Five Reasons You Should Use Time-Temperature Indicators for Cold Chain Management
Supply chain management is a rough affair on its own but becomes further complicated when supplies that require refrigeration are involved.
15:12 07 January 2021
If you run a business that deals with anything cold, you already know about managing cold chain supply. Like standard supply chain management, cold chain supply comes with inherent challenges like transportation and proper distribution. Temperature variances are perhaps the most pressing concern, as most cold food products require a consistent temperature to prevent spoilage or product damage. The same idea extends to non-food goods requiring cold temperatures (such as medicine, a vital vaccine, or specific compounds). A simple tool known as a time-temperature indicator (TTI) can help you avoid losing money or damaging goods due to temperature regulation problems. A TTI is a handy device that can mean the difference between a cool delivery or being left out in the cold. Here’s why you need to add one of these devices to your supply chain arsenal today:
Time-temperature indicators are easy to use
Managing a cold supply chain is a daunting task in the best of times. In today’s tumultuous world, it can be a bit of a nightmare. Fortunately, TTI’s help such matters on two fronts: they simplify monitoring temps, and they are easy to use. Though they come in many forms and designs, all TTI’s serve the same vital function: logging the entire temperature history of a product while in transit (not to be confused with a temperature data logger, which only records the temperatures in a specific time frame).
TTI’s are easy to use for simple measurement and providing irreversible temperature readings. The single-use label indicator variety is instrumental in this regard. The time-temperature indicator typically needs some type of calibration in a cold environment before use. Then it’s merely a matter of “arming” it by pulling an activation tab and placing it upon the product you wish to monitor.
They have different temperature sensitivity ranges.
Temperature variation can be a significant problem along the cold supply chain. What leads to a temperature variation in the first place? It can be challenging to quantify. Warehouse employees who may not understand cold chain requirements might store something improperly. Extended storage periods can lead to problems, too. Products may be affected by temperature variations in storage. With so much at stake, having access to a range of temperature sensitivity and monitoring is vital.
Time Temperature Indicators are quite versatile, with a diverse range of temperature sensitivity. The most effective TTI’s have a wide range of temperature sensitivity indicators for all steps of the transport process, typically between 0°F/-18°C up to 99°F/37°C. These ranges combine with different run out times to indicate whether a particular product is damaged or not, giving cold chain managers an accurate tool for measuring temperature throughout the process.
They’re remarkably cost-effective.
Temperature fluctuations or abuse can mean the difference between a successful delivery and a costly affair. If meat or other perishable groceries, for example, are temperature-damaged during transit, then the products are not able to be distributed or sold. The inability to distribute and sell these products leads to financial losses for everyone along the supply chain. A similar issue can occur with medicine, vaccines, and temperature-controlled pharmaceuticals. They may lose their efficiency or useful properties, on top of the cost associated with damaging them.
Using a robust, single-use temperature indicator can mitigate or prevent these losses while saving money over time. They can be armed in the field, eliminating the need for special storage considerations while creating a cost-effective solution for the last-mile of delivery. Securing this vital step of the process is worth the cost of admission alone. If that weren’t enough, TTI’s work as effective anti-counterfeit measures reduces waste and features tamper-proof designs.
They help you meet regulations and guidelines.
As with anything in the realm of food or medical supplies, cold chain supply operates under its own set of regulations and guidelines. Time-temperature indicators are an invaluable tool for adhering to these standards. TTI’s assist in verifying cold chain packaging’s adequacy while giving managers a full range of information about the products’ transportation. Because checking and maintaining temperatures consistently is one of the top priorities of cold chain management, TTI’s effectively become the most critical tool in cold chain management. With these valuable devices on hand, it’s easier to monitor and prevent compromised products from causing headaches down the line.
They help you make quick decisions.
Using an industrial temperature indicator can help warehouse or supply chain managers take fast, decisive on verifying a product’s status. Let’s say a temperature fluctuation occurs during transit or on the dock while transferring cargo from one truck to the next. In a situation such as this, the TTI can flag any possible issues and notify the next transportation professional in the chain. That individual can then determine the product’s status and whether it’s still safe to use and viable to continue transporting. A single-use indicator can give the end-user—whether it’s a doctor or food supplier—all the information they need to make an informed decision about the product’s safety based on storage throughout the cold chain transportation process.