured, but more than that, logistics providers need to be able to monitor temperatures continuously. They also need the ability to prove that their cold chain has not been broken, or that they’ve effectively responded to any instances where temperatures are falling outside of the limits. This is where remote automated temperature sensors and monitoring equipment can be enormously beneficial.
Our temperature monitoring devices provide continuous, real-time temperature monitoring across all areas of storage and transportation. These devices take readings at regular intervals and automatically compare them to the set threshold. If the threshold is breached, alerts are sent to relevant parties for remedy. This helps to identify issues with faulty equipment or power supply, for example, and ensures that they can be rectified proactively to protect stock before issues can harm the cold chain.
It’s not just the devices: it’s the data they provide…
An integrated and connected system across the cold chain can unlock tremendous value. With Ikhaya Automation Systems, all communications are uploaded to a cloud-based system that can be accessed from anywhere, which empowers logistics providers to proactively minimise both downtime and stock wastage. Data analysis also enables organisations to identify trends and patterns to remedy any latent problems within the cold chain.
Our real-time data logging provides an auditable record of temperature compliance that can be graphed and visualised and provided to inspection authorities. Data analytics also provides insights that can help to fine-tune operational and handling processes. Remote device management and location mapping and analysis also help logistics providers to understand exactly where and when problems occur. This can be used not only to address equipment failures but also human behaviours that may be compromising the cold chain.
Equipment reliability is non-negotiable. Devices must be rugged, robust and fit for purpose, and offer 100% uptime with battery back-up and dual network connectivity. Solutions should also conform to global standards and provide unrestricted, real-time access to data from anywhere at any time. With connected, automated monitoring solutions that incorporate data analytics, logistics providers can develop a proactive, auditable approach to ensuring their cold chain remains unbroken.
Zollner, E. 2021. Connected, automated temperature monitoring – a proactive approach for an unbroken cold chain. BizCommunity. Article online. 21 January. Available at: https://www.bizcommunity.com/Article/196/160/212300.html [Accessed 8 March 2021].