The Benefits of IoT in the Cold Chain

The cold chain is a supply chain in which the temperature of the products must be controlled. Cold chains are commonly associated with the pharmaceutical and food industries. Food losses are astronomical, largely due to cold chain problems.

The cold chain is big business and the stakes are high. The implications of a poorly maintained and supervised cold chain go far beyond monetary losses. Foods or medications that are unknowingly outside temperature tolerances can pose a hidden risk. They can become contaminated with bacteria even if they are not visibly spoiled. After reaching the hands of a consumer or patient, these contaminated products can cause serious illness or even death.

For this reason, pharmaceutical and food companies do their best to establish cold chains that are rigorously managed and traced.

So what role does IoT play in improving cold chain safety and efficiency? An obvious contribution lies in the temperature control sensors. These relatively small GPS / GSM enabled sensors can be placed on a pallet or box. They provide live temperature readings throughout the journey from one end to the other.

At the very least, real-time temperature tracking of products enables cold chain managers to identify shipments that have fallen outside of temperature tolerances for a period long enough to be considered spoiled. Those goods can be withdrawn from the supply chain once they reach an intermediate point or final destination and destroyed before causing harm to a consumer.

Better yet, by receiving timely alerts about out-of-tolerance temperatures, a cold chain manager can quickly initiate corrective actions that prevent spoilage entirely.

A digital supply chain solution, which uses predictive analytics, can anticipate a shipment’s scheduled route to identify problems before they occur. By plotting the predicted temperature along the predicted location of a transportation mode over time, a digital supply chain solution can highlight shipments at risk even before they leave.

A digital supply chain solution could also suggest a change to a route, where the expected temperatures are more favorable than the original route.

With you can collect the data from your sensors (we are agnostic to HW) and customize the application to monitor your KPIs  and add the BI needed to take the right actions and decisions for your business.