Welcome back for the third installment in our series Quality & Efficiency; Can You Have Both? Last week we discussed the options we have for gaining visibility into cold chain logistics, and came to the conclusion, that real-time monitoring would be the best solution overall for both quality and compliance challenges. So this week, let’s look a bit closer at why this is so.
Going Above and Beyond Compliance with Quality
So, if you’d be just as compliant with the recording kind of monitoring (as long as you make sure that any affected products do not reach the consumer) where is the problem? Even if this way of doing things also incurs costs in wastage, it is a compliant way of handling the problem.
Well, the thing is that what is and isn’t safe on delivery isn’t an end-all solution to your product quality needs. Even when you remain compliant and deliver safe products, if they have experienced non-critical degradation, they may have reduced shelf life or purely aesthetic or taste-related defects. And this is a problem, because very few people are willing to buy a blotchy tomato, even if it is otherwise completely fine.
But with real-time monitoring, you can stop both the critical and non-critical deviations and excursions by acting on immediate information from your cold chain. Did someone leave the truck door open? You’ll get an alarm. Is the HVAC in your storage malfunctioning? You’ll get an alarm. Is the defrosting cycle in your fridge raising temperatures too much? Again, you’ll get an alarm.
And even more than this you’ll get to see if one or all of these are a regular occurrence, and then you can adjust SOPs to prevent the very possibility of that deviation from turning up again. With time-stamped data on condition fluctuations and alarms, which can be accessed throughout the supply chain, looking for trends and root causes is a lot easier than the old way of trying to work out where a USB logger has been at the time something went wrong.
None of this is absolutely new information, of course - it’s pretty clear that better visibility can help with both quality and compliance matters in the cold chain. The real question is, how efficiently can this be done? Next week we’ll return with some answers, so keep your eyes peeled for the next post?