The third major area of the cold chain operating structure is management practices. This includes monitoring, reporting, validating and follow-up. With the availability of current technology, it is not uncommon to generate millions of data points as part of the reporting process. However, perhaps the most important issue to consider is what to do with all the data.
How can the data be converted to useful work flows and more importantly, used as performance measures? How are reported exceptions converted into processes for action? Furthermore, how is the data used to predict when a problem is developing before it occurs, thus mitigating product spoils and the resulting cost impacts?
Other areas should also be addressed in a company’s cold chain tactics, such as training, third party audits, selection of technology enablers, supplier and vendor performance, etc. However, the areas addressed above provide a good initial platform to consider in the development of required cold chain tactical practices. Without sound execution of these and other fundamental cold chain management practices, the foundation on which to build innovative cold chain strategies is not present. Once the fundamentals are properly executed, the integration and cold chain optimization strategies enabled by technology can take cold chain operators to entirely new levels of innovation.
Starting in fall 2011, the Georgia Tech Supply Chain & Logistics Institute will offer a Cold Chain Management Certificate. To learn more, contact Carole Bennett at firstname.lastname@example.org.