Over the past few years, supply chain challenges and extended lead times have impacted virtually every industry. However, managing the supply chain for temperature-sensitive products can be infinitely more complicated. Being proactive in your logistical planning helps alleviate the stressors inherent to the cold chain. Learn how to better predict and respond to common cold chain transportation and warehousing problems.

Identifying Supply Chain Problems Before They Occur

Proper cold chain logistics will keep your operations on budget while ensuring that customers receive their orders on time and in full with no loss in product quality. To achieve this, it’s important to be aware of cold chain pain points to plan for or avoid.

Temperature Fluctuations

Above all else, effective temperature management is critical for frozen goods, from initial loading and transportation through consolidation, cross-docking, storage, and final delivery. It’s not enough just to keep products cold; you must maintain steady temperatures to assure product integrity. Spoiled goods not only result in waste and lost revenue but also a poor reputation among customers.

Equipment Reliability

While unscheduled repairs can throw shipments off schedule, logistics providers also have to plan for and work around routine truck maintenance. Freezer trucks and containers need regular maintenance to ensure their functionality and, by extension, the integrity of frozen goods. Equipment or electrical failures will swiftly compromise shipment quality.

Cold Chain Integrity

Diligent logistics management is essential to prevent disruptions and delays in the cold chain itself. Keeping things running smoothly from goods production to delivery will help safeguard against product loss.

Regulatory Compliance

Numerous laws as well as safety and quality standards govern frozen food transportation. Such regulations cover factors like proper temperature monitoring, documentation, and product labeling, helping you avoid costly recalls and fines. For Walmart suppliers, your must-arrive-by date (MABD) and on-time in-full (OTIF) scores are also essential, as falling outside a shipment’s expected delivery window or delivering an incomplete shipment can result in penalties or program expulsion.

Element of Human Error

Successful cold fleet logistics requires experienced professionals who understand proper industry protocols and documentation. Also, cooling technologies vary from one brand to another, so extensive training is necessary to ensure appropriate equipment operations. Drivers who aren’t familiar with cold chain equipment can put product quality at risk, and insufficient communication and inaccurate or incomplete records lead to costly mistakes.

Capacity Limitations

It can be difficult to find less-than-truckload (LTL) and third-party logistics (3PL) service providers with not just the experience you’re looking for, but also the capacity to handle your shipment volumes. This can lead to higher costs, extended loading and unloading timelines, and delayed deliveries.

Proactively Responding to Cold Chain Logistics Problems

To circumvent logistical problems, it’s important to have a plan in place that encompasses temperature-controlled transportation, warehouses, and distribution centers.

Real-Time Temperature Monitoring

Technological advancements in modern monitoring systems allow you to oversee thermal conditions and fluctuations, the location of a truck or order, and related information. You can receive updates in real time for proven regulatory compliance, more effective logistics management, and the agility to make any necessary adjustments quickly.

Consolidating Truckloads

When you take advantage of LTL shipments, your goods will share space on a truck or trailer with those of other companies. Combining multiple smaller loads with the same thermal requirements heading to the same final destination means not having to wait until you have a full truckload (FTL) shipment ready to go. LTL shipments can improve both efficiency and cost-effectiveness.

Reducing Handovers

The more a shipment changes hands in the cold chain, the greater the risk of temperature fluctuations and communication errors. Streamlining cold chain transportation as much as possible mitigates these risks. Using internet-based systems to keep track of shipments’ progress, temperatures, and handovers reduces the likelihood of problems.

Finding a Trusted Partner Who Has Your Back

One of the easiest ways to guarantee product integrity, process efficiency, and successful project logistics is to partner with a transportation company with vast experience in the cold chain. They’ll be familiar with common challenges in the industry and will have all the necessary resources at their disposal to effectively and reliably transport your frozen shipments at the capacity you need.

How Mulder Brothers Brokerage Can Help

At Mulder Brothers, we specialize in cold chain transportation and logistics, providing Midwest pickups of frozen shipments for delivery nationwide. When you partner with us, you benefit from:

  • Temperature-controlled LTL and FTL capabilities
  • FDA-compliant, temperature-controlled warehousing and short-term storage
  • High-volume multi-vendor consolidation (MVC) services to minimize risks to frozen goods
  • Optimized distribution center (DC) network
  • Carrier partner network utilizing trailers with insulated superstructures and advanced refrigeration systems to maintain temperatures down to -20° F
  • Reliable, efficient cross-docking and redelivery
  • Proven 3PL services from our highly trained team of logistical experts
  • Round-the-clock support for our customers and carriers

We’re also an approved consolidation partner in the Walmart Consolidation Pool Program, and we maintain transparency by posting our recent MABD scores online. 

Contact us today to learn more about how partnering with Mulder Brothers can enhance your cold chain operations.

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