Report: IoT sensors boost cold chain investments

September 8, 2016
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Dive Brief:

  • Real-time monitoring and Internet of Things technologies yield the highest return on investments for high-value goods like vaccines or commodities with high loss rates, a Lux Research report says. 
  • The new technologies employ multiple sensors to help connect warehouses and distribution, providing multiple data points for analysis and making logistics safer and more efficient.
  • Implementation of the technology should be tailored according to loss rates and product value: computer chip makers, for example, should use temperature indicators when loss rate is below 0.4%; loggers when it is below 18%; continuous monitors below 33% and multi-attribute monitors when loss exceeds that.

Dive Insight:

Hardly any company requiring temperature-controlled transport can boast full control of their cold chain, yet complications within this process can result in millions of dollars in losses. Real-time monitoring platforms can help avert problems before damage occurs.

Problems typically occur at hand-off: Temperature “excursions” account for 80% of supply chain problems, often damaging food products, pharmaceuticals, and flowers, according to the report. Trucks are the most problematic form of transport — at warm temperatures, microorganisms can destroy beef, which is valued at $100,000 per truck, according to the report. 

Few companies currently use a real-time monitoring system and instead use temperature indicators and data loggers to meet compliance, Lux says. More advanced systems, however, can catch more problems and improve product-loss rates.


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