Sustainable Supply Chain Logistics Powered by Sensor Technology

Inefficiency in the supply chains for temperature-sensitive goods has been leading to enormous amounts of waste in resources, both environmental and financial. If there is any failure or even a short-term glitch in the temperature system, the goods (foods, meats, dairy, pharmaceutical etc.) thaw or become exposed to temperatures outside the recommended range, and end up contaminated and wasted.

The scale of the problem is staggering. For instance, between 30% and 40% of the entire US food supply is wasted every year. USDA Economic Research Service estimates, 31% of this loss occurs at the retailer or consumer level. Another 40% occurs further up the supply chain. 

Environmental Impact

Inefficiencies in the supply chain not only have serious economic but also environmental consequences. The carbon footprint alone of food produced and not eaten is estimated to be 3.3 Gtonnes of CO2 equivalent. To put the figure in perspective, food loss and waste would rank as the third top GHG emitter after USA and China if it were a country.

Food waste has wide-reaching effects from one end of the supply chain to the other:

  • Farmers lose income on foods they can’t sell
  • Fuel is wasted transporting food that spoils as it travels
  • Retailers experience significant losses on unsold items

Bottom line, both quality and compliance are compromised in absence of an effective way to maintain and record temperatures in cold chain logistics. 

Weak Links in the Cold Chain

  • Hand-logged reporting for temperature monitoring: The biggest challenge with  manual temperature logging is that the process is prone to errors. Inaccurate, hurried or missed records, imaginary readings quickly jotted down to fill in for missed readings, are all common practices and if logs go unchecked, can lead to spoiled products.  
  • Complex web of interrelatedness: There are multiple nodes and parties responsible for moving products from one place to another - each party may have its own recordkeeping system that might or might not be consistent with the other stakeholders.   
  • Lack of real time monitoring: Once on the road, the food and pharmaceutical goods cannot be monitored at all times, making it impossible to ensure early detection of any system breakdown

Thermosense: TraceSafe’s turnkey IoT Solution for a sustainable supply chain

IoT is bringing new innovations to the cold chain industry which will allow for improvements in accuracy and sustainability. By implementing new procedures and programs and taking advantage of technological advances, IoT solutions like Thermosense can help achieve  USDA’s proposed goal of a 50% reduction in nationwide food waste by 2030. 

Thermosense is a powerful system of data mapping sensors and a convenient mobile app that shares an instant update on the product’s journey and temperature conditions on-the-go. Using this turnkey solution, companies can solve many challenges that lead to unsustainable supply chain logistics for temperature-sensitive goods. 

Some of the key benefits of solutions are:

  • Easier and efficient logging: It is significantly more convenient to have an IoT enabled temperature controlled supply chain. It completely eliminates manual logging as it can all be automated with the right combination of hardware and software system
  • Real-Time Risk Management: In case there are issues with any unit in the cold stream (such as refrigerators starting to fail), drivers will receive alerts so that they may take necessary steps immediately. Managers can also follow the movement of the products and predict their arrival time with location tracking.
  • Higher Accuracy: With near 100% accuracy, it’s possible to identify shipments which have exceeded or fallen below their recommended temperatures.  
  • Inexpensive Deployment: With technology partners like TraceSafe, companies can use an easy-to-use, and easy-to-implement solution like Thermosense, that pays for itself as personnel will spend less time manually checking and recording temperatures. With battery life designed to last years after purchase, there are virtually no maintenance costs involved. 
  • Compliance and Quality Assurance: There is mounting pressure on organizations to report and conduct sustainable practices in operations. With a data driven automated solution, companies can instantly measure and reduce their carbon impact and comply with regulations across regions.

It's also worth noting that digitalization of the cold chain won’t just make it sustainable, but also help businesses drive their own profitability by improving processes and efficiencies. It is the perfect case of a sustainable solution that directly benefits the bottom line. To know how TraceSafe’s Thermosense can help create sustainable digital transformation of your supply chain, get in touch with our team now.