September 15, 2020

8 Ways Temperature Monitoring Systems Can Solve Logistics Problems

Medicine, meat, flowers, and all goods that require temperature control have one thing in common; they all are monitored during transport to make sure they are fresh and in usable condition. That’s the first glimpse into the concept we are discussing today, temperature monitoring systems in logistics. You’ll learn the basics of a temperature monitoring system, what to look for in choosing a system, and how it can solve logistical problems. First, we’ll jump in by answering the most basic question: What is a temperature monitoring system?
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Understanding temperature monitoring systems

The concept of temperature monitoring systems revolves around using technology to maintain product freshness and reduce waste by monitoring the temperature of a space. Let’s dive in to learn more about it.

What is a temperature monitoring system?

A temperature monitoring system controls and regulates the temperature of a particular environment. A temperature monitoring system has become an essential part of healthcare, hospitals, clinics, food business, and other industries in recent years.

With a temperature monitoring system, you can easily track, control, and regulate the products’ temperature in a specific environment. A temperature monitoring system makes sure that your temperature-dependent products stay safe as they are being transported.     

What temperature monitoring systems offer

Here are some of the critical features of a standard temperature monitoring system:

  • Automatic alerts

You’ll get automatic alerts on activities like high and low temperatures. This way, you can learn when or the extent to which the quality of your products may be compromised.

  • Notifications for change in temperature

A slight change in temperature will alert the monitoring system, and you’ll get a notification about the rise or drop in temperature. It will help you to contact the logistics team and inform them about the situation quickly.

  • Reports

The temperature monitoring system will automatically generate reports that you can analyse trends and take new measures accordingly.

  • Temperature tracking

Now you don’t have to manually call or check to maintain updated temperature readings or receive updates on the products. With a temperature monitoring system, you can easily track the temperatures fluctuations.

  • Customised indicators

With a temperature monitoring system, you can easily customize indicators for minimum and maximum thresholds based on the type of product or container. You can also reset the indicators on the go to reflect changing needs.

At least around 20% of pharmaceutical freight gets damaged in transport, which means that temperature monitoring systems are one way to go to avoid losses. 

What should be taken into account in selecting temperature monitoring systems? This brings us to the next section.  

What to look for in temperature monitoring systems

There are multiple things that should be considered in temperature monitoring systems as the stakes are high. Below are six features that will make up a reliable and useful temperature monitoring system.

Over-time temperature data

Prevention is better than cure, right? Knowing the temperatures your products have gone through will help you to make informed decisions. From swapping out some products to opening a dispute, over-time temperature data is an objective source of facts in your products’ lifecycle.

Over-time data will assist you in being better at preventing loss, managing incidents, and more. You can make quick decisions to save your business and make real progress.

Package-level monitoring

Shipments that are compact and portable are often at risk. It’s essential to track the temperatures of individual packages that were outside cold rooms for longer than the rest of the shipment.

Sensors must be a part of your shipment to ensure package-level monitoring. The hardware must be attached to every other package and stay connected with the parent system so that the containers can be easily monitored.

Reliable analytics

Faulty sensors or broken equipment can lead to false alerts and vague reporting data. The data that your temperature monitoring system collects must be reliable. Consistency over time guarantees the best results.

If the analytics of your temperature monitoring system isn’t reliable, it can affect your business. A false temperature alarm here and a wrong alert there can take a toll on your business, so it’s essential to make sure that your system is working all the time correctly.

Data is everything when you are monitoring the temperature of products that are far away from you. A faulty system can produce the wrong information, which defeats the whole purpose of a temperature monitoring system.

Invest in a reliable temperature monitoring system so you can make the most of analytics.

User-friendliness

A temperature monitoring system must be easy to understand. An average user should be able to monitor, analyse, and make the most of the temperature monitoring system without scratching their head.

Your temperature monitoring solution must be simple, relevant, and customizable. Furthermore, it must also be easy to set up, to troubleshoot or debug, and continually fine-tune as your relationship to the technology strengthens. If your system is hard to configure, it will waste your both time and money.

Look for a user-friendly temperature monitoring system that is easy to understand and can be configured by any non-tech-savvy folk.

Responds to incidents

There are plenty of things that can go wrong in a temperature monitoring system. And most of the risks can be covered by alerts, responses, and plans. But what about exceptions?

Your temperature monitoring system must account for external help whenever needed, like professionally trained people to handle coolant spills and spoilage support.

All-in-all, an excellent temperature monitoring system should be able to cope up with complications at any time of the day.

Important parts of a temperature monitoring system

Commonly, a temperature monitoring system consists of five parts. Below, we’ll cover all the six parts briefly.

Temperature sensor or probe

Temperature is one of the most common measurements across all industries. From pharmaceutical to environmental monitoring, the temperature is monitored in pretty much every industry.

A temperature monitoring system is able to capture temperatures through a sensor. Since every type of sensor has its own limits and capabilities, you must select one according to your needs.

The three most common temperature sensors you’ll find in a temperature monitoring system are thermocouples, RTD sensors, and thermistors.

Thermocouples are used in pretty much every low to mid budget temperature monitoring system. They are the least expensive sensors you’ll find in a temperature monitoring system. If your business doesn’t require extremely high-temperature accuracy, thermocouples are, hands down, the most cost-efficient and straightforward sensors.

Next up, RTD sensors provide more accurate readings than the thermocouples but with the expense of a narrow temperature range. RTD sensors are ideal for freezers and refrigerators as their temperature ranges are limited.

Lastly, thermistors are just like RTD sensors; their resistance changes with temperature. But in thermistors, the change in resistance is non-linear. This means that they can only be fit in a temperature monitoring system that supports the non-linear resistance curve.

Thermal buffer

Thermal buffers are materials and liquids that are attached with temperature sensors to decrease their response time. Lower response time means that the sensor will be able to pick up minor changes in temperature in a short period of time.

Thermal buffers help a temperature monitoring system to get an accurate temperature of the products or environment. Some of the common thermal buffers equipped in a temperature monitoring system are vials full of glass beads, nylon blocks, and glycol bottles.

TMD or temperature measurement device

Every modern-day system needs a digitized heart, right? The same goes for a temperature monitoring system. A temperature measurement device (TMD) does the following tasks: 

  • Connects to sensors for digitizing the temperature value 
  • Records temperature data
  • Temporarily stores data before transmission to the storage destination

There are three types of temperature measurement devices: standalone, networked, and wireless. A standalone TMD doesn’t require any other device to record or process temperatures. It’s an all-in-one device that controls everything. A networked TMD is connected with a PC, server, or cloud. It can connect to a device via LAN or Wi-Fi to send and receive data. Lastly, a wireless TMD includes a wider wireless range, more robust data update rate, and ease of use. It’s ideal to invest in a wireless TMD if you have multiple fixed points that need data to be collected in real time. Fixed points like stationary freezers and refrigerators are actually one of the few cases where real-time alerts really come in handy, as there often is someone to fix the situation as soon as issues occur.

Data storage

Depending on your business, you might need to store temperature data after every hour or every second. This means that you must select an appropriate data storage option according to your needs.

There are four types of data storage you can use in a temperature monitoring system. Firstly, local memory like a USB stick or memory card can be used for data storage, but it’s only suitable if your business operation is fairly small. In Logmore’s case, the QR code on the data loggers’ screen doubles as local memory.

Next, a local gateway connects to a cellular network for collecting and storing data that can be later transmitted to a storage device. 

Local PC remains the popular choice in a temperature monitoring system to store data. You can connect the system to a local PC for automatically storing the data. 

Lastly, cloud solutions like Logmore Cloud are becoming widespread in temperature monitoring systems. Cloud-based systems automatically transfer data to servers and offer features like report generation.

Alarms

Alarms are one of the most critical parts of a temperature monitoring system. From beeps and pop-ups to text messages, an alarm makes sure that every danger or alert is well transmitted to the people who are in charge of the temperature monitoring system.

Alarms in your temperature monitoring system must be configured according to your business.

Features of a good temperature monitoring system

Accuracy

An excellent temperature monitoring system must be able to provide accurate information. From temperature readings to pinpoint alarming, the information that your temperature monitoring system stores and shares must be correct.

There are a few types of temperature monitoring systems available in the market. Some are meant for pharmaceuticals, and others are for the food industry. Each type has a different capacity for measuring temperature. You must pick a temperature monitoring system that suits your business so it can provide accurate reading to your requirements.

Long battery life

Temperature monitoring systems are meant to store and monitor data 24/7, so they must have long battery life. The latest generation of temperature monitoring systems has long batteries that last up to a year or more. But you need to check and test the battery of the temperature monitoring system you are buying as everything depends on the juice. You can’t risk your operation, so it would be worth first checking out your temperature monitoring system’s battery power.

Large storage capacity

Most temperature monitoring systems are deployed to track shipments, warehouse, or storage conditions over the course of days or months. Either way, temperature monitoring systems build up an enormous stockpile of data, which means that it needs a significant storage capacity.

Your temperature monitoring systems must have enough memory to store the data throughout the course of its deployment. Shortage in storage capacity can lead to data leaks, which will significantly disturb your monitoring capacity.

Wireless data transfer

Data collection is a necessary part of a temperature monitoring system. A sound temperature monitoring system must be capable of wirelessly transferring data. Wireless data transfer allows a person to access the data without touching the temperature monitoring system itself quickly.

With wireless data transfer, the information can be passed in seconds to one place to another. You don’t have to access the temperature monitoring system in person for collecting the data if it supports wireless data transfer. Wireless data transfer comes especially handy combined with a cloud-based data storage system.

8 benefits of using a temperature monitoring system in logistics

Many industries have made the most of temperature monitoring systems in the past few years. Based on the features and capabilities of the temperature monitoring systems described above, they can be incredibly useful in logistics. Let’s dig in further to explore eight ways in which temperature monitoring systems can solve logistics problems.

24/7 data recording

Most temperature monitoring systems offer continuous data recording. Seven days a week, twenty-four hours a day, temperature data is being recorded and checked to the set parameters, which means that you are being reported with the most current data every single time.

In logistics, continuous data recording plays a vital role. When your products are in a truck on the way to their destination, you may only have access to data. There’s no opportunity to check on them yourself. All the data coming from the monitoring system is the key to making important decisions in your business. 

Continuous data capturing means that you can see if any protocols have been compromised. Furthermore, continuous data recording will allow you to capture spikes and dips, analyse anomalies, and more.

In logistics, a temperature monitoring system lets you get involved by recording data 24/7 so you can make the most of it. It helps arm you with the right information to make informed decisions at every point in the cold chain.

Data gives you vision, and vision gives you power. An ample amount of temperature data recorded in transportation will help you to make reliable and beneficial choices in the future.

Don’t depend on the word of your drivers. Install a temperature monitoring system and utilize the data to see if everything was A-OK during the transportation of your valuable goods.

Instant notifications and alerts

Before an item reaches a customer or a specific destination, it goes through various transportation checkpoints and steps and all those steps include some sort of danger to the product. For instance, let’s say you are transporting a medicine that must be kept under 20 Celsius. Everything is going bright and right. But what if the carrying truck gets involved in an accident? Here’s where a temperature monitoring system comes in to save the day and drama.

Even if your transportation partner isn’t involved in an accident, there can be cases where the transporting medium’s temperature can be jeopardized. With responsive notifications and alerts, you can recognize temperature differences so the situation can be resolved before a customer receives damaged goods.

Analytics

With a temperature monitoring system, the data is collected and stored to create statistical insights. A temperature monitoring system is imperfect and incomplete without analytics of the data it collects. In logistics, analytics can help to identify the loopholes and problems that are sacrificing temperature control.

Analytics helps your logistics sector to tackle future problems by analysing the data. For instance, if you notice that the quality of some of your goods is being compromised, you will not be able to find the reason for the dips and spikes in temperature without the specifics from temperature data and analytics.

If you have the right amount of data, the temperature monitoring system will be able to hand you out detailed temperature reports. These reports will help you to gain insights into what’s going wrong and how to deal with it. Furthermore, some high-end temperature monitoring systems use in-built software to generate meaningful insights.

Data will do you no good until and unless you use it to gain insights. A temperature monitoring system will assist you with an in-depth analysis of temperature data. With it, you can eliminate your logistics department’s common and unique problems that involve anything related to temperature.

Accessing data from anywhere

Depending on the temperature monitoring system, you’ll be able to access your goods’ temperature via a smartphone, PC, tablet, SMS, etc., which means that you no longer have to contact your transportation team to inquire about temperature levels.

The data gathered by a temperature monitoring system to a cloud service can be accessed from faraway places on a web app or a mobile app. All the temperature data is at your disposal 24/7. You just have to have access to it.

Of course, most use cases do not require real-time data since the carrier cannot affect the circumstances anyhow. From cargo ship containers to vans, the transportation conditions are what they are for that journey. What matters then is that the quality of transport can be verified and risks assessed once the journey is over.

As logistics departments are often fast paced, a temperature monitoring system keeps you updated with data. Ease of accessing data from anywhere in the cloud means that you can keep a direct eye on your logistics team to avoid mishaps. A complete picture also allows you to recognize patterns and mitigate risks as they occur.

The ability of transferring data to multiple users

Logistics involve suppliers, carriers, retailers, consumers, and other parties. Every party needs to know the status of the goods that are being transported, especially if the goods require temperature control.

A temperature monitoring system not only controls and maintains the temperature, it transfers the data to multiple profiles. From supplier to consumer and retailer, every person in the logistics chain can track and see temperature data.

The ability to transfer data to multiple profiles helps the logistics in the cold chain. The cold chain is a temperature-controlled supply chain that maintains the end-to-end quality and safety of perishable products. 

Every person connected to the transportation node is able to track down the temperature data. This scenario aids the cause of the temperature monitoring system in logistics as now more than one person is tracking the goods.

Simultaneously, all the relevant people can check temperature data. No more feuds about who’s at fault or how things went wrong; every party will be able to analyse and see exactly what happened at every step along in the cold chain.

With the ability to transfer data to multiple channels and profiles, a temperature monitoring system eliminates dozens of logistics problems related to temperature.

Side-Note: Not every temperature monitoring system supports multiple profile data transferring. Before buying a temperature monitoring system, you must check the features to confirm this capability.

Efficient temperature tracking of temperature sensitive goods

Temperature monitoring systems come handy in logistics when temperature-sensitive goods are being transported. The main aim of any temperature monitoring system is to monitor and maintain a specific environment’s temperature.

Whenever temperature-sensitive goods are being transported, it’s necessary to equip the transportation medium with a temperature monitoring system. Without it, it kills the whole purpose of transporting temperature-sensitive goods.

For instance, a pharmaceutical company makes insulin, which is temperature sensitive. Insulin shipments must be kept at a specific temperature for quality purposes. Certainly, the company will transport the insulin in a cold and temperature-controlled environment, but what if the environment itself isn’t being monitored? 

Just like banks need security, temperature-sensitive goods require a monitoring system. The monitoring system efficiently tracks the temperature and makes sure nothing goes wrong. Furthermore, it collects, maintains, and regulates temperature data. In complications, the monitoring system sends alerts or notifications to different people who are connected with it.

When a temperature monitoring system covers temperature-sensitive goods during transportation, they are safe from all the mishaps. Sensors of the system are always working to monitor the temperature. The temperature monitoring device of the system is digitizing the information received by sensors. The software controls alarms and continually tally the temperature values to send alerts if anything goes wrong. Everything is connected to each other to make sure that there is no compromise in temperature monitoring of the goods that are being transported.

It would be very risky to transport delicate goods in an environment that is not being adequately monitored. Anything can go wrong during transportation. The temperature system can fail, the transportation medium can get caught in an accident, or worse. And this is where a temperature monitoring system comes into play.

Many logistics departments face the consequences of not installing a proper temperature monitoring system in their warehouses, transportation mediums, etc. Even apart from temperature-sensitive goods, it’s great to have a temperature monitoring system in logistics. As the temperature is one of the most common and usable measurements in pretty much every industry.

If you face temperature-related problems while transporting temperature-sensitive goods, you must invest in a temperature monitoring system as soon as possible. It will not just monitor the temperatures for you but provide you with insights, updates, notifications, and other advanced features.

Accurate temperature data

Accurate temperature data solves many issues in logistics. With precise temperature data, you know when things went wrong and how many units the temperature increased or decreased. And that’s only possible when your logistics department is equipped with temperature monitoring systems.

With the help of accurate temperature data, you can make vital decisions for the truck that’s about to head towards a high-temperature zone. Accurate temperature data is everything when the main focus is to control and maintain temperature. And without a temperature monitoring system, it isn’t possible.

Manual reports are flawed most of the time, but a temperature monitoring system makes sure that it provides accurate temperature reports which help the people make decisions for the future.

One can’t compromise on temperature data if the business is all about transporting temperature-sensitive goods. Temperature monitoring systems generate accurate temperature data. With precise temperature data, it’s easy for the logistics department to regulate their workflow and maintain the temperature standards.

Reports and temperature monitoring help drivers

Like reports help the suppliers track everything, it also assists drivers considerably. A temperature monitoring system hugely benefits people who are actually carrying the goods.

Let’s say a driver is transporting temperature-sensitive goods, and they want to take breaks during the journey. The driver can take a look at the temperature monitoring system and see the current temperature. It will help the driver to adjust and maintain the temperature according to the period of their break.

The driver can also see reports and insights through the temperature monitoring system. It will help guide the decisions in the journey and act according to temperature reports and data.

A temperature monitoring system helps the driver to check if the temperature controlling system is working correctly or not. If the temperature controlling system fails, the driver can quickly identify it via a temperature monitoring system. If the driver lacks the tools or skills to fix the issue, the data can be used for quality assurance instead.

Logmore QR data loggers are an excellent way to introduce efficient temperature monitoring to your supply chain. If you are interested in a practical demonstration, sign up for a free sample from us. If you're already using older data loggers for your temperature monitoring, you might also want to see how Logmore compares to traditional USB loggers.