How cold chain monitoring assures product safety

A few global trends are affecting and likely to continue to affect many business processes in the near future. One is the growing expectation of consumers for quality and safety in everything they consume or use or need in the world – like food, medicines, healthcare and retail goods. The second is increasing regulations – including foods standards and healthcare standards. The third is the increasing effects of global economic depression – consumers and businesses looking to cut costs, improve efficiencies, and get more value for their money.

For temperature-sensitive products such as food and food ingredients, medicines, healthcare products and active pharmaceutical ingredients, the factors above put even more pressure on businesses and management delivering to those sectors. For example, a fast-food chain must ensure that meat and vegetables transported to its outlets arrive in good condition. Or some medicines must be maintained at a certain temperature within a hospital or in transport to ensure their effectiveness when treating patients.

Both scenarios require the food or medicines to be maintained within a certain temperature range to keep them safe. In both situations, there is an expectation that standards are met, and food safety and patient safety is guaranteed. In other words, quality and safety must be assured, and regulatory requirements must be met.

How do businesses prove that their products are safe?
Effective cold chain monitoring and management allows businesses to monitor and interpret what’s going on in their cold chain logistics and storage supply chain so that these requirements can be addressed. By measuring key parameters in the business process – such as temperature, humidity, GPS location, energy consumption, food and pharmaceutical companies can guarantee food and patient safety.

In pharmaceuticals, patient safety and regulatory compliance are key considerations for the cold chain and temperature controlled logistics supply chain. In order to be compliant, there are regulations such as Good Automated Manufacturing Practice (GAMP) and Good Distribution Practice (GDP).

In food, relatively small variations in temperature can significantly affect shelf life of fresh products and their value – as much as 33% of perishable items are lost due to the nature of temperature critical transportation. A Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) approach is demanded by many regulatory bodies to assure food safety and demonstrate ‘due diligence’ in accordance with food safety legislation

The logistics supply chain for temperature-sensitive products is a crucial part of a company’s business process. In a survey carried out last year by Cold Chain IQ, 69 percent of respondents in the temperature assured supply chain said that reducing or preventing product deviations and excursions was one of their top three priorities.

This is particularly necessary as regulatory scrutiny increases, and companies look to reduce costs with improvements in efficiency.

Summary – the role of cold chain monitoring in the logistics supply chain
In summary more regulatory burdens and more reporting requirements to deliver proof of product integrity mean that it is essential for businesses to consider how effective their cold chain logistics supply chain is being monitored and how the data is being interpreted. But it’s not just about the technology solution. The key criteria should be how such a solution fits into existing enterprise resource systems or business intelligence systems that a company uses overall within the organizations, so that reporting becomes an automated activity and not a focus of attention valuable business resources.

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