Temperature-sensitive cargo: How the right tech sets you up for success

From groceries to medicines, it’s vital to get your temperature-controlled deliveries right. Regulatory compliance, quality assurance, and health and safety all depend on it. Not to mention end customer satisfaction, in which it also plays a key role.

Here, we’ll explore the fundamentals of temperature-controlled logistics and their importance for key sectors. We’ll then dive deeper into the delivery stage, outlining what to look for in a quality temperature-controlled logistics setup.

Temperature-controlled logistics explained

Many products are affected by temperature changes — we’ll explore a range of them below. This means they need to be kept at the right temperature during storage and shipping. Temperature-controlled logistics enable this to happen, including at the last mile stage.

You might have heard temperature-controlled logistics referred to as cold chain logistics. However, the scope is wider than just keeping products cool. While many require refrigeration, some goods can’t handle lower temperatures. As a result, they also need temperature-controlled logistics to keep them warm and high-quality.

Why is temperature-controlled logistics important?

From health and safety to customer experience, temperature control matters. Maintaining the right temperature on the road is also essential for efficiency, ensuring goods don’t spoil and go to waste during the last mile. As a result, it’s top of mind for a range of delivery sectors, a few of which we’ve detailed here:

Fruit and vegetables, dairy, meat and seafood

Most of our customers are in the grocery retail or meal kit segment. So we know that food supply chains are some of the most complex to get right. Perishable products have a time-sensitive shelf life, which every stage of the chain might affect. Temperature-controlled logistics help guarantee product quality during the final delivery phase. Keeping temperatures low means the bacteria that cause food to spoil grow more slowly. This maximises shelf life, to ensure produce gets to end customers in quality condition: safe and delicious to eat.

Medicines

Temperature control is essential to ensure medicine’s quality and effectiveness. Take vaccines, for example. During transport, they need to be kept within a restricted temperature range. Otherwise, they can permanently lose life-saving effectiveness. Temperature-controlled logistics are also essential for everyday items. These include insulins, antibiotic liquids, injections, eye drops and certain medicated creams.

Cut flowers

To keep bouquets looking fresh and attractive for as long as possible, temperature matters. If cut flowers are in environments that are too hot or too cold, it’ll affect their quality. And the damage can be done even if they’re outside temperature control for just a short time.

Luxury groceries and occasions

In this sector, the emphasis is more on outstanding experience than health and safety. Ensuring sparkling wine arrives chilled, for example, ready to pop right away. For catering deliveries, temperature control spans both experience and food safety. Platters need to arrive ready to eat for an occasion, whether it’s a conference or a birthday. For quality customer experience and quality-assured items.

Ultimately, guaranteed temperature-controlled logistics give you peace of mind as a supplier. By working with the right partner, you’ll know consistency will be maintained in the last mile, all the way to a contented customer’s door.

Quality temperature-controlled logistics: What’s involved in delivery?

Storage, transportation and delivery all feature in a temperature-controlled logistics chain. You’ll need adapted delivery vehicles with inbuilt temperature control capabilities. Cooling units are the most common option.

Temperature sensors also need to be installed per vehicle, to track their status en route. Positively, temperature sensors are increasingly affordable and not too complicated to install. For many, you can connect them via Bluetooth and you’re good to go.

Now, let’s dive into the tech solution side of things. Here’s what you’ll need to keep temperatures stable during delivery:

1. A platform to monitor and store temperature data

To utilise your temperature tracking data, you’ll need to link your sensors to your logistics platform. This ensures you have easy access to, and ownership of, your sensor data. You can easily spot anomalies, fix them rapidly, and pre-empt them in future. Plus, saving historical temperature data per route helps guarantee your quality assurance.

Working with our preferred temperature sensor providers, we’ve integrated live temperature tracking into our delivery platform. You can track parcel temperatures per route, ensuring consistency and quality. Full transparency, for both you and your end customers.

2. Route-specific temperature tracking

Your sensors shouldn’t just be linked to specific cars. For real traceability, they also need to be linked to specific routes (and therefore orders). This simplifies resolving any temperature-related customer complaints. You can easily search the order number and pinpoint any temperature control anomalies.

A timeline view will show you what went wrong, when and where. You can explain, reassure them and offer informed advice. If you’re working with a platform that integrates your sensor data, that can all happen while you’re on the phone with the customer. No need to submit a claim for a colleague to seek out answers in a separate system!

3. Real-time updates and alerts

An overview of all your active vehicles tracks live temperatures and easily identifies deviations. If these do occur, your driver and/or logistics team needs to be alerted to set things right.

Your driver could get a notification via their delivery app. They’ll then check the vehicle’s temperature-controlled storage for a quick fix en route. If your logistics team is notified, they’d centrally coordinate contacting the driver to stabilise the temperature.

4. Easy-to-use system

Logging your sensor data should be automatic — not another task for your drivers. Tracking should start when they start their route, so it’s an easy, seamless process.

Accessing and using temperature sensor data should also be simple for other relevant teams. Logistics, customer support and quality assurance, for example. All these teams need live and historical sensor data to optimise their roles. Responding as situations arise, and learning from historical data to ensure smooth future deliveries.

Quality assurance means satisfied customers

Quality temperature sensors alone aren’t enough. You also need an accessible, user-friendly platform to store and monitor your vehicle temperature data. Combining these elements, your drivers will be able to (proactively) address any anomalies. You’ll be able to provide data logs for delivery quality assurance. And you’ll be able to optimise customer satisfaction. Not just with temperature-perfect deliveries but also with informed, rapid responses to any complaints.

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