Top 3 Cold Chain Management Risks and How to Prevent Them

An employee checking the product temperature in a cold storage warehouse.

The vulnerabilities in our supply chains have been top of mind due to pandemic disruptions, leaving many U.S.-based companies with international supply chains scrambling to adjust their practices and engage new vendors.

Cold chain management has been especially vulnerable, as it contains additional risks that must be addressed and mitigated. Cold chains can fail at multiple points, which damages not only your bottom line but can have a negative impact on consumer safety. 

It’s estimated that up to one-third of all food produced for human consumption is lost to spoilage at various points in the supply chain. Additionally, maintaining a reliable, temperature-controlled chain is vital to ensuring the safe delivery of life-saving medical treatments, from insulin to vaccines.  

Here are the top three cold chain management risks you should be aware of – and how to prevent them. 

Top Three Cold Chain Management Risks

1.Lack of Uniform Standards and Protocols

Even if your cold supply chain extends no further than national borders, the technology, infrastructure and standards of the various companies you rely on to warehouse and transport your goods will be different. Not every company keeps up with necessary maintenance or makes ongoing investments in the quality of their transportation fleet or storage facilities. Too many companies simply skate by with the bare minimum, and it’s your business that suffers. 

The advantage to choosing a single company like Classic Carriers for your cold chain storage and transportation needs is that you can count on the same standards being applied throughout the movement of your goods. Whether they are in the warehouse or over the road, the same team with the same training is overseeing your cold chain management. 

2. Equipment Failures

Maintaining a strong cold supply chain requires that every piece of cold storage and transportation equipment at every point in the process functions properly. It can be tempting for some companies to put off maintenance or new equipment investments until tragedy strikes. This isn’t a proactive way to run a business. 

Classic Carriers maintains a modern fleet of trucks, and we are continually making investments in our cold storage capabilities, ensuring that the newest, most state-of-the-art facilities are available to our customers. 

3. Human Error Caused by Inexperience or Poor Training

Mistakes happen. But they are much more likely to happen when relying on staff without sufficient training, or staff that are negligent when it comes to compliance. Damage can occur through both poor handling of shipments and containers as well as unreliable drivers. Warehouse staff and drivers alike can make poor decisions, such as leaving open refrigerator doors, not adhering to regular temperature checks, making simple errors on paperwork, and much more. 

The theft of products is also a concern – often related to the same poor labor standards and practices above. While hijacks and other third-party theft can happen, the root of many of these incidents can be traced back to inside information leaks and assistance given to these parties. 

At Classic Carriers, we take pride in the selective hiring and training of all of our employees. Our drivers and warehouse staff are held to the highest standard. We provide a comprehensive driving program for trainee drivers and ensure all of our employees receive a detailed onboarding and training period. 

How much do you know about the standards of other cold chain logistics companies? 

How to Evaluate a Cold Chain Logistics Company

The risks detailed above are just the most common ones that could threaten your cold storage supply chain. There are numerous other complications that can arise. However, by asking a few key questions, you may be able to spot red flags that save you a lot of time and expense in the long run. 

Here are some questions to ask when you evaluate cold chain logistics companies

  1. How long have you been providing cold storage solutions? Ensure the company has a strong track record of warehousing and transportation logistics. Don’t get fooled by those fly-by-night companies that charge too-good-to-be-true rates. Often, you end up paying more in the long run with spoiled shipments and missed transport deadlines. 
  2. What was the most recent investment you made in your equipment? This will give you an idea of how often the company completes major maintenance, and also tell you if they feel confident enough to invest in new technologies and warehousing space. 
  3. What’s your turnover rate? Companies like Classic Carriers have a driver turnover rate of less than 30% – which is a big deal in this industry. Less employee turnover means more seasoned, qualified employees who can be counted on to deliver your shipments safely – and on time. 

A Cold Chain Logistics Company You Can Count On

Classic Carriers has 35+ years of experience in the trucking industry, which includes refrigerated transportation across the U.S. and cold storage warehousing in west-central Ohio and east-central Indiana. 

Contact us to get a quote started today >>