The “cold chain” is simply a supply chain designed to respond to special needs of production, transportation, storage and retail of temperature sensitive products. The global pharmaceutical and refrigerated food market is growing rapidly and requires better operation and organization of transport. |
Moving perishable or temperature sensitive goods from the point of production to the point of purchase is what makes the cold chain critical for international trade. The cold chain opens up new markets for medical and freight companies and demands development of common best practices. Below we describe those that, we feel, are vital for preserving the safety and quality of the cold chain.
Warehouse: For operations in the warehouse there are two critical issues: choosing a qualified packaging system and the preparation of the products for transportation. When transporting sensitive products it’s important to use only packaging that has been tested for maintaining the required temperature for the delivered products. It’s also important to identify the product characteristics because cold chain devices are developed to keep the temperature constant not to bring the product to the suitable temperature.
Transportation: during transportation, the most important issue is to find the right temperature monitring solution. There are a variety of options, ranging from those that give an alert when the temperature falls outside its range to those that provide actual, real time readings. In general, the device you choose should respond to the needs of products, based on the manufacturer’s speci?cation. You can learn more about temperature monitoring solutions used across the cold chain by reading about Cooltrax resources.
Point of sale: the last stage of the cold chain is the point of sale. There are many rules for proper handling of sensitive products and it’s very important for retailers to focus on maximizing shelf life and applying HACCP. This includes such things as: correct processing and packaging of the product at the point of sale ensuring that display cases are capable of maintaining a proper temperature placing products near other products with similar properties
There are other aspects that require monitoring and attention during the cold chain. One is cost versus value ratio. It’s important to understand the mechanisms which lead the supply chain and not implement solutions that are too sophisticated or too costly for actual needs. Another is quality assurance. If problems comprise a shipment, the provider should find the source and suggest solutions which reduce or eliminate the damage if this is in his/her area of expertise.
Best practices used in the cold chain are not yet standard and depend on the nature of the shipment, the packing system and the implemented control temperature. Companies need to find the right combination for their cold chain which will help them to reduce costs, maintain quality and create an efficient and dynamic system.
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