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Ways To Improve Your Cold Storage Supply Chain

Joe Dickman | November 9th, 2020

When the cargo that you are carrying can mean the difference between life and death, all safety measures must be properly followed. Even in less world-altering situations, it is still important to maintain the integrity of the shipment every mile of the journey. Here are four ways to improve your cold storage supply chain.

Relationships With Carriers

The relationships that you build with your carriers could eventually become the deciding factor in how successful your company ends up. In the case of cold storage, this is especially important because you are forced to rely on them to get your shipment delivered within safe parameters. Because of the lack of control of your product during much of this stage, you want to know that you can trust the carrier.

There are many metrics that you can use when deciding on a carrier. These include on-time delivery percentage, equipment downtime statistics, and back-up plans in the event of failures. All of these will give you an idea of the quality of the carrier. Though it may be tempting to choose the carrier offering the lowest prices, that decision could come back to haunt you if anything goes wrong during transit. You want a company you can rely on, and that often means paying a little more for the service.

This is where having an established third-party logistics company can come in handy. They are often equipped to handle any emergencies in the supply chain. You can take advantage of their experience, resources, and connections within the shipping community to get your cold storage product shipped. Being able to offload some of the responsibility for carrier selection can help ease the stresses that come with shipping products that must remain temperature-controlled.

Process Integrity

It cannot be overstated how important it is to create a process that you stick with for all of your shipments that rely on cold storage supply chains to reach their destinations. The biggest benefit of this is the added security that comes from everybody being aware of the procedures. The more people who are aware of the proper process, the less chance there will be for an outside party to mess it up.

One part of having a system means constant audits to ensure that it is being followed properly. You should run regular checks of your process to make sure everything is being done to the standards that you have set for the company. Part of these audits should include oversight of the storage facilities, vehicles used for transportation, and running background checks on the people who will be transporting the product, especially if your product is in the medical field. There should be consequences for those found breaking protocol, just as there should be recognition in place for following the process completely.

You should also use these audits as an opportunity to look for ways to improve the process. Being hands-on and involved throughout the process could lead you to find a better way to complete a task. Don’t be afraid to listen to the people who are working on the projects as well. You can never know where the next great idea or efficiency might come from. Remember that just because an idea doesn’t come from the usual sources doesn’t make it any less likely to work.

Storage Needs

The storage of cold products might be the most challenging step in the shipping process. While it is necessary to ensure the proper distribution of your product, it can still be very worrisome to not be in control of your own product. When looking for a storage facility, one thing that you want to ensure is that the location has all the proper certifications and can store your specific product. This is another case where companies producing medical products can mean more stringent requirements to follow for shipping.

Though not a requirement, one way to ease concerns is to choose a storage solution that allows temperature checks without going into the freezer to check conditions. The use of these tools lets you check the temperature of your products wherever you might be while giving the workers in the facility the ability to perform routine checks without having to go into the freezer. Apart from the added security that this offers, it can protect product integrity to be able to log temperatures without the need to open the door and let cold air escape or let warm air in.

There are several features that you should look for when selecting a storage site. Some of these options include round-the-clock monitoring of the facility, action plans for emergencies, and the quality of the equipment that they use to move and store your product. You will also want to secure against the possibility of cross-contamination between products that shouldn’t be mixed.


The last of the ways to improve your cold storage supply chain is to focus on the transportation aspect of your product. If you did choose to make use of a third-party logistics provider, they can help update your shipping to the newest standards and find potential inefficiencies in your supply chain that can be overcome.

You also have the option of handling your shipping and delivery internally, depending on the size of your operation. While it may not be practical for a frozen dessert producer to deliver their product to each grocery store personally, a flower delivery company can make great use of refrigerated vehicles to do the job themselves. Just like with the storage facilities, it can help to be able to log temperatures without letting in outside air, so look for tools that allow you to do this.

If you do decide to handle transportation on your own, some of the steps you should take to preserve your product include pre-cooling the trailers and regular inspections of the vehicle’s cooling system. Both of these steps will help maintain product temperature when it could be at the most vulnerable. For the same reason, you should also have regular maintenance performed on the vehicles to ensure that they are running at peak efficiency.

Whatever your business, there are many ways that your company can improve your cold storage supply chain. Emerald Transportation Solutions is here to help with our huge selection of delivery vehicles. With options ranging from a small refrigerated truck and vans all the way up to trucks capable of hauling 15,000 lbs, we are sure to have the perfect vehicle option for your business.

Ways To Improve Your Cold Storage Supply Chain

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What does under DOT mean?

Questions regarding DOT requirements come up often. 10,000 lbs GVW (gross vehicle weight) and over are commercial vehicles that fall under the Department of Transportation regulatory requirements.

What is the difference between GVW and payload?

GVW or Gross Vehicle Weight is the entire weight of the vehicle including the payload. The payload weight represents the amount of cargo you are hauling.

What is a self-powered unit and a vehicle-powered unit?

A self-powered unit has its own fuel source and will run independent of the truck. This is the heaviest and most expensive option. While vehicle-powered units run off the engine via a compressor mounted on the engine. These are less expensive and lighter in weight but you must run the truck or plug the electric standby into shore power.

What does K-factor mean and why is that important?

K-factor is a term that stands for the overall insulating value of the container (truck body). Quite simply the lower the K-factor the better the truck body will be able to maintain a given temperature and require less energy to do so.

How much lighter is a Poly Van vs a US spec body?

Poly Van bodies are very light. On average we estimate we are 75-150 lbs per foot lighter than a traditional sheet and post foamed in place body. These weight savings translates to less fuel burn and less CO2 emissions, along with added payload, the most important benefit.

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