Importance of the Cold Chain

The cold chain process is a method of logistics management used for perishable goods that are kept at cold temperatures to ensure their quality and safety throughout the supply chain.

FREMONT, CA: The cold chain is a different supply chain. It involves moving cold or frozen goods from 2 degrees Celsius (35 degrees Fahrenheit) to negative 70 degrees Celsius (158 degrees Fahrenheit). The food, drink, pharmaceutical, and chemical industries are part of the cold chain.

The cold chain process is a way to manage logistics for products to be kept cold to preserve their quality and safety from beginning to end. The logistics business must do a series of things in the cold supply chain to get products ready, store them, and move them.

The planning and management of cold chain shipments ensure safety. This means using the proper packaging, the right tools for transport, the suitable routes, the right timing, and the ability to see everything along the way to ensure that what is expected is what happens. At every step of the cold chain process, it's best to use technology and data.

The cold chain ensures that products that spoil quickly are safe, of high quality, or effective at the point where they are used or eaten. If the logistics business doesn't keep these products at the right temperatures, they will break down, change color, get bruised, or grow bacteria. When the logistics business has good cold chain products, its customers will be happy, increasing demand and protecting public health.

Cold chain providers also greatly help the economy and the job market. The refrigerated warehouse industry brings in about $6.1 billion each year, according to the GCCA. Also, the North American refrigerated warehousing industry hires more than 62,774 full-time workers yearly, with 92 percent being permanent instead of contract or temporary.

Storage

The cold chain starts when the product is kept in a place that is kept cold. If manufacturers of cold chain products don't have the storage equipment needed to keep their products at the right temperature, they will have to outsource their cold chain operations to a partner with the right equipment.

Cold rooms, chillers, cold boxes, blast freezers, and vaccine carriers are all common types of cold storage equipment and facilities.

Packaging

The quality of temperature-controlled products is maintained by properly packaging them. Proper packaging makes the product less likely to get contaminated and uses less energy to store it along the cold chain.

Most of the time, dry ice, gel packs, gel bricks, phase change material (PCM), and EPS panels are used as coolants in the packaging.

Monitoring

Keeping track of key information for specific cold chain products is essential. This consists of temperatures and other environmental characteristics, such as humidity levels. Without monitoring, suboptimal conditions might occur and degrade product quality.

Monitoring the cold chain often means using the Internet of Things (IoT) or other software with sensors. These monitoring systems can find temperature problems, keep track of all cold chain products on one platform, and improve predictive maintenance by combining sensor data with supply chain management software like a transportation management system (TMS).

Delivery

Shipments also have to be delivered as part of cold chain management. Delivery depends on how the end-user consumer would like to get cold deliveries.

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