As one of the largest producers of milk and second largest producer of farm products like fruits and vegetables, India also produces a substantial number of poultry, meat and seafood products. Apart from perishable food products, pharma is another industry that depends on the cold chain in India. From storage to transport, the pharma industry needs a robust cold chain network that helps ensure effective end-to-end fulfilment. However, the inefficiency in the cold chain management challenges the management, incurring yearly heavy losses. Exposing the urgency of a highly effective cold chain for end-to-end fulfilment, businesses and top cold chain companies in India must identify the challenges and develop an efficient cold chain network.
Highlighting Common Issues in Cold Chain Logistics:
Limited Tech Integration-:
One of the primary challenges in cold chain logistics in India is the limited integration of technology. Several cold chain logistics facilities still rely on manual temperature monitoring and inventory management processes. This lack of tech integration leads to data inaccuracies and delays in decision-making, increasing the risk of product spoilage. It directly impacts the safety, quality and profitability of temperature-sensitive goods. However, the introduction of artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, and machine learning are accessible, and it is ideal to incorporate these technologies into the chain management structure. Developing a tech-equipped cold chain strategy and structure will help ensure efficient operation and optimize every chain stage effectively. From en-to-end visibility to close monitoring of temperature and other essential metrics of cold chain management, tech integration is undoubtedly a beneficial strategy.
As a trend that is taking over the logistics sector in 2023, technology is penetrating, and thus, the logistics sector is aligning proficiently with technology. Since technology will continue to flourish in new forms daily, it is ideal to identify the shortcomings and integrate tech-equipped strategies for better results. Tech-integrated cold chain logistics help reduce data inaccuracies and maintain product integrity, especially with temperature-sensitive products; it helps with accurate inventory management without compromising the quality and freshness of food and pharma products.
Scope of Human Error
While most of the cold chain facilities in India function manually, the scope of human error remains a significant concern. From incorrect temperature settings to mishandling of products during transportation, the potential for error is high. Even minor lapses in judgment or oversight can have severe consequences. These human errors result in a hefty loss of resources; thus, it becomes essential to incorporate the latest technological solutions from end to end. It is also vital to on board qualified experts and logistics professionals with relevant experience working with cold storage and transit equipment.
On the other hand, rigorous training becomes imperative to address this challenge and reduce the scope of human error. These training and awareness programs help heighten the awareness and train the personnel for certain situations occurring in cold chain operations, which are crucial to mitigate the risk. This training program must also include introducing procedures and guidelines to reduce the risk and its potential impact on product safety and quality.
Scope of Equipment Failure
The reliability of refrigeration equipment is critical in maintaining the cold chain’s integrity. However, frequent power fluctuations and inadequate maintenance often lead to equipment failures. The harsh reality is that every time an equipment failure occurs, it leads to temperature excursion, putting product safety and quality at risk.
To combat this challenge, investing in robust equipment maintenance programs is of utmost importance. Regular inspections, preventive maintenance, and swift responses to equipment issues significantly minimize the risk of breakdowns. Apart from that, it is also ideal to have a contingency backup plan ready. This Plan B could be a backup power source or alternative storage options but are critical and can ensure the continuity of the cold chain in the event of equipment failure.
While making strides, the cold chain infrastructure in India is still developing and needs to improve its efficiency. Many regions, particularly remote and rural areas, need proper storage facilities and transportation networks for a seamless cold chain. This infrastructure needs to improve the distribution of temperature-sensitive goods, hindering its reach to the end consumers.
Addressing this challenge demands considerable effort to encourage infrastructure development. Investments in cold storage facilities, refrigerated transportation, specifically movable equipment like merchandising carts, reefer vans, freezer trucks, carriers, freezer containers, etc. and last-mile connectivity are, thus, vital to bridging these gaps and extending the benefits of the cold chain to deserted areas.
No Cost Efficiency
Business operations with cold chain logistics are capital-intensive, and energy costs comprise a significant portion of the total expenses. Inefficient refrigeration systems and a lack of cost-effective energy solutions certainly increase operational costs, making it challenging for the business to maintain a profitable cold chain. Along with profit margins, these high costs also impact the affordability and accessibility of cold chain services.
Finding sustainable, energy-efficient solutions for refrigeration and transportation is the need of the hour. Incorporating effective, affordable and cost-efficient solutions helps reduce overall operational costs, ultimately making the chain more accessible, sustainable and profitable.
Despite growing rapidly, India’s cold chain logistics remains largely distorted and unorganized. Several small players operate independently, generally needing more standardised practices and quality controls. This disorganised aspect of the industry leads to inconsistencies across the supply chain, from handling procedures to storage conditions. It also complicates the implementation of best practices and regulatory compliance uniformity across the industry.
Thus, it becomes essential to establish a comprehensive regulatory framework and consolidate industry to address this challenge. Encouraging collaboration and adherence to ensure standard protocols are followed also helps increase efficiency, quality, and safety within cold chain fulfilment.
Cold chain logistics in India holds the potential to develop exponentially whilst providing several benefits to businesses associated with it. However, to overcome these challenges and enhance the efficiency and reliability of cold chain in India, several investments in infrastructure, technology, and training become crucial. Collaboration between the public and private sectors and adhering to international standards can also bring noticeable improvement in the cold supply chain logistics industry.
While it is essential to understand the challenges, it is also important to partner with a reliable company providing cold chain logistics India. As one of the most reliable cold supply chain companies in India, RK Foodland takes pride in offering efficient and effective solutions to clients. From consultation to strategic planning and implementation of end-to-end fulfilment, RK Foodland ensures robust cold chain logistics. Balancing the challenges strategically, RK Foodland incorporates technology in the management, reducing the risk of human error and developing a robust infrastructure. Leveraging expertise and rigorous experience in the industry, the experts at RK Foodland optimise the cold chain with essential amendments, adhering to industry standards and quality protocols. Partner with RK Foodland for effective solutions for cold chain in India and unlock optimal efficiency.