Beyond Conventional Temperature Monitoring

For years, most organisations have relied on conventional temperature loggers to monitor the temperature of goods and products while in transit or in storage. However, conventional temperature monitoring comes with some built-in flaws. That is why many people are transitioning to using real-time temperature monitors.

This article will describe how real-time temperature monitors operate.

‌What Is Conventional Temperature Monitoring?

Conventional temperature monitoring is a means of tracking the temperature of food, pharmaceuticals, or any other product that needs to be kept within a certain temperature range during transport by means of electronic temperature loggers. Temperature monitoring preserves that the goods or products in the cold chain have always remained at a healthy temperature to mitigate risks to the consumer.

Pharmaceutical manufacturers, supermarkets, distributors, fleets, and refrigerated container (‘reefer’) operators all rely on temperature monitoring to assess the safety of perishable goods and products being shipped.

Typically, conventional temperature monitoring collects data on the temperature of a shipment and then generates a report on the temperature. However, depending on circumstances, the devices may not be able to share information as quickly as is needed, especially in the case of a temperature excursion.

What are Real-Time Temperature Monitors?

Real-time temperature monitors are increasingly popular with businesses. The technology allows different industries and supply chains from the pharmaceutical supply chain to the food cold chain to check in on the status of goods and products.

This is more important now than ever, amid the global effort to fight against COVID-19. The COVID-19 vaccine must be kept at the right temperature, and real-time temperature monitoring is a key tool for achieving that goal.

However, COVID-19 is not the only factor driving the need for more effective temperature monitors. Increased demand for perishable foods, like meat and dairy products, is also changing the market. Additionally, the pharmaceutical industry is seeing a dramatic uptick in demand for products that require cold chain monitoring solutions.

‌The Future of Cold Chain Management

The analysts at Grand View Research report the global cold chain monitoring market is expected to surpass $45 billion by the year 2025. That is a compound annual growth rate of a staggering 18.1%.

Experts say that growth is being fueled by greater demand for temperature-sensitive products like processed foods, frozen foods, dairy products, and pharmaceutical products. As the world’s population continues to move away from agricultural areas and into big cities, you can expect an even greater demand for safely shipping food over long distances.

All these products need to be continuously monitored for spoilage during transport to ensure cold chain compliance. This is where cold chain monitoring innovations like real-time temperature monitoring can deliver a major improvement, by ensuring shipments take place efficiently and quickly, with minimal downtime, and with all the relevant safety checks.

Challenges With Conventional Temperature Monitoring

Conventional temperature monitoring comes with some baked-in challenges. As the industry evolves, it seems likely that more businesses will transition to real-time temperature monitoring to bypass those challenges.

The process of data retrieval, for conventional temperature data loggers, is inconvenient. The system can retrieve data only at certain points, by executing a number of steps in succession:

      – Removing the recording device from the shipment‌

      – Uploading data to the computer

      – The receiver approving the shipment based on the logged temperature data

All of this leads to several challenges as follows:

Challenge 1 – Delay of Information

When using conventional temperature monitoring, the data from loggers are only retrieved at the end of the shipment. This means there is a delay between the time a temperature excursion occurs, and when it is detected. This delay can be long enough to create spoilage and thus loss of goods.

Challenge 2 – Manual Interaction Required

When using conventional temperature monitoring, a human must retrieve, upload, and analyze the data from the devices. This and staffing requirements place an additional burden on the cold chain companies.

In many cases, there is no guarantee of staff available to work with the temperature data loggers.

Challenge 3 – Skilled Human Labor Required to Interpret Data

Interpreting data requires skilled labor. However, the reality is that skilled labor may be scarce. The requirement to provide skilled human labor will likely increase logistics costs.

On the other hand, attempting to bypass this requirement by using unskilled labor may result in more human error.

Why Do You Need to Think Beyond Conventional Temperature Monitoring?

These challenges mentioned above can lead to some serious drawbacks. Below are a few potential issues.

Difficulty Determining Liability

Depending on the length of the supply chain, goods and products will change hands many times while in transit to their final destination. It is important to be able to identify the exact spot where the goods had a temperature excursion problem. This is because if the problem happened once, it is likely to happen again. Businesses can save a lot of capital if they can pinpoint the site where repeated problems are taking place.

Public Health and Human Error

Unfortunately, human errors are all too common. Human oversight can lead to a failure to download and process the conventional temperature monitoring device. If this happens, then goods may spoil during transit without anyone discovering the problem until it is too late.

This could potentially lead to a shipment of vaccines being rendered useless. It could also lead to a massive outbreak of food poisoning if perishable food is allowed to spoil or become contaminated.

For this reason, it is a good idea to look for a solution like real-time temperature monitoring, which does not rely on humans to be error-free.

Lost Profits

The pharmaceutical and food logistics industry are the two most prominent industries requiring cold chain logistics. Both industries are highly competitive and rely on a complex system of logistics to stay ahead. 

Cold chain failure due to compromised shipments is a major problem for both industries. Businesses also stand to see their insurance costs rise if they face ongoing temperature excursion claims.

Real-Time vs Near Real-Time

Continuous monitoring can happen in real-time or near real-time. Real-time can be achieved anywhere in the world where there is a cellular signal. The relatively novel IoT-focussed LTE-M cellular technology in particular is well suited for real-time tracking.

In the air and on the water, cellular communication is usually not possible so near real-time is the only option. As soon as the plane lands or the ship docs, recorded data automatically transmits.

‌Prediction

Real-time or near real-time monitoring is important. However, more can be done to help cold chain manufacturers and logistics players remain competitive.

Technologies like real-time monitoring can track the temperature of goods and the surrounding environment and predict if an excursion is likely to occur in the future.

Warnings and alerts are sent to allow logistics companies to intervene and correct the issue. High-quality systems are capable of fixing systemic issues in the supply chain. They are also capable of assigning liability for damages, so that problem spots can be pinpointed immediately, and resolved.

How Does Real-Time Temperature Monitoring Work?

RedLore’s real-time temperature monitoring solution makes use of cutting-edge sensor technology that takes away the potential for human error and delivers information in real-time, around the world.

The temperature sensors are added to the shipments at the point of origin. From that point on, they detect movement and temperature, tracking location and delivery time.

Users don’t need any additional infrastructure to receive reports on their shipments. They also don’t need skilled staff on hand to download and read data. The sensors automatically send insights to the dashboard. Users will be able to see visualizations and share them via enterprise systems.

Want to learn more about how RedLore’s system can take your business to the next level? Visit us today to get started.