Managing The Performance Of A Cold Storage Supply Chain

The food products that we buy and are eating today, wouldn’t be there had it not been for the cold storage supply chain. The precondition for having tasty dairy products, fresh seafood, juicy fruits, and organic vegetables is the incessant maintenance of a stable and suitable temperature during the storage, handling, and transport of these products.

This particular activity is a sign of a reliable Cool Chain. The list of perishable and temperature-sensitive products is dairy products, horticulture products, pharmaceuticals, and various other meat and poultry products.

Functioning Of A Cold Supply Chain
The cold storage supply chain is the manner in which goods are distributed under a specified controlled temperature which includes transportation and storage. The following steps go into the process of cold chain:

  1. Procurement of supply from, farms, rural markets or manufacturers
  2. Transporting them in refrigerated trucks, railway wagons or cargo containers which are set at specified temperatures according to the requirement of the products.
  3. The products are stored at warehouses and cold storages safely without a change in the temperature settings and maintaining a uniform, controlled temperature throughout the transit.
  4. The products are again transported from the warehouses and cold storages to the retail outlets, markets, factory, port or airport as per the requirement in refrigerated vehicles which are set at the specified controlled temperature.
  5. On reaching the destination the products must be stored under the same temperatures until a sale to maintain the quality of the products.

When mobilizing temperature sensitive products through the cold supply chain, food companies are faced with a variety of challenges like,

  1. Storage
  2. Transportation
  3. Selection of Carriers
  4. Monitoring loads

Even small variances in temperature during transportation delayed stay at the loading dock or a faulty cooling unit all can be disastrous and turn vast product investment into a huge liability. Therefore as far as the cold storage supply chain is concerned the margin for error is nil. In order to attain the best performance when transporting temperature sensitive products and the materials some precautions need to be considered:
Selection Of Carriers
The beginners in the business need to be careful about carrier selection. It is a good practice to work with a small and diligently selected group of carriers who meet the stringent prerequisites and not go for low bidders. They should conform to promptitude, equipment credibility, and prompt communication.

Measure Carrier Performance
On selection of the best carriers, you need to monitor their performance with respect to the transporting of your temperature sensitive products. A carrier management scorecard must be created that rates important competencies like equipment credibility, on-time pickup, and delivery track record. On realizing that they are being rated, carriers try their best to be in top shape. As a result, customers will receive a good service.

Check Procedures And Audits
It is good to follow standard operating procedures (SOPs) in business to provide safety and security to temperature sensitive products. So be clear about the refrigeration temperatures in the trailers, pre-cooling before loading and adhering to the food-grade inspection process. Carry out regular audits to check if the SOPs are being followed.

Storage Of Products
Make sure that you are using certified cold storage facilities and equipment. Always verify and check to see that they are clean and the daily operations conform to the required food safety standards. There are continuous temperature monitoring systems that can track and find changes in the temperatures of refrigerated storage and send alerts to the concerned official via mobile messages or email id when something is faulty.

Transportation of products
Improving the load and unload practice at warehouses for temperature sensitive products. The loading dock’s temperature must be cross-checked with the seller specification given before loading or unloading.

Finally, it is important to understand the time, place and means of transport used by your product’s shipments to manage the best cold supply chain.

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