Since the last century, the world has continued its thread in the footprints of innovative technology. And one significant advancement is in bridging geographical gap differences. Even though there is a seeming improvement in transportation, location remains a challenge facing foreign exchange. The more time it takes to reach a particular region from another, the more chance for a fragile cargo or inventory to get damaged.
Goods have different properties. Some are affected by temperature, pressure, shocks, and other harsh external factors. Common to raw food materials and some pharmaceuticals, the longer they stay unused, the more they lose their quality.
Now, this brings us to the main question. How can these products be conserved during delayed transport periods without getting compromised? Thankfully, here is where the cold chain comes in.
What is a Cold Chain?
A cold chain is a temperature-regulated supply chain. The process involves the shipment of temperature-sensitive goods in energy-efficient packages via logistics planning to maintain their integrity till delivery is confirmed.
The process comprises several phases that include:
- Refrigerated and thermal packaging methods.
- Specific cold transport systems like refrigerated trucks, railcars, cargo ships, air cargo, etc.
- Cold storage.
- Frigid processing and distribution.
Elements of Cold Chain
Of course, to get on with this complex pick-up and supply method, there must be constituting elements. Here are the key ones.
Depending on the length of the journey, containers are built to either shortly preserve goods or for prolonged periods. Usually, they are energy-efficient and wholly confined. For example, insulated vaccine containers.
From the beginning of transport, till products are delivered, a wireless temperature monitoring system oversees the interior thermal changes. Other parameters may be supervised, e.g., air content, depending on the consignment.
This includes chill carriers like refrigerator trucks and boxcars, reefer ships and containers, etc.
Cold chain supply logistics ensures all related to custom standards like paperwork processing are met to avoid unnecessary impediments.
Cold storage facilities involve warehouses and other infrastructures that help control temperature changes.
6. Quality Assurance
Here is where quality is ascertained, and measures are taken to manage damages. During this process, product mistakes are evaluated either during manufacturing or delivery. As a criterion, inventories must meet their functional and non-functional requirements according to their specifications.
Areas evaluated include design, reliability engineering, organizational structure, systems compliance, etc.
As soon as a product reaches its final destination, manufacturers relay storage requirements to end users. However, at this stage, the customer’s implementation for receiving cold deliveries must be followed.
Other elements include load integrity, location, concentration level, conditional demand, and transport integrity.
The following technologies have a close link to cold chain functionality.
- Product: This is the visible cargo requiring specific thermal and humid conditioning. Methods for/and length of transport are based on these physical attributes.
- Origin and destination: While the source refers to the production point, the destination is the consumption locale. Distance can be constraining, and reliable logistics must be sorted if time will be a thing.
- Distribution: What temp-controlled media are used? This combines mobile containers and stationary infrastructures.
With the continuous advancement in medical sales, food production, and other perishables, the demand for a more specialized transport system will rise in the coming years. Fortunately, the cold chain supply will become a fundamental solution to this end when the need arises.