Cold Supply Chain networks are at the core of food and pharma supply chains and are vital in ensuring optimal temperature-controlled environments are provided during the storage and movement of these goods. While the cold supply chain in the country has been developing at a steady rate, with a good deal of tech adoption in the past few years, there are still a lot of challenges which needs to addressed so as to make it more effective and seamless.
For starters, lack of real time update or regular monitoring of the temperature, which are the basics for an efficient cold chain infrastructure, remains as major challenge. A lot of inefficiencies are also related to factors like disrupted, unorganised cold chain managed by unskilled staff, temperature fluctuations, and lack of transparency. Even with tech adoption, most of it may be done sporadically, like only installing a stock WMS for cold storage, is failing to enhance the effectiveness as it is not accurately integrated with the rest of the cold chain network, especially during the transportation and handling.
As a result of these inefficiencies, every year, up to 40% of the food we produce is rendered inedible due to inappropriate storage and handling issues. Moreover, the Associated Chamber of Commerce suggests that our post-harvest losses amount to a whopping $14bn! This has a direct impact on the income of our farmers, a majority of whom are already struggling to make ends meet. Apart from perishable food, the pharma industry is another crucial sector who’s smooth functioning is dependent on an efficient cold supply chain network. From storage and transport to last mile of vaccines, life-saving drugs, and other pharma raw materials that are critical to the sector, need a robust and well managed cold supply chain network.
Tech adoption in general, and Software as a Service (SaaS) platforms in particular, can help integrate the supply chain networks and iron out most of the inefficiencies of the cold supply chain, when implemented through the right expert. Some of the key solutions that SaaS adoption can provide for Cold Supply Chain, include:
- Transparency: SaaS platforms on cloud help create end to end visibility of the entire cold chain, making it possible to track the shipment in real time. With 360° visibility, KPIs such as LIVE temperature, location, inventory management, capacity utilisation, driving speed, and idling times can all be monitored. This information transparency ensures optimum allocation of consignments, maximises capacity utilisation, and enhances cargo security.
- Accountability: With transparent and timely updates, it is easier to build accountability and thus efficiency, by round the clock monitoring and rectifying errors or overcoming loopholes almost as soon as they are discovered. Apart from building accountability, this also goes a long way in creating a uniform and consistent integration of various aspects of the cold chain network with the system.
- Real Time Updates: Temperature, location and humidity readings can all be recorded and tracked in real time by connecting smart sensors and GPS trackers. These sensors can be synced with analytical dashboards, which could send alerts of any risk, optimise routes to minimise delivery time and perform a variety of other functions.
- Optimized supply chain: Through effectively leveraging SaaS enabled platforms, Cold Supply Chain networks can integrate series of IoT solutions into cold supply chains, helping logistics companies to consistently stay on top of every step in the storage and transportation processes, catalysing significant cost-optimising benefits. Fleet managers could analyse and even toggle temperature settings on the go, accommodate for local climate changes, and unforeseen delays. Most importantly, these solutions minimise human error and enable managers to take action on potential issues before they turn into major catastrophes.
- Cost optimisation: By adopting SaaS based tech enabled solutions for cold supply chain networks, logistic service providers can not only profit through the increased operational efficiencies but also enjoy the perks of some of the best tech innovations at a subsidized price, that can eventually help improve profit margins. Further, with reduced errors and accidents, the liabilities and thus penalties etc. are also largely reduced, making the process both operationally and economically rewarding.
- Enhanced Customer experience: Lastly, the tech enabled and optimized cold supply chain network, with its real time updates and transparent flow of information, goes a long way in enhancing customer experience and thus helping build long term business relationships, and more revenue. These also help build better collaborations within the business ecosystem, with vendors, peers and investors etc., all of whom can now see the value brought to the table
Wrapping up, while tech adoption at large as been a buzz work for logistics and cold supply chains, leveraging the right tech solution for holistic problem solving is key to ensure maximum optimisation. And SaaS seems to be one such tech solution that provides not only operational and cost efficiencies but also a seamless integration of various aspects of the cold chain, which otherwise have been left functioning in silos, leading the current challenges. Effective, SaaS enabled Cold Supply Chains have the power to transform the future of Food and Pharma cold chains, making them some of the most robust and effective logistic networks across the globe