Cold chain monitoring technology is revolutionising the transport industry. It is helping producers to deliver goods that meet the high expectations of end users and strict government controls within increasingly complex supply chains.
If you ship produce, then you need to find technology that will help you to reduce the risks to your product as it is transported on complex supply chains, which are more often than not disrupted.
The new tracking technology from Tracknact ensures that products that need to be stored and transported under optimal conditions arrive at their destination without incident.
Let’s look at how supply chain management has changed, what trends are developing from these changes, and how cold chain technology from Tracknact can meet the challenges of the trends.
Comprehensive end-to-end supply chain management
Supply chains have become increasingly complex as demand from global markets increases, and consumer expectations’ are squarely focused on quality.
In these ever increasingly complex chains, it has also become difficult for producers to manage each stage of the chain, as the responsibility and custodians of your goods shift between different logistic providers.
To effectively monitor the condition of your goods throughout the supply chain you need tools that can enhance your quality control and identify issues quickly before your shipment is spoiled. This is particularly important in cold chain logistics, where temperature-sensitive perishable products are shifted through different environments from containers to storage units, to distribution networks, to retailers or service providers, and finally to the end users.
With so many moving parts around the globe, it is vital to maintain temperature integrity for temperature-sensitive perishable products. Tracknact not only tracks and monitors your products in real-time, but it also can alert you if conditions are not met so you can react quickly.
In the not-so-distant past, the data from monitoring systems was collected manually as the produce passed through the hands of distributors. It would often be too late to save your products from spoiling and the quality of records variable, meaning it was difficult, if not impossible, to assign accountability.
New markets and cold chain management
With the development of more efficient and effective cold storage and the expansion of infrastructure across the globe, there is more opportunity to find new markets for your sensitive goods. To reach those markets, you need to establish unproven distribution networks.
Unproven distribution is a significant risk for producers without knowledge of the supply chain’s integrity or capability. It was one of the significant issues of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout when temperature-sensitive vaccines had to be rolled out globally and quickly and public trust in the efficacy of the vaccine was at stake.
Cold chain technology that enables real-time monitoring helps to maintain the integrity and accountability of the supply lines and helps to protect your products’ reputation with consumers. In increasingly competitive markets, establishing trust in the quality of your product early when entering a new market has never been more important.
If your product develops a good reputation with early adopters, it increases your chances of growing the new market. However, if these early adopters are left disappointed with the quality of product as a result of supply chain issues, then they can also bury your product before it has a chance.
When starting in a new market, inconsistent supply seriously impacts your reputation, particularly when the consumer has an alternative to what you offer. Reputation damage can be a costly and timely exercise to turn around at the best of times.
In many cases, when a product is new to the market, the damage to reputation is irreversible, and the market will be closed off.
Third-party transport growth
The third-party transportation industry is exploding as producers and manufacturers see the cost and time benefits of focusing on their core business and relying on logistics specialists. Also, as supply chains stretch, producers and manufacturers increasingly rely on third-party logistics (3PL’s) to get their products where they need to go.
While it is becoming necessary to hand logistic management over to a third party, there is pressure on producers and manufacturers to be accountable to their customers for the performance of their supply chains. Big multinational companies can have complex supply chains that stretch across hundreds of providers. In such cases these companies also have the resources and power to regularly audit these supply chains to ensure they meet their social and economic obligations. However, for most companies this simply isn’t possible.
This is where cold chain technologies, such as Tracknact, help you log activity and quickly audit the performance of your supply chains in real-time so you can react quickly when necessary. The technology is not only providing quality assurance services but also transparency in the supply chain!
Transparency and traceability
End-to-end cold supply chain monitoring technology like Tracknact, ensure real-time data, so producers know exactly where their products are and in what condition. As there is more demand from governments and consumers on maintaining the integrity of supply chains, producers and manufacturers must have the tools to monitor their shipments through every process stage.
By logging and monitoring supply chain conditions, you can give all stakeholders confidence that the product is transported in suitable environments to remain in peak condition.
One of the biggest challenges facing pharmaceutical manufacturers after developing the various COVID-19 vaccines was the logistics of getting them to where they were needed. It was clear that supply chains across the globe were not equal, and each presented unique challenges. Quickly understanding the performance of the supply chains at handling and managing vaccines was crucial in the fight against COVID.
Reduce waste and increase sustainability
One of the biggest trends impacting supply chains has been the call for waste reduction and sustainability. It’s not just about minimising packaging; there is also an increasingly bright spotlight on ‘food miles’ and the carbon footprint of end-to-end logistics.
Tracknact was initially designed for the agricultural industry to address this problem. With our technology, farmers and producers can monitor their temperature-sensitive produce and make decisions about the supply in real-time ensuring that produce could reach the consumers in peak condition.
However, as interest in accountability and sustainability has grown across the logistics industry, in part due to pressures from consumers and government, the value from real-time monitoring of goods is having impact across many other sectors.
Future impacts on cold chain technology - what is next
Artificial intelligence and advanced modelling is helping to identify problems within supply chains before they happen. As the volume of reliable data increases and the technology becomes more ubiquitous, managers will be able to readily build redundancy into the logistic systems to reduce risk before it occurs.
For example, when Ever Given blocked the Suez Canal in March 2021 it disrupted supply chains across the globe causing massive impacts on supply agreements and delivery schedules. Some carriers considered sailing around the Cape of Good Hope to reduce the disruption, however adding significant cost to their shipments. Carriers that were leveraging AI based technologies were able to make quick and informed decisions on the impact of these different choices, enabling them to seek different customers and route options.
The rapid increase in data volumes and data sharing, thanks in part to the increase in cloud technology providers and IoT devices, will see a future where AI will assist more and more in modelling scenarios so decision-makers can make informed choices based on cost-benefit analysis undertaken in minutes, rather than days or weeks.
Internet of Things (IoT)
The cold chain monitoring technology from Tracknact was initially developed for the agriculture sector, however after only a few short trials it became clear that other industries would benefit from having a reliable, flexible and simple to use technology for monitoring both supply chains and cold storage facilities.
The rate of innovation is rapid, and as more technology comes to market the IoT will expand in its usefulness for many industries, for example by integrating more and more information from further up, and down, supply chains, increasing visibility on handling practices and helping to improve quality assurance.
How much IoT will drive change will depend on the needs of the logistics industry, and the appetite for change within governments, industry and early adopters of new technology.
You cannot discuss developing secure and reliable supply chains without addressing one of the most common and rapidly evolving threats – cyber-attacks. There have already been numerous examples of how cyber-attacks have impacted, and in some cases shutting down supply chains worldwide. As competition grows fiercer and fiercer the threat of cyber-attacks continues to increase, with the threat getting worse and worse as supply chains and national sovereignty become intertwined into political vehicles used to cause disruption and disadvantage competing nations. .
The value cold chain monitoring technologies provide industry will only continue to increase. Real transformation of industry and value in the use of the technology will be supported by greater sharing of data and information and increases in automation. Cybersecurity advances therefore play a critical role in protecting supply chains and maintaining competitive advantage.