HomeBusinessHow Cold Chain IoT Tech Helps Food Distributors Maintain Temperature Control

How Cold Chain IoT Tech Helps Food Distributors Maintain Temperature Control

In 2021, the reality is, distributors who depend on manually ensuring that cold chain logistics maintain consistent temperatures are setting themselves up to fail. Traditional methods of reading temperature gauges and logging results on paper during transport is simply too labor intensive and adds too much friction to the flow of shipments, putting a major damper on your operational scalability.

It leaves your cold chain open to reliability and verification flaws. For instance, the temperature could fluctuate wildly over the course of transporting your items. If you only log the temperature at the start and end, or even at certain increments, you’d easily miss spoilage. As such, you could lose a huge portion of your products, resources, money, and even customers.

The solution? Adopt Internet of Things (IoT) technology into your cold chain process.

While IoT tech is changing manufacturing as we know it, it also provides robust tools and functionalities that help food distributors efficiently maintain a temperature-controlled cold chain.

Read on to learn how IoT tech can give you overall visibility into and control over your cold chain to ensure and preserve your required food product quality.

Provides seamless temperature monitoring

Implementing IoT solutions allow you to monitor and ensure your food items are kept at optimum temperatures throughout the cold chain.

IoT sensors activated on transportation modes such as trucks, air and rail cargo to track and ensure appropriate temperatures are maintained across transport and handoffs. The sensors can gather and share temperature conditions data in real-time, allowing complete control over your temperature regulation and monitoring processes.

This helps ensure your food items stay within the required temperature throughout the logistics cycle, preserving their quality and preventing potential spoilage. IoT-enabled actuators can adjust the cold storage containers and facilities’ temperatures automatically to match the required levels in case of discrepancies.

With a reliable IoT solution, temperature control monitoring across the cold chain is more efficient and even automated.

Facilitates remote cold chain management

The traditional methods required cold storage managers to be physically present inside the facility to ensure optimal temperature conditions and inspect food items for issues and spoilage.
However, the wide geography of the cold chain, including scattered distribution centers and warehouses, would make it challenging to achieve this on top of managing efficient logistics. IoT smart sensors and cloud-based software provide a solution by logging and aggregating cold storage temperature and other relevant data you receive automatically.

This allows you to stay on top of your cold chain quality assurance across various remote locations. IoT technology lets you monitor storage, shipments, and even last-mile deliveries through mobile apps.

With this connectivity, your cold chain operators can handle hand-off points better, from refrigerated cargo containers moving between ports, trucks, or rail and warehouse storage to unloading the packages.

An IoT solution with hardware built into containers and storage facilities allows you to establish an efficient remote cold chain management system. This also helps you identify and prevent potential hand-off errors and maintain optimal temperature environments across the cold chain.

Addresses cold storage issues on the fly

Some of the biggest challenges in maintaining a temperature-controlled cold chain are breakdowns in frozen distribution centers and refrigeration systems.

The key is to ensure you work with cold chain operators and cold storage providers that deploy IoT-enabled monitoring solutions such as embedded sensors. Installed in cold chain chillers, freezers, containers, and facilities, these sensors collect environmental condition data and transmit it to a central database.

Some more sophisticated devices can even send failure alerts promptly via LAN or 3G/4G networks.

By transmitting the aggregated data to warehouse management systems, you’ll have a coherent tracking network you can easily tap into. This allows you to monitor temperature, mitigate cold chain issues promptly before they escalate, and preserve your food items’ quality.

Allows efficient shipment tracking

It’s critical for your business to get complete information about your shipments at all times. IoT technology for cold chain logistics can help you with this through devices that let you track your cold products 24/7.

It can also allow you to adjust logistics schedules quickly if your chain moves slower than planned. Doing so helps reduce the time you lose planning and modifying schedules when tracking data isn’t easily accessible while maintaining appropriate temperatures during shipment.

With IoT solutions, you can efficiently coordinate with various cold chain service providers and facilities and implement seamless shipment monitoring and optimum temperature maintenance.

Also, data from IoT-powered sensors can help all stakeholders understand the risks involved in cold chain logistics, which can help improve distribution schedules and operational output. This can translate to streamlined and more visible cold chain logistics temperature monitoring and processes.

Offers access to real-time data

Besides logging cold chain facility temperature and capturing other logistics data, IoT software can analyze and share all this information with other devices in real-time.

This helps you know your food items’ actual conditions and view the cold chain logistics process. You can get alerts about issues within the transportation process, such as extreme temperature fluctuations, as they happen.

This allows technicians and managers to make quick decisions to fix these issues, ensuring your food items’ freshness and quality are not compromised. This also helps you avoid potential financial losses. An additional benefit to IoT hardware is that it improves inventory control accuracy, since wireless, automated inventory tracking is less error-prone than manual methods.

For instance, old processes would require scanning each item manually at checkpoints throughout the cold chain transport. This can leave plenty of room for getting inconsistent and inaccurate data acquired by cold storage operators, leading to audit deviations, and worse, spoiled commodities.

IoT technology can prevent this by delivering live data, leading to accurate inventories and reduced shipment delays and risks.

Automates reports

IoT solutions can use the data its devices collect and aggregate to auto-generate reports, some featuring insights using advanced, built-in artificial intelligence (AI) software.

The IoT technology’s AI and machine learning can help improve the cold chain logistics cycle by analyzing process-related data. It can help you even predict and preempt issues and inefficiencies that have a high likelihood of compromising temperature control, management, and maintenance.

This helps you make strategic decisions and adjustments to eliminate these issues and  effectively maintain an efficient temperature-controlled cold chain process.

The bottom line to using IoT for cold chain logistics

IoT technology can help your food distribution business maintain a temperature-controlled cold chain while streamlining the logistics process.

It can also help you overcome some of the main challenges within cold chain logistics by allowing real-time temperature and shipment monitoring and providing cold chain facility and transport data insights. This allows you to make informed business decisions promptly and minimize the risks within the cold chain.

Look for a reliable IoT solution to simplify your temperature control and monitoring and streamline your cold chain logistics process. This helps sustain your food items’ quality and freshness and maintain your business’s scalability and profitability.

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