The science of supply chain is responsible of managing recourse, in formations, people, and technology in a specific communication network that assure that a product or service is delivered from supplier to a customer in response with cost and time efficiency. Supply chain involves raw material, spare parts, finished and unfinished goods which are the main parts of today’s global economy that is affecting business all around the world comparing products that have better prices, reliable, and responsiveness.The concept of Cold chain logistics is simple and interesting in terms of tracking and controlling the supply chain that includes very sensitive products such as in this research is food, it’s a very high valued product and cost driven factor. Examples of cold chain are the food manufacturing industries, healthcare and Drugs manufacturing because they tend to keep products that need to be maintained at a lower temperature and it has the ability to deteriorate. Description of the Cold Chain LogisticsCold chain is a temperature control tool the ensure the active life of food, chemical and drugs, it is a sub chain of the whole supply chain that includes manufacturing, retailing, storage, and distributing of temperature sensitive products that must be controlled under a temperature bases which basically range from 2 to 8 i?? C which some times tolerances depending on the actual product being moved in order to maintain their associative and characteristic value.
In order to understand the term ‘Cold Chain’ it’s important to define each word separately.First the term ‘Cold’ that stands for the temperature needed to regulate the product from deteriorating when maintaining its initial and expiry date while processing, shipping, delivering and storing, and to prevent any possible growth of micro organisms. The term ‘Chain’ states the monitoring and controlling of the whole chain being processed in sequence with the cold products in which each stage of processing, transporting, storing, distributing, and delivering are all attached together by order and has a documented communication channels and records.Cold chain management is a control tool using technology to monitor the temperature of foods and products which are concerned with sensitivity and expiry to ensure the life time and quality of the product along with the different stages of the supply chain. Studying the Cold Chain Logistics in the UAE is an important issue and a first phase that has to be build up initially, since the UAE is considered as an un-agriculture landand a warm country, most of the products that are been traded inside the country are imported from outside by different transportation modes through air, sea, and land, therefore to ensure the quality and freshness of these products, they must be controlled under a plan through all the supply chain beginning from the manufacture all the way to the consumers moving through warehousing, retailers, and distributors. Key Elements of the Cold Chain LogisticsThere are three main key elements that have to be implemented in a cold chain, first is the Manufacturing stage where the temperature sensitive device is implemented, second is the Warehousing, Packaging, and Retailing stage where the finished goods is complete and received to one of the retailing points to be stored and then distributed or transported to the next stage, then the Consumer stage where the criteria of how the final product reaches the customer must be specifically designed.For better understanding lets take a simple example of eggs and poultry products, the cold chain starts at the farm when the eggs are collected and being transported to the poultry plant where the eggs must be kept under a certain temperature and monitor against micro germs, this process of cold chain protect the products from being deteriorate.
When the eggs reaches the poultry products plant they must be checked through a certain process that maintain the hygiene and packed into safe plastic or cartons boxes where they moved after that to retailers through special transportation where the eggs are refrigerated. After unpacking the eggs from the tracks to the retailers stores, the eggs are kept in a low temperature until the customer buy it, the customer can be the individual consumer who will keep the eggs in home refrigerator or diary and grocery stores.Cold Chain Logistics role in the Supply Chain Supply chain is basically initiated when suppliers deliver their raw materials and spare parts to manufactures where the submitting of finished goods is done, and since the products we are dealing with in this case are very temperature sensitive that any slight decrease in temperature will affect its chemical component and physical appearance, therefore cold chain logistics must have control through all the supply chain logistics to maintain the natural or desired status of the product.
The role of cold chain logistics is to make sure that all its logistics operations of transporting, inventory, packing, and tracking software must have a thermometer scale and certain instructions in loading, uploading, and while moving from point to point. Major Benefits Benefits are distributed through the whole supply chain including the manufactures, distributors, retailers, and consumers. To get the largest benefits possible it’s important to recognize the connection between each stage in the supply chain and how they communicate, exchange information and understand their sourcing methods.This is important to overcome any threat caused by any misleading from each supply chain stage; the cause affect of this will destroy the hygiene and quality of the product. In the previous example of the poultry products management the benefits are basically cutting cost by sharing information of sourcing and transportation, this way no wastage and spoilage during packing and unpacking, no duplication of the transportation lines will happened, therefore it will save time or raising in prices between distributors and retailers. These benefits are reflected to the consumer’s satisfaction of the products freshness, quality and life time.
The most important industries that a Cold chain logistics involved in and have a positive growth are the fruits and vegetables, milk products, packed foods, beverages, biological, and meat products Products in each industry are starting up with cold chain logistics from the manufacture stage where they need to be at a specific temperature to solid their elements either chemical or biological parts; for example dealing with drugs, pharmaceutical, and body organs in the biological industry, each of them have to be maintained at a different temperature.For example the body organs must be frozen as soon as they are extracted; this is similar to the Meat products industry where the meat must be frozen to ensure the quality of the meat for the longest time, while the drugs have different procedure by isolating their environment to make sure not to interact with the surrounding or get infected by germs. Major Costs and RisksThe main challenges that face the Cold Chain Logistics is to mitigate risks by maintaining a certain level of temperature to increase the shelf life of a product and to cut costs of damaged and corrupted products. As the requirement of cold chain logistics are rapidly growing with a cost driven technique like for example the industries of drugs manufactures, healthcare centers and food manufactures where they all deal with raw materials that need to be controlled under low temperatures to meet the higher policies of the government to maintain quality and cost driven.Cold Chain Logistics face risks when being transported and packed since theses two are considered a physical transformation of the product if they are not taken well care of isolating, handling, and low temperature, suppliers decide of the transportation and packing method all the way of the supply chain with agreement of all different parties collaborating in the supply chain.One of the most challenges facing the Cold Chain Logistics is the temperature sensitive product which is required in the highly growing countries, where economy is based on fast food industries and canned foods beside fresh foods, healthcare products, and drugs for these products to be transported globally, it requires an advanced technology, for example the servers which are made of microprocessors that are used to save information, performs operations, and link networks, these servers are saved in an isolating room called the ‘Data Center’ where the servers are kept in lockers supplied with the proper amount of power and power redundancy, they are placed in a away where the cold air comes from under the ground hitting the front side of the servers and the hot air goes out from the back side going all the way up in a cycle, these air conditions are called CCU and includes a humidity control to prevent any short circuit in the micro chips.
Cold chain logistics is concerned as well with regulatory bases, as the cold chain industry increase constantly especially regarding transporting pharmaceutical sensitive products its compulsory to ensure the quality and safeness of the product by obeying demanding authorities such as the (FDA) US Foods and Drug Administration, the Internal Quality Assurance departments, and industry forums and industry associations, the cold chain logistics are not only required to obey these external regulatory but it must also forecast, compare with other processes, improve their own chain network and assessment and review their results, this procedure help the cold chain logistics to cut operating cost, and perform in a better quality. Key Issues in Designing and implementing Developing a high technology tool in the industry allows the use of advanced equipments in manufacturing; we take the same previous example of manufacturing microprocessors which are temperature, humidity and conductivity sensitive.The characteristics of this industry require not only quality but also how is reduce cost, cost in not only related to manufactures but also to every stage in a supply chain, here comes the challenge of designing a responsiveness and efficient supply chain with insurance that it will cover potential risks. The main issue in designing is reaching the shipper’s needs, requirement, and expectations. In order to meet these requirements there must be a business process that provide solution to connect the customer need with the suppliers offer and assure the availability of products and secured cold chain.
For more understanding of the designing and implementing phase, the cold chain is differentiated based on their category.