Last week we discussed how to reach compliance in international cold chain logistics, and implied that increasing visibility into logistics conditions could be an effective solution to proving compliance and improving quality. So, this week let’s take a look at improved visibility in cold chain logistics and why that would almost need to be real-time in order to have the best effect.
Two Ways to Do Visibility
Now, for purely compliance purposes it is still acceptable to just have a means of recording cold chain processes and conditions so you are able to show what the eventual results were. And this is very probably something you are more than familiar with, either by archiving temperature recorder prints, or by downloading temperature logger data to your computer. In some cases, you might even need to download the data and then also have to print it out.
And while this kind of manual work can be a bit taxing, the real challenge comes from having to deal with any deviations you then find in those records. This is what is meant by retroactive visibility. Especially in pharmaceutical logistics this is a real problem, because a deviation investigation is typically both long-lasting and costs a hefty sum of money.
For other kinds of perishable logistics, it is more often the case that any deviation results in ditching the affected products, which also creates costs in having to replace the shipment and makes for unnecessary waste.
With real-time visibility – the kind of visibility that tells you what is happening right now - it is much easier to start improving compliance. This is because you can design SOPs with in-built processes for immediate corrective actions. These are enabled by real-time information and alerts on changes.
And better visibility also helps take advantage of more holistic deviation data in order to drill down to root causes and design preventive actions right into the SOPs. This directly affects your ability to operate compliantly as well as having a strong impact on quality, which we’ll discuss in next week’s post.