The Role of Temperature Monitoring Technology in Effective Cold Chain Management
Finding out too late that proper temperatures were not maintained somewhere along your supply chain can lead to massive product and revenue loss for your business. That is why seeing your products’ temperature conditions in real-time using the right technology is crucial, so you can act and intervene immediately (when possible) to minimize losses.
Through temperature monitoring technology, often using sensors that send information to the cloud, you get real-time enterprise data and better manage your cold chain to maintain your perishable and temperature-sensitive products’ quality.
Our guide covers the importance of temperature monitoring technology in managing your cold chain effectively.
Overview of temperature monitoring technology
Temperature monitoring technology generally consists of the devices and systems that help your business track a particular environment’s temperature levels, to protect your perishable and otherwise temperature-sensitive products.
Different industries, including hospitals, use the technology to preserve medicines, lab samples and other items. For example, many vaccines, including some of the COVID-19 vaccines, require storage in sub-zero temperatures, requiring manufacturers, shipping partners and storage management companies to use dry ice temperature monitoring solutions, to avoid doses becoming ineffective.
Temperature monitoring systems allow business owners, customers and vendors to track, and sometimes regulate and control products’ temperatures, ensuring that the merchandise stays safe and reaches its end users in pristine condition.
Some of the most common temperature monitoring technologies include QR data loggers, external temperature probes and thermal buffers. It’s also worth highlighting that these technologies have become explosively significant during the COVID-19 pandemic when transporting goods has never been more in demand than before.
Reports on the fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) industry reveal how it has climbed considerably, particularly in heavily-affected countries. In the US, consumer packaged goods sales rose to 4.8%, 5.9% in Greece, 5.4% in Spain, etc.
Indeed, nearly 60% of cold chain industry professionals believe that when it’s all said and done, the pandemic will have increased their companies’ growth rates.
The Role of Temperature Monitoring Technology
Below are some of the crucial roles temperature monitoring technology plays in cold chain management.
1. It ensures your goods remain in their best conditions.
Temperature monitoring technologies help business owners retain the condition of temperature-sensitive goods while being transported. These solutions tell you whether the environment these products are in is still cold enough to preserve them.
After all, temperatures can change drastically in different spots and times during transit. Temperature monitoring devices help oversee thermal readings when the weather gets hot upon leaving the garage or starts raining in the following hours.
They are also useful for when your truckers take their lunch breaks, as they can adjust and maintain temperatures accordingly and check if the thermal controlling system is functioning properly or not.
Temperature monitoring systems are also critical because, for some items, slight temperature changes can diminish or ruin their quality and render them unfit to be served to your clients and customers. For example, vaccines, medicines, desserts, perishable foods, and other items need to be continuously stored in specific low (or ultra-freeze) temperatures suitable for use or consumption.
Companies often employ dry ice temperature monitoring systems to ensure the maintenance of frozen temperatures.
These monitoring technologies have powerful sensors that constantly track temperatures in the environment and tally the values. They also gather, store, control, and digitize temperature data that their sensors receive and alert you when figures are beyond the acceptable range.
Temperature monitoring systems increase product quality assurance and minimize temperature-related cargo rejections, expensive spoilage allegations, and redelivery costs for your business. They can even help identify when shipments have been tampered with if your system supports “lockdown mode” features.
2. It provides accurate temperature data records.
Accurate thermal measurements are critical in cold chain management. When they are high, reading low temperatures does not prompt you to apply the right remedies, resulting in spoiled and unusable items. Such is the tendency when you manually assess them.
However, when your business uses temperature monitoring devices connected to a dynamic database, you can get accurate values and determine proper action courses.
Temperature monitoring technologies have powerful temperature probes (known as sensors) with specific measurement ranges suited to your business requirements, such as accuracy levels, stability, operational periods, and more. For instance, if your enterprise transports medications or refrigerated samples, you will need devices that can measure down to at least half a degree.
The heart of temperature monitoring solutions – the measurement component – connects to these sensors, digitizes the readings, and records or, in the case of network-based systems, transmits the data to a server.
With accurate recordings by temperature monitoring solutions, you can better regulate your cold chain management workflows, cool environments for your deliveries, and comply with industry standards.
3. It gives insightful reporting and analytics.
Smart, modern temperature monitoring technologies have robust analytics and reporting features that provide business owners with the necessary data and insights to streamline cold chain management operations. The Internet of Things (IoT) makes that possible.
Wireless temperature data loggers provide your business with real-time, remote access to temperature data and more via Wi-Fi, cellular networks and other communication systems.
Other logger solutions send information to central databases using connected radio signal hubs, USB jacks or tags that can be scanned using Bluetooth transmitters or QR codes.
Such devices can present graphs of data points gathered over a definite but adjustable period, such as the previous week or month, on any selected unit. They can continuously show the average, maximum, minimum, or mean kinetic temperature (MKT), record these data, and signify a temperature excursion with an LED light serving as external hints of temperature spikes.
These data presentation features remove the need to connect to your company’s temperature monitoring devices to computers or download the information to your handheld gadgets. Once the data syncs, in one glance, you can tell whether your cold chain cargo is damaged or not.
For instance, in COVID-19 vaccines, robust temperature monitoring technologies can instantly capture any documentation needed for audits and process reports in a few clicks. This hastens the process of monitoring the COVID-19 vaccines during their distribution.
Additionally, temperature monitoring systems can produce several insightful reports and give business owners a sense of meta-trends regarding vendor performance and adherence to service level agreements.
Data reporting, transfer, and sharing are also convenient. You can stream and access data from secure servers or integrate them into your enterprise software tools, such as transportation management system (TMS), warehouse management system (WMS), enterprise resource planning (ERP), etc.
If your business’s temperature monitoring device allows the integration of live cold chain data with cloud-based analytics and data storage solutions, you can maximize your big data for predictive analytics. This feature is common among enterprise-level temperature monitoring technologies.
Predictive analytics helps business owners forecast, for example, which hotspots are likely to emerge in specific storage locations, how much coolant you will need for multimodal transport, and more.
4. It automates regular temperature recording.
Recording cold temperatures manually or on paper runs the risk of missing proper documentation schedules, writing down the wrong details, and other crucial actions. Temperature changes at specific times can also go out of your staff’s close observation as they attend to their other tasks.
On the other hand, temperature monitoring technologies have automation capabilities that keep track of thermal readings accurately and on designated periods and intervals, such as every 30 or 60 minutes.
Customizable and user-friendly, these devices let business owners monitor and log a spectrum of information more quickly, such as humidity, pressure, temperature, and other relevant measures according to the installed sensors’ functionalities.
All these automation features enhance operational efficiency, streamline your temperature monitoring tasks, and improve your business’s productivity.
Temperature monitoring technologies are critical in preserving your business’s transported cold items, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Without these, your products’ quality can suffer, making them unsuitable for use and consumption, resulting in product waste and huge income and client relationship losses for your enterprise.
Invest in reliable temperature monitoring technologies that are secure to ensure your products are in excellent condition as they move through your cold chain.