Cold chain logistics is a topic the general public might not give much thought to, yet it’s something that unquestionably has a major impact on societies all around the globe. As such, cold chain logistics service providers must have the tools and technologies needed to provide efficient, proactive freight management to ensure the integrity of cold shipments.
From the food consumers eat to the medicines they rely on and any number of other applications, the cold chain plays an important role in daily lives and in our economies. According to Allied Market Research, the global cold chain logistics market size was valued at $159,988.1 million in 2018 and is projected to reach $585,105.6 million by 2026, registering a CAGR of 17.9% from 2019 to 2026.
With numbers that significant, it’s worth taking a closer look at cold chain logistics. We will define what cold chain logistics is and which industries rely on this invaluable service. We also explore some of the challenges inherent in the cold chain and how end-to-end visibility, made possible through trackers and software, helps create a more efficient, proactive cold chain.
What is Cold Chain Logistics, and How Does it Work?
Cold chain logistics is a specialized niche of supply chain dedicated to providing temperature-controlled surface transportation and cold storage of perishable items before, during, and after delivery. This entails a highly orchestrated effort to ensure proper packaging, the best mode of transportation, the optimal routes, and precise timing. This level of collaboration and insight is possible only through trackers that record real-time data at every step of the journey from origin to final delivery.
Challenges around Visibility in Cold Chain Logistics
Cold chains are essential for extending the shelf life of products, avoiding overcapacity, reducing transport bottlenecks during peak periods, and maintaining the quality of products. To accomplish this requires temperature-controlled surface transportation and cold storage. Each item must be stored and transported within the required temperature ranges at all times. When that fails to happen, the results are staggering.
For instance, the biopharma industry loses $34 billion each year because of temperature-control failures across their supply chain according to the IQVIA Institute for Human Data Science. And according to McKinsey, the U.S. food retail industry alone loses an estimated $15-20 billion in sales every year in part because temperature excursions render items unsaleable. That, incidentally, equates to approximately 2% to 3% of total sales annually. The key to preventing such losses is providing stakeholders with tracking technologies and software that provides end-to-end visibility into each and every shipment that requires temperature control.
And, as Inbound Logistics points out, “...the cold chain also faces many of the same issues challenging the entire supply chain: servicing the global market, driving out costs, becoming more strategic, and addressing capacity and resource constraints, all while managing the exacting needs of the sector’s precious cargo.”
End-to-End Visibility & Other Benefits
Using tracking sensors in conjunction with robust cloud-based software provides the end-to-end supply chain visibility and insight needed to ensure success in cold chain logistics. Single or multi-use trackers at the container and product-level monitor and record location, temperature, humidity, light exposure, and shock events and even weather and traffic conditions in real time. Instant alerts inform stakeholders of potential excursions before they happen to prevent significant loss.
In addition to preventing loss of product, cold chain logistics offers these additional benefits:
- Streamline compliance: Maintaining the safety and quality standards established by the US Food and Drug Administration and other regulatory agencies is critical. A digital cold chain solution documents not only real-time updates but also historical data that can be referenced to provide the transparency that proves all compliance standards have been met.
- A path for continuous improvement: Data-supported insights provide valuable information that can be used to identify anomalies and the root cause of any temperature excursion.
- Improve driver safety: GPS-powered trackers provide telematics regarding driving habits, such as driving too fast, turning corners too sharply, or even seat belt usage. Companies can use this detailed information to reward drivers for good driving behaviors or, in the case of poor driving routines, the data can serve as justification for a corrective action plan.
- Ensure delivery: Sensors also record data such as real-time location and current traffic conditions, which helps companies optimize routes to mitigate potential delays. Enterprises can also communicate with drivers in real-time to make the necessary adjustments and provide stakeholders with precise ETAs.
- An all-encompassing solution: Cold chain logistics service providers must have reliable connectivity, real-time tracking and configurable alert capabilities, and dashboards that can be accessed from anywhere at any time. Having all of this in a single solution drives the efficiency and actionable insights needed to preserve, protect and optimize cold shipments globally.
Trust Tive with Your Temperature-Sensitive Shipments
Cold chain logistics professionals across a wide range of industry verticals rely on Tive’s proprietary sensors and software solution. Our real-time alerts provide the actionable insights that have helped them save millions of dollars in lost perishable goods. If we save even one load of perishable product for you, what would that be worth in dollars and cents? That’s worth a deeper discussion, yes? Schedule a demo today.