How IoT assurance helps manage cold supply chain risks

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To keep up with the needs of consumers and shippers, the cold supply chain sector is constantly evolving. The suppliers of cold chain products had to acclimatize to the changing needs as people changed their consumption patterns.  

According to a report published on Allied Market Research, “The global cold chain logistics market is very vast, valued at USD 159 billion in 2018 and is expected to reach USD 585 billion by 2026, registering a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 17.9% from 2019 to 2026. 

Understanding the importance of cold supply chain management 

In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, the cold supply chain has become more relevant than ever as the vaccines that require stable refrigerated temperature are being transported around the globe to get to you in usable or unspoiled condition. 

According to IQVIA Institute for Human Data Science, “The pharmaceutical industry loses $35 billion a year due to failures in temperature-controlled logistics chains.” 

An efficacious cold supply chain ensures that temperature-sensitive products are kept within optimal temperature ranges and maintain the desired state from start to finish. 

While the cold chain is a logistics management process that involves performing a chain of tasks to prepare, store, and transport products along the cold supply chain, the quality of the shipment may be compromised if the cold chain shipment is not kept cold at every link of the chain, resulting in useless products. 

According to a report published on Supply Chain Dive, “Supply Chains cause 40% of food waste in North America, of which 14% is caused by handling and storage. 

To safeguard the products across the supply chain, it is imperative to have an ecosystem of Internet of Things (IoT) in the cold supply chain. 

IoT ecosystem in cold supply chain 

To drive down their operational costs and unlock the full competitive advantage, enterprises might think of assimilating IoT technologies with analytical and automation capabilities.  

While the concept of an IoT ecosystem is technology agnostic, the relevant technologies for this ecosystem in the cold supply chain tend to be cloud computing, blockchain, predictive analysis, and artificial intelligence (AI). 

Industry experts believe that compelling value could also be created by assimilating augmented reality, edge and quantum computing, and other technologies. 

Regardless of the technologies involved, all the elements of the IoT ecosystem amalgamate together to ensure the seamless flow of information to action. 

According to Earl Perkins, Research Vice President at Gartner, “The pace of innovation has generated requirements for millions of devices, most network (primarily wireless) connected in some capacity. Unfortunately, most of these devices have little or no protection at the software and infrastructure levels. 

Challenges afflicting Cold Supply Chain sector 

Since the handling of environmentally sensitive products requires close monitoring under prescribed conditions throughout the supply chain, it is essential to manage specific cold supply chain risks 

Few major challenges encountered in the cold supply chain sector are as follows: 

  • Difficulty in maintaining the specified range of temperature throughout the supply chain. 
  • Lack of understanding about cold supply chain best practices. 
  • Ensuring compliance with temperature requirements. 
  • Lack of effective security measures affecting supply chain’s auditability and integrity. 
  • Choosing the right equipment to preserve temperature sensitive products. 
  • Lack of visibility at the store level creating a blind spot for manufacturers. 
  • Distribution and delivery risks encountered in cold chains. 
  • Impact of increased regulations in cold supply chain management. 

Despite the obvious challenges, few life science enterprises have a fully integrated logistics network that incorporates the design, deployment, and quality assurance of cold supply chain strategies. 

By leveraging digital solutions like IoT with cold chain management, enterprises can expect higher revenues, reduced costs, and increased speed-to-market. 

Benefits of IoT Assurance in cold chain logistics 

The benefits of digital cold chain logistics technologies such as IoT have proven to add value to businesses. 

IoT can effectively be used to monitor cold chains in realtime and can send automatic alerts when something does not work as expected. 

Enterprises can leverage wireless temperature sensors for continuous temperature monitoring that can send an alert if the product in transit goes beyond the specified temperature range. 

Also, digital cold chain logistic solutions allow enterprises to document historical and real-time temperature in the cloud, allowing them to meet compliance standards.  

IoT cold chain management can help you address compliance requirements whether you need auditable data of the temperature of medicines, vaccines, or food. 

Leveraging GPS equipped IoT devices enables enterprises to continuously communicate with drivers and optimize routes. 

While the benefits of the usage of IoT enabled devices are huge in the cold supply chain sector, it is imperative to have a proper IoT assurance in place for seamless integration thereby enhancing business value. 

Mitigate risks with IoT Assurance to build a robust cold supply chain strategy 

IoT assurance plays an imperative role in mitigating risks and enabling build a robust cold supply chain strategy. 

According to a report published on Supply Chain Dive, “Cold storage facilities consume about $30 billion in power per day. This is why the supply chain industry and cold chain, in particular, is second on the list of IoT investors. 

To ensure quality of every product, the Supply Chain intelligence for Cold Chain quality assurance of every product must evolve to form an unbroken chain of traceability and monitoring throughout the entire life cycle. 

Few important use cases of IoT assurance in Cold Supply Chain sector include –  

  • Real-time product monitoring  IoT devices that enable real-time monitoring of cold chain products must go through a scaled IoT assurance to achieve better results. 
  • Risk assessment in personal occupational safety  It is mandated to ensure proper risk assessment in personal occupational safety for all IoT enabled devices. 
  • Wireless Sensor Network  All the wireless enabled IoT sensors should be monitored 24×7 to attain seamless process and fix any network lethargies as and when they occur. 
  • Seamless data exchange between sensors – IoT assurance will help create an environment for seamless data exchange between sensors thereby achieving faster time to market. 
  • Cloud database services  IoT assurance of all cloud database services is required to dutifully maintain logger data ensuring enhanced analytics and subsequently achieving customer experience assurance. 
  • Accurate Inventory Control  Wireless automated inventory tracking is less error-prone than standard methods. 

Eventually, for IoT solutions to release untapped potential, cold supply chains need to grasp the convergence of the IoT use cases. 

It is proven that cold supply chains can draw maximum benefit from IoT enabled devices, provided a streamlined IoT assurance is in place. 

Conclusion 

Enterprises are marching inexorably toward becoming digital businesses warranting efficiencies in productivity, cost savings, better customer experience, and other competitive advantages. 

The world is increasing the visibility and importance of cold chain management to transport the COVID-19 vaccine.  

Using an IoT solution built around several multipurpose sensors to monitor inventory reduces inventory inconsistency, improves product safety, and maximizes the ROI of temperature-controlled material shipment. 

Cigniti’s IoT assurance experts have in-depth experience in testing end-to-end logistics & transportation management software. Cigniti has a proven track record of establishing 100% test automation to several top ranked Fortune 500 third party logistics providers, ensuring a seamless user experience. 

Cigniti’s Test Center of Excellence (TCoE) has helped achieve vast benefits to customers involved in Supply Chain business, and the IoT assurance experts are well equipped to deliver heightened customer experience assurance across the cold supply chain sector. 

Are you looking out for managing your cold supply chain risks? Contact Cigniti’s IoT assurance experts and they will help you solve all your issues and will ensure your business attain higher ROI with superior quality. 

Author

  • Cigniti is a Global Leader in Independent Quality Engineering & Software Testing Services with offices in US, UK, India, Australia, and Canada.

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