Best Practices in Cold Chain Logistics Management
Cold chain logistics are one of the riskiest and, at the same time, most profitable fields. In order to achieve success and allow your business to grow, you need to be smart about your approach and constantly try to improve. In order to help, we've put together a guide on the best practices in cold chain logistics management.
Decide on your business mode
There is a very important decision to make before you even get started running a cold chain. Namely, what your underlying approach will be. No matter are transporting goods, you will always have two choices. You can prioritize goods that, in spite of requiring temperature control, are "relatively" forgiving, mostly meaning that they can spend longer in transport. Or, you can prioritize those who require faster shipping methods and more stringent temperature control. Now, the benefits and demerits of both are rather obvious. The former allows you to take much less risk and still generate steady profits. The latter forces you to assume more risk, but at the same time, even with the increased cost of faster transport, it stands to yield much higher profits. Naturally, it is entirely up to you which of the two you prefer and would like pursue.
Establish exact operating procedures
When it comes to the best practices in cold chain logistics management, few are as important as establishing exact operating procedures. You see, cold chain logistics do not really tolerate errors, especially considering the role of cold chain logistics in the pharmaceutical industry. Any errors that pop up and expose the goods to wrong storage conditions have a serious impact on their quality and even longevity. For example, even a small difference in optimal temperatures, such as one- or two-degrees Fahrenheit, can impact the shelf life of certain goods by as much as fifty percent. This means that if you mess up, the goods will expire much sooner than they should, and their effectiveness might be lower, too. This might now be readily apparent, and you may even get away with it once or twice. But this would seriously impact your reputation in the industry if discovered, perhaps to a disastrous effect.
Have the right specialists in your employ
We already mentioned the consequences of messing up by even one or two degrees Fahrenheit. And this is something you constantly deal with if involved in cold chain logistics. If you want consistent and positive outcomes, one of the best practices in cold chain logistics management is hiring specialists to oversee and plan the operation of your logistics business. As the experts from Helix Move VA like to point out, it is always better to work on the quality of your services. And that's what you would be doing from here; with specialist support, you would be able to more easily evaluate the success of your shipments and minimize any losses of profit. In addition, you can build your reputation as a reliable and foremost company in the industry, which, in turn, can funnel increased business your way!
Insist on quality employee training
If you want to build long-lasting customer and carrier relationships, having specialist support is not enough. You need a certain level of professionalism and competence throughout your employee roster. Even your workers need the best training you can provide for them.
Why? Well, consider this... even with the most exacting plans and procedures, things will still go wrong if your workers cannot properly implement them. A single fumble by your loading and unloading team can result in thousands of dollars' worth of damage, to both the goods and the equipment used to handle them! This would, at best, result in many delays as you scramble to recover what goods you can and replace the ruined portion. Putting out fires caused by incompetence is hardly what you want your specialists to spend their time on!
The importance of compliance
Another of the best practices in cold chain logistics management is to emphasize compliance with regulations. In fact, this is not even a "good practice" as much as a requirement. You see, in response to various past misadventures, the FDA has put in place many requirements that need to be met. Even when transporting food, monitoring and logging the temperature and humidity of the shipment as it moves along the supply chain is required (to say nothing of the stringent requirements when transporting medicine).If you are found to be cutting corners or trying to weasel your way out of the current rules and regulations, you can expect to be met with severe sanctions.
Always have exacting pre-shipment prep
All that which we have just discussed means that exacting pre-shipment preparations are required. It is absolutely vital that all the equipment is properly examined. That your specialists ensure that everything is calibrated right and ready for use. And even to check and monitor the current state of the goods you are planning to transport. After all, you cannot afford to pick up faulty goods and then be blamed for their state upon delivering them to their destination. It is in your best interests to work as hard as possible before the shipment starts. That way, you can be relatively relaxed as the load is carried and reap maximum profits.
Pay special attention to new technology
The final of the best practices in cold chain logistics management that we can recommend is paying close attention to new technological developments. Cold chain logistics benefit greatly from newer tech. After all, any improvements to temperature control and storage massively reduce the risks associated with the industry. This is in addition to the amazing new software, which provides some stellar transportation risk management tools and predictive features. If you wish to specialize in cold chain logistics, it is even more important to constantly stay abreast of new developments and invest in them. This will also go a long way toward allowing you to stay ahead of your competitors.
Being unfamiliar with the best cold chain logistics management practices will allow you to take your business a step further. If you can successfully implement all of them, then you can expect to see a severe positive uptick in the profitability and safety of your ventures.