In regards to the food industry, there is a rising need for longer product shelf life, a consumer demand for the freshest offerings, and a growing desire to know exactly where food came from. The Food Safety Modernisation Act requires suppliers to provide more and more transparency which in turn requires monitoring of every product from the moment it is packed until it reaches the consumer’s plate.
Food items such as seafood, frozen food, fruits, meat, and dairy products have a low shelf life and require specific temperature, delivery duration and conditions to prevent decay. These shipments, including expensive medical supplies such as vaccines, will be irreversibly damaged when exposed to drastic temperatures changes or when exceeding temperature limitations. Therefore shipping in cold chain requires a level of transparency that matches the ever-growing demands of the industry.
Preserving and protecting sensitive supplies such as food, pharmaceuticals, and medical products from overcoming irreversible changes is not an easy task. Due to longer supply chains and rising international demand, it is becoming increasingly difficult for suppliers to monitor shipments from dispatch to delivery. Tracking shipments through multiple carriers, countries and handovers are very real challenges faced by those in the industry. Each year, billions of tons of fresh food products and millions of dollars’ worth of U.S. exports are lost due to poor cold chain systems in developing markets.
Innovations in pharma and biopharma have brought great changes in the industry. According to Constantin Blome professor of operations management at the University of Sussex “supply chains are increasingly stressed by demand variability and lower margins”. Networks must now adapt to this new trend and instead of large upfront investments designed to cope with peak volumes, new product launches will require supply chains to be rapidly adjusted as licenses change. With over $250 billion of annual biopharma sales dependant on cold chain logistics (3) these systems will have to reach new levels of agility and responsiveness and react to rapid changes.