Digital Transformation in the Cold Supply Chain using IoT

Cold Supply Chain organizations continue to lose millions because of spoilage from temperature fluctuations and potential hazards for consumers and subsequent regulatory actions.

The organizations produce the majority of biologics products, which are highly sensitive to storage conditions. Temperature monitoring must be done by following cold chain processes, whether they are in storage or in transit.

Biological products have a large proportion of shorter shelf lives and carry strict temperature requirements.

Understanding IoT

The IoT signifies smart devices connected through sensors and the Internet that performs tasks and exchange real-time data. The IoT application, such as cold chain monitoring, resources (man and machine) tracking, packaging, and warehouse management, is very much suited to cold supply chain management.

The IoT can help manage supply chains, improve services, and products, so industries have a compelling opportunity to adopt and profit from the IoT, the game-changing technology.

The rapid expansion of IoT devices provides enough potential to organizations by harnessing and using data collected through smart devices in the supply chain lifecycle]. IoT is defined as a network of uniquely identifiable endpoints or things that communicate without human interaction using IP. connectivity, whether locally or globally.

The IoT is also defined as the extended development of internet services to consider smart objects that exist. Supply chain integration is critical for improving business performances and can be achieved through cost reduction, improving responsiveness, increasing service level, and streamlining organizations’ decision-making processes.

The IoT has a significant role in the warehousing and distribution cycle of the supply chain. Smart objects are connected to the Internet using their communication protocol and are continuously collecting and processing the data. The role of IoT mostly starts from manufacturing for shop floor visibility and then moves to the warehouse for real-time inventory visibility, and then finally during distribution toward higher fleet management for real-time cold chain processes.

IoT solutions can help cold chain organizations remotely monitor cold chain environments in real-time by embedding sensors on tracking equipment using smartphones and tablets. IoT models can provide information, such as (a) product carrier information, (b) continuous monitoring using sensors, (c) location tracking using GPS, and (d) regular and urgent notifications containing carrier temperatures, humidity, and location information with a timestamp.

A smart manufacturing factory’s communication system comprises a wireless sensor network for connecting the sensor module and gateway, and then the sensor and sensor module is distributed to the necessary position in the factory. Smart equipment using IoT solutions collects operational data and status, allows visibility across equipment, and real-time dynamic scheduling of shop floor activities.

The solution helps in reducing equipment downtime, and the utilization rate improves. Sensors can also help collect metadata to identify and reduce process variability and improve production yield to enhance productivity, efficiencies, and cycle time.

The warehouse is an important area for the cold chain industry. The business managers manage many storage facilities globally to ensure a continuous and timely supply of their products in a cost-efficient manner. Real-time visibility and three-dimensional view of warehouse operations allow warehouse managers (a) monitor and track the storage of sensitive products in controlled zones, (b) track inventory of finished goods, and (c) identify problem areas and assign resources to deal with issues requiring human interventions.


IoT is an enabler to spur growth within cold supply chain organizations. These organizations are more reactive than proactive in technology adoption, such as IoT despite a positive influence on the supply chain system. Underlying issues such as privacy, reliability, authentication, access control, and security issues need to be addressed before unleashing IoT applications’ unlimited potential and utility in these industries.

Increasing customer expectations towards perishable products’ potency and non-compliance with regulatory agencies have put pressure on management. These companies now started implementing IoT to enable value chain end-to-end integration.

Big data analytics and cognitive systems, such as artificial intelligence and machine learning help cold chain organizations by getting inputs from IoT devices and in the process improved the productivity of the cold chain process and the entire supply chain ecosystem. Technology is evolving every day in all industries including pharmaceuticals.

Check out our end-to-end cold supply chain temperature and humidity monitoring solution


Cold chain monitoring with IoT guarantees delivery quality and improves customer satisfaction

Monitor temperature in cold chain transport from dispatch to delivery

It is crucial for the food and pharmaceutical industries that their transports are timely delivered and handled with the correct temperature conditions during storage and transport.

The monitoring solution helps you stay in control throughout cold chain transport as advanced sensors log the temperature and position throughout the transport.

Solving the two major issues of cold chain transport

As you might know, it is very costly for companies to redeliver if products are wasted because of temperature breaches. Also, it is hard to prove who is responsible and liable for mistakes when cargo arrives in an unacceptable condition at the final customer.

The cold chain monitoring solution aims to make these two challenges a thing of the past.

  • Firstly, our tracking devices help you secure the correct delivery quality by logging temperature and humidity. The device will alert you if preconfigured limits are breached, enabling you to act immediately to prevent damage. This will reduce waste and save you money instantly. 
  • Secondly, the solution provides location-based insights on the time of incidences, unlike temperature stickers and other solutions. By knowing where any damages have occurred, you can prove who is liable for the damages to your cargo.

Furthermore, suppose managers are able to keep a record of the conditions and location during the transportation process. In that case, this secures compliance in the supply chain towards all interests in the delivery process.

How cold chain monitoring works with our tracking devices and data loggers

Advanced IoT technology will drive efficiency throughout your supply chain.

An RHT sensor tag measures relative humidity and temperature data. The RHT sensor communicates with our IoT device which automatically collects and sends data to our comprehensive cloud-based platform.

If any thresholds data from your transport exceed thresholds defined for your delivery, the system automatically sends out an alert to the users. This enables cold chain managers to react immediately and fix the problem and possibly minimize the risk of losing the products.

Tracking can grow your business supply chain

Our cold chain monitoring solution helps businesses to streamline processes in the supply chain and enhance decision-making. This, we dare say, will help you achieve a temperature-controlled supply chain that gains operational efficiency and improves quality control.

The system can generate proof temperature data for documentation use. Documentation and quick notification to customers about delays and damage to cargo can lead to increased customer satisfaction.

So, take advantage of the following benefits:

  • Alerts when temperature changes
  • Temperature data for documentation
  • Customers are getting a data set to prove compliance in the delivery
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How the IoT Is Helping Optimize Cold Chain Logistics

Industry technology can help to make cold chain logistics much easier to manage. Internet of things (IoT) devices is already used in a wide range of industries to gather real-time information on business processes.

In the cold chain, IoT technology can help businesses track important data on shipments — potentially allowing them to prevent temperature excursions and provide better data to stakeholders.

Here’s how businesses are already using IoT to optimize their cold chain logistics.

  1. Temperature Monitoring

A key feature of IoT devices is their ability to monitor the temperatures that cold chain shipments are exposed to.

By attaching an IoT temperature monitor to the outside of a package or pallet, sensors can be used in a variety of transportation modes — including trucks, rail freight or air cargo — to continuously track the temperature of food items, important pharmaceuticals and other items that need cold chain logistics.

These sensors will gather and report this data in real-time. Because IoT sensors can automatically store data on the cloud, all relevant stakeholders can have access to the temperature data that they collect.

In the event that an IoT sensor detects a temperature excursion, an alert system can automatically notify managers, drivers, administrative staff and other workers — allowing them to take action to prevent spoilage.

Stored data can also be used to improve processes, identify bottlenecks and determine fault in the event that an excursion causes spoilage. At any time after a sensor collects temperature data, stakeholders can review captured information and trends — or use analytics software to automatically extract valuable insights from historical temperature data.

IoT temperature tracking devices can also monitor other aspects of a shipment’s journey — for example, a combination vibration, light and temperature sensor can monitor for heat as well as exposure to light, shocks, vibrations and sudden stops.

Many cold chain products don’t just require low temperatures. Many vaccines that need cold chain logistics, for example, may spoil or lose potency if exposed to light. Sudden shocks can also risk damage to vaccine containers and packing materials.

IoT devices that monitor temperature can also help to monitor for these potential threats.

  1. GPS and RFID Shipment Tracking

IoT devices are also excellent at tracking the current location of a shipment or individual product. By using technology like GPS or RFID, it’s possible for an IoT device to gather information on a shipment’s movement.

With GPS, this information will be in real-time. With RFID, the system will depend on RFID readers installed at important locations that continuously scan for RFID tags. These systems will provide instant updates whenever an RFID-tagged shipment arrives at a warehouse, fulfillment center, retail location or delivery destination.

These systems can automatically alert stakeholders when an item is on the move, allowing them to track the position of all their shipments, 24/7. The same IoT device can be used to monitor both temperature and location.

The same technology can also help businesses and logistics providers offer better delivery estimates to their clients. With real-time tracking, it’s much easier to forecast when an item will arrive at a destination accurately.

  1. Automated Reporting and Cloud Data Storage

Because IoT devices are connected to the internet and can collect data continuously, they can also be used for automatic report-generation and cloud data backups.

For example, data from an IoT device can be automatically delivered to relevant stakeholders or stored for monthly documentation of important information.

In addition to delivering data to the cloud, an IoT device can send information to logistics management platforms, where the information can be analyzed by stakeholders with the help of dashboards and other data visualization tools.

The device can also stream information to AI-powered analytic tools, allowing businesses to use the IoT data to power delivery time or temperature excursion prediction algorithms.

These algorithms can help businesses see a crisis coming based on patterns in IoT data, potentially long before the issue would be obvious to a manager or analyst following the data on their own.

  1. Equipment Health Monitoring and Predictive Maintenance

In addition to monitoring shipments directly, IoT devices are also an excellent tool for tracking the performance and health of cold chain equipment — including delivery vehicles, warehouse machinery and even HVAC systems.

Existing IoT performance monitoring systems can track a wide variety of performance and environmental variables. Information from these systems can help businesses track machine performance and health.

For example, an IoT fleet may capture a machine’s timing, vibration, temperature and lubrication information. If one of these variables leaves its safe operating range, the system can automatically notify site technicians.

IoT devices may also measure local temperature, humidity and CO2 levels, allowing managers of a warehouse or fulfilment centre to know if local environmental conditions may be negatively impacting the performance of a site machine.

Equipment monitoring is already a popular application of IoT devices in many industries, meaning that cold chain logistics professionals wanting to adopt the technology have access to a large and growing market of IoT equipment monitoring solutions.

Experts predict that the market is on track to grow quickly over the next few years, meaning that logistics companies will have access to even more options in the near future.

With enough data, businesses can also use IoT devices to lay the foundation for a predictive maintenance system. These are systems that use AI and IoT machine performance data to predict a machine’s maintenance needs.

By analysing information collected from IoT devices, it’s possible to predict when a machine will need maintenance or repairs.

These systems can also alert managers when they predict that machine failure is imminent — allowing for an emergency shutdown that can help to prevent significant damage to a machine that may result in more expensive repairs and greater downtime.

How IoT Devices May Help to Transform the Cold Chain

With new IoT devices, cold chain logistics providers may be able to streamline their operations. A fleet of IoT devices can provide crucial information on both shipments and the equipment used to move them.

Cold chain professionals are already using IoT devices to prevent spoilage and more effectively monitor shipments as they move from location to location.

IoT devices can also lay the foundation for predictive analytics algorithms that can accurately predict delivery times or machine maintenance needs