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5 steps to better cold chain efficiency

If your main line of business is providing products and services that are dependent on the cold chain, then efficiency should be a high priority. 

Running an efficient cold chain business results in better quality products, less waste and healthier profits. 

Here are 5 simple things that will help you ensure maximum efficiency and productivity for your cold chain enterprise. 

Efficient temperature monitoring checklist for cold chain pros

Are your procedures clear and transparent?

Just like any other product or service, your clients and potential customers want to ensure that they get what they paid for. Being able to deliver your product in optimum condition should always be the goal, so it’s important to have temperature monitoring procedures in place that can be shared amongst providers at each control point. 

If you’re hesitant to fully disclose your temperature monitoring data throughout the lifecycle of the product, it’s not going to result in the best outcome for your customer or other providers in the cold chain. 

Plus, if your customers are confident in your methods and believe your data is accurate, this can help you build trust and bolster long term relationships.

Have you got the right temperature monitoring tools?

Make sure you and your team are across all the necessary HACCP & food handling regulations, refrigerated transport guidelines, and any other Standards or regulations applicable to your industry. These will most likely include specific temperature monitoring guidelines that indicate when and where you need to perform temperature checks on your product. 

However, it’s critical to have the right tools in place to ensure you’re taking accurate readings. Choosing the right type of thermometer for your specific products is the first step, although calibrating your tools regularly is just as important. If your equipment isn’t properly calibrated it may not be as accurate as it should be.

Tip: take a look at our article on the different types of thermometers for more information on temperature measuring devices and calibration requirements. 

How accurate is your data?

Having accurate data in your cold chain business is crucial – not just for your own records but also for the wider cold chain. 

False, inaccurate or missing data can cause a disconnect between the various links in the cold chain, leading to suboptimal product quality. On the flip side, accurate data gives everyone involved the reassurance that the job is being done and being done right.

Sharing cloud-based data between different operators in the cold chain ensures that everyone, from the producer to the distributor and finally the retailer, can confidently guarantee the freshness and quality of the product. 

Plus, accurate data makes reporting easier and can help you pinpoint issues before they develop into bigger problems. 

How will you respond to a breach?

Any significant fluctuation in the cold chain conditions at the designated control points is likely to result in a breach. Having a clear procedure for responding to cold chain breaches is probably part of your business already, especially if you are in the food or pharmaceutical industry. 

Letting other operators know as soon as a breach happens means that QA and safety teams, freight providers and stock controllers can put their action plans into place and minimise the damage. 

Recording what happened and why can also help you analyse any weak points in the chain and help you prevent further losses in the future.

Are you upskilling staff with ongoing training?

As a manager or team leader, you’ll know that industry guidelines and best practices can change rapidly, so keeping your team on top of their game should be a priority.

Keeping your team up to date with new skills gives you peace of mind that you’re managing a competent cold chain crew. Short training courses in how to use thermometers can help you ensure temperature monitoring tools are being used properly and that your team have a good grounding in temperature control practices. 

Viewing training as a measurable investment in the future – not an expense – is how smart cold chain operators remain at the forefront of their industry.

A robust framework = good financial outcomes

In summary, making the wrong decisions around asset selection, handling procedures, temperature monitoring and data could have a huge financial impact due to poor quality of food delivery and corresponding reduced shelf life. 

This is why cold chain professionals need to be well-informed, organised, flexible and data-driven to ensure the best financial outcomes for their organisation. 

People in supervisory or management roles need to be particularly on the ball when it comes to cold chain efficiency, so having these 5 key things in place will ensure your cold chain business continues to thrive.