IoT Sensors Help Brands Overcome Major Supply Chain Issues
Shipping food, medications, and other temperature-sensitive products has always been a challenge for suppliers and transportation companies. Maintaining the cold chain, which involves keeping products appropriate temperature from the source to the store, is essential for preserving freshness, preventing spoilage, and ensuring safety. This need has led to the development of cold train temperature monitoring devices with amazing capabilities. These Internet of Things (IoT) devices have made it much easier to collect data and track shipments in real time. Every step of the supply chain flow has a new layer of protection against problems that can cause serious losses at every stage.
The IoT is quickly becoming a staple in many industries because it gives companies the option to improve efficiency, productivity, accuracy, speed, and safety. This is especially noticeable in logistics and cold chain specifically. By improving how much and what type of data is collected and making it possible to analyze it as quickly as possible, supply chain managers can make better decisions. Also, fewer sensitive shipments will be lost or spoiled.
- What Is Cold Chain Logistics?
A cold chain is a supply chain that involves transporting temperature-sensitive products, such as food and pharmaceuticals. Products are kept at cold temperatures throughout the supply chain, from production to consumption. They are used to preserve the quality and safety of perishable goods.
Cold chains are logistically complex and require careful planning and management. Refrigerated cargo must be stored at the proper temperature, and shipments must be tracked to ensure that they stay cold throughout the journey. This can be challenging, particularly during summer months or in regions with warmer or more humid climates.
- Types of Products that Require Cold Chain Monitoring
As our world becomes more and more interconnected, the need to transport sensitive items long distances has become increasingly common. These items, known as perishable goods, require special care to maintain their quality and prevent spoilage. This is where cold chain monitoring comes in.
These types of supply chains are an important part of the global food system, ensuring that fresh produce and ingredients can be shipped long distances without spoiling. They are also critical for ensuring that lifesaving vaccines and medications remain effective during transport and storage.
In order to properly monitor the cold chain, businesses must have access to accurate and up-to-date data. That is where cold chain temperature monitoring devices come into play. Companies who choose not to use these affordable safeguards are putting their shipments and reputation at risk.
- Top Cold Chain Monitoring Use Cases
For companies that rely on cold chain transportation to move their products and other assets, reliable data collection, tracking, and transmission is an essential part of their success. By continuously monitoring the temperature of your shipments, you can ensure that your products remain in excellent, usable condition. This information lets you know that your assets are not damaged by exposure to extreme heat or cold.
Although multiple product types that require cold chain oversight art mentioned above, it is difficult to understand the true necessity of these devices with basic information. Since you know your products better than anyone else, you already understand how to keep them in the best condition possible to get to their final location successfully. This depends not only on them being in sellable condition but also requires them to be kept at temperature levels set forth by food, medicine, or other safety regulatory committees.
- Food Industry Supply Chain Requirements
Most food products have a limited shelf life and expiration dates that consumers must pay attention to for optimum safety. However, if you produce food or any processed ingredients that are shipped across the country or around the world, you need to worry about safety well before they arrive at the market shelf.
When it comes to cold chain logistics, perishable food is the most common and well-known use case. These types of supply chains have existed ever since people began harvesting ice in the 1800s. Of course, today’s storage and transportation options are much better and technologically advanced. They still need sufficient oversight with cold chain temperature monitoring devices to ensure accuracy and the highest quality of every product shipped.
Different foods and preparations require different temperature ranges according to safety regulations. For example, most fresh fruits and vegetables need to stay around 35 to 39 degrees Fahrenheit or 2 to 4 degrees Celsius during the entire supply chain process. Frozen meat and bread products require -4 degrees to 14 degrees Fahrenheit or -10 to -20 degrees Celsius. There are also deep-frozen products like ice cream and shrimp that must be maintained at even lower temperature ranges.
- Live Plants and Flowers
Any types of live plants also require careful monitoring in cold chain logistics. These can be both for agricultural purposes, landscaping design, or even houseplants. Flower shops all around the world get regular shipments of roses, orchids, and other blooms so people can buy them for someone special. They need to arrive fresh and beautiful or no one will profit from their growth. These are actually some of the most sensitive types of products to temperature ranges. You cannot freeze flowers or even refrigerate them excessively, but they cannot get so hot that they wilt either.
- Pharmaceutical and Medical Cold Chain
In the past few years, the Covid-19 pandemic has brought the issue of cold team logistics for vaccines specifically into the public eye. News stories of unusable vaccines came to light after appropriate temperatures were not maintained during the shipping and storage process. These require an extremely low temperature of -70 degrees Celsius, which is shared with a variety of other vaccines that are regularly shipped around the world.
Many prescription medications and over-the-counter drugs also need to be kept at steady temperatures to maintain their efficacy and freshness. Most of these stay safe around 2 to 8 degrees Celsius, but many of them need lower ranges instead. Without the use of cold chain monitoring devices sending data to everyone associated with the shipment, they would not be a way to 100% ensure that the important medications arrive under optimal conditions.
Although not as common as vaccines and pharmaceutical medications, essential medical shipments that contain blood, tissue, transplant organs, stem cells, or other human elements must also arrive at their destination in perfect condition. Besides medical emergency issues, these are most often used in laboratory research and development of new treatment options and medications. People’s lives depend on temperature tracking in these cases.
- Cold Chain Monitoring for Sensitive Electronics
Unless you are involved in manufacturing electronic gadgets or devices or are part of this unique supply chain, you probably do not know that they need careful temperature monitoring as well. Of course, the latest laptop or microchip does not need refrigeration or freezing. In fact, this may damage them before they reach their destination. Most electronics require average room temperature storage and transport from manufacturing company all the way to the final retail store shelf. This is generally considered from 50 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit.
The main reason for this type of controlled temperature supply chain involves keeping the electronic elements inside from overheating and to protect batteries. Excessively hot batteries in transport can fail spectacularly and cause serious problems for the whole shipment. Of course, they cannot freeze either or they will crack and get ruined. Monitoring the temperature with IoT devices can help manufacturers ensure that the products perform optimally so every customer is fully satisfied.
- Manufactured Wax, Oil, and Petroleum Products
Anything made from one of these base ingredients will melt or become damaged if exposed to high temperatures. While your mind may immediately go to candles and crayons, a vast array of different products depends on the stability of waxes, oils, and petroleum products. These include many in the health and beauty industry such as cosmetics, skin cream, and hair treatments. Other possibilities that require cold chain monitoring include shoe polish, wax-coated disposable plates and bowls, and more.
Many specific use cases for cold chain monitoring devices exist. For example, some hazardous chemicals like hydrogen peroxide and products like paint or cleaning solutions should maintain a certain temperature range for maximum safety and quality. If you are specifically involved in any of these industries, you understand the importance of choosing the best cold chain devices with accurate sensors and fast connectivity for data collection and use.
Choose the Best Cold Chain Temperature Monitoring Devices
When choosing a temperature monitoring device for your cold chain, it is important to consider factors like reliability, connectivity, and data accuracy. The overall reliability of the device is an essential part of ensuring that metric you watch is correct and that your product remain safe throughout the logistics and shipment process.
Look for IoT monitoring devices with a long lifespan and reported reliability from past users and independent tests. This is one reason why it is important to choose products from a reputable manufacturer like EELink instead of a middleman retail establishment that knows little about the technology behind the items they sell.
- Other Important Metrics to Monitor
While temperature is the main data point that requires careful tracking in cold supply chains, food producers and product manufacturers need a lot more information to keep their shipments. Supply chain tracking devices frequently offer multiple options that can benefit you. The most common ones include:
GPS Location – You need to know where your shipment is every step of the way. From the moment it leaves your production facility or in-house shipping center, you trust other people and companies to take care of your assets. If you do not know where they are, you cannot answer questions from buyers about when they will arrive. Also, GPS information transmitted in real time can help you proactively solve problems like lost shipments before they become much more expensive and destructive to your company’s reputation.
Physical Movement – While GPS tracks location and pinpoints where your cargo is around the world or across the country, it does not give information about the actual movements of the cargo. For this, you need an IoT supply chain monitoring device. The sensors onboard these small gadgets register things like drops, shocks, tilts, and even if the cargo goes upside down. All of these things give you essential information about how your shipment is being treated and if any accidents occurred along the way. Why does this matter? Sensitive produce and products may become excessively damaged and thus unsellable the container falls or tips over.
Light Exposure – The main reason why products or the interior of shipping containers would be exposed to light is if someone opened them up. Once you package your products in boxes, pallets, cargo bins, or any other type of container, no one should open them until they reach their destination. Occasionally, inspectors will access things at seaports, airports, or logistics depots. However, having this information is also important for your supply chain management goals. If your items are exposed to light without an accompanying inspection report, you get an immediate heads-up that they may have been tampered with or stolen.
Humidity – When it comes to cold chain monitoring, humidity is the second most important metric to consider after temperature. After all, improper moisture levels can damage things like fruits and vegetables, dry goods, medications, and sensitive electronics quite easily. It can also be an indication of poor handling or improper closure of the cargo container.
The more data you collect with in-transit monitoring devices, the better equipped you are to handle any unexpected issues that arise during the supply chain process. When it comes to the types of sensitive products that require cold chain shipments, all of these things become even more important. However, the most detailed and precise data in the world will not help you unless you can access it quickly over a reliable connection.
- Connectivity Options: Bluetooth and More
When it comes to IoT cold chain temperature monitoring devices, the most popular and helpful connectivity option is Bluetooth. This wireless communication method allows anyone with the right permission to access the temperature and other data collected from the tracker itself. Bluetooth low energy or BLE tags stay with the products, cargo containers, pallets, vehicles, or whatever else you need to track. The beacon device collects all the information and sends it to the computer, smartphone, or other mobile gadget with the appropriate web interface installed.
Of course, how the cold chain trackers connect to your computer or phone matters if you want the most up-to-date and helpful information. One of the best things about the options available through this top brand is they come with a highly intuitive beacon platform that is customizable for different users, cases, and needs specific to your operations and supply chain interests.
- Sturdy Devices for the Whole Supply Chain
When talking about BLE data collectors and shipment trackers, most company representatives consider the tech inside first. Of course, that is why you invest in these types of supply chain monitoring devices. It is important, however, to also choose products that are built to last. Flimsy gadgets may last for one or two journeys by air, sea, or over land, but they will not continue to provide their important benefits for long.
The most popular DB01 and GPT29 cold chain monitoring devices from EELink, as well as all the other models available on the website, are built to last. They have sturdy plastic shells that are both waterproof and dustproof to keep all the important sensor and communication technology safe inside. This is of the utmost importance for cold chain situations as every part of the sensors and beacons must stand up to sometimes extreme temperatures in refrigerated and freezer vehicles, containers, and warehouses.
- How to Choose the Best Device Provider
EELink is a well-established product engineering and manufacturing company with 15 years of experience behind them. When it comes to trusting your cold chain products to a brand’s monitoring devices, it helps to look at the track record of success and satisfaction. A huge array of global customers across many industries and niches trust the IoT data-collection devices offered by this provider.
If you do not find the ideal mass-produced cold chain temperature tracker on their site, they also offer the opportunity for custom work. Their engineers and product design specialists can create unique solutions for manufacturers who need something different when it comes to cold chain monitoring, asset protection, accurate data collection, connectivity, and more.
Challenges inherent to the entire global supply chain network today require modern tech solutions. With the help of cold chain temperature monitoring devices from EELink, a top IoT sensor manufacturer, brands can take control of asset management, cargo protection, and ultimate success. Do not ship out another order of temperature-sensitive products, parts, or materials without these goods and asset monitoring solutions on board.