High energy and electricity prices, cold chain logistics, and storage don’t always have to go together. The technologies in this article that can help manufacturers cut costs are discussed.
Logistics and cold chain storage are nothing new to any manufacturer of food and beverages. They are a crucial component of a manufacturer’s supply chain, especially when it comes to the transportation of perishable items like fresh produce, meat, and dairy products, as well as baked goods like dough and everything else that needs to be refrigerated in order to prevent or reduce microbial activity and maintain food safety.
It is crucial for food and beverage manufacturers to invest in cold chain storage and logistics solutions and technologies, particularly in Southeast Asia where the weather can be hotter and more humid (which promotes bacterial growth) than in other regions. This will guarantee that consumers receive high-quality food and beverage products without having to worry about potential contamination.
However, such investments can be expensive, racking up high utility costs only to maintain the optimum temperatures for keeping things cold. However, maintaining a cool environment need not always cost more money.
A number of inventions have been created throughout the years as a result of technological advancements and the intensive efforts of researchers to discover newer and better ways to keep items cool while paying less. Here, we just discuss a few of these original cost-saving ideas.
As said, it is even more crucial for producers to have a cold storage system in place in nations with hotter climates in order to keep food and beverage items safe and fresh.
However, purchasing such technology or facility might be pricey in developing nations. Students at the Indian Institute of Technology who are studying mechanical engineering set out to discover a solution to these issues, and they did it by harnessing the nation’s most abundant natural resource: solar power.
They employ a novel thermal storage technique in their solar-powered micro cold storage system to manage compartment cooling in addition to conventional cooling. Instead of requiring generators (as in a traditional facility), the solar panels provide energy that is transmitted straight to the compressor, which can control its own speeds to meet the demand for cooling.
In the event of periods without sun or a day with overcast or wet weather, the thermal storage unit may store electricity for more than 36 hours without the need for batteries. Additionally, this operates with nearly no ongoing costs, providing farmers with a sustainable and clean option all year round.
A cold-pressed juice maker came up with an inventive approach to keep items at the right temperature while being transported by utilizing wool.
The manufacturer prioritizes sustainability, yet as a small business, pricing is always a major consideration. They investigated reusable and recyclable technologies in order to lower long-term expenses while still allowing good performance (in controlling the temperature of their temperature-sensitive juices).
The ability of wool to keep humans warm, particularly during the winter, has long been known, but it is also an excellent insulator for cold foods.
In every test that was run, wool reliably maintained juices at the appropriate temperature better than the plastic substitutes.
However, a minor drawback of this approach is that businesses would have to tolerate a tiny increase in the cost of chilled packaging in order to fully realize the performance and environmental advantages wool offers.
However, when the benefits are taken into account, this can be balanced out. In addition to its performance benefits, wool is considerably better for the environment because it uses a byproduct from the sheep farming sector and is completely compostable and biodegradable.
Utilizing temperature-sensitive technology, such as temperature sensors, is the third innovation. These enable an extensive analysis of the continuously gathered data. To guarantee that goods are kept at their appropriate temperatures and that quality control is upheld, the temperature of the environment during the stages of transit, storage, and shipment can be monitored.
Data can be utilized to assist producers in minimizing temperature variations in order to safeguard products, reduce food waste, and save energy costs. They can also be used to keep an eye on how systems are being maintained, reducing downtime and expensive shutdowns.
The smart label, a time-temperature indication for cold chain management, is instead a product of a manufacturer. When a cumulative temperature breach occurs, these smart labels use temperature-sensitive inks that are intended to change color or remove specific markers from the labels.
The difference between the controlled ideal and ambient environment temperatures, as well as the length of temperature abuse, are indicated on these labels. The greater the temperature differential, the quicker the changes appear on the smart label. Similar to how prolonged periods of temperature abuse result in more noticeable alterations on labels.
As meat is particularly susceptible to heat, such labels can be advantageous to the meat, fish, and poultry industries by ensuring the quality and shelf-life of these items.
These smart labels may be purchased for as little as US $0.01, and according to the manufacturer, their long-term cost will likely be halved. These systems don’t require specialized equipment to read the smart labels, unlike related technologies like Radio Frequency Identification tags, which further lowers costs for cold chain logistics customers. Instead, they rely on visual indicators or color changes.
In order to best serve their clients and end users, one may always look into cost-reducing technologies like these. This means that it is not always necessary to spend a fortune to keep food fresh and safe for consumers.
1. Ship heavier loads less frequently.
Whether you hire a shipping carrier or transport your own goods and materials, there is a price associated with packing shipments that you pay on top of the cost to move the assets from one area to another. Less often hauling heavier items results in lower preparation expenditures. To implement this change, you must work with your clients to ensure that they can take fewer deliveries more frequently, but the time invested in figuring out the logistics will be rewarded.
2. Ship during off-peak hours.
Unsurprisingly, shipping businesses typically charge more when demand is high. Depending on the industry, the region, and other variables, the high-volume days can vary, although they are frequently Tuesday through Thursday. Regardless, you’ll save money by shipping at off-peak hours.
3. Establish and preserve connections with shipping partners.
While you should be on the lookout for possibilities to receive prices that are much lower, you shouldn’t “jump ship” just because you think quitting your present provider will save you a little money. Finding fair pricing and sticking with that shipper is preferable in the long term unless there are strong reasons to switch. Over time, the tiny things they do for you as a devoted customer certainly add up to big savings.
4. Look into possible backhaul routes.
The preferred scenario for carriers is for a truck to return from a trip with cargo rather than empty. The business will probably “reward” you with a lesser rate if you can get your consignment onto a truck that would otherwise be losing money.
5. Gain a reputation for loading quickly.
Shipping companies frequently add two hours to a project to account for loading cargo at the pickup location. Spend less if the loading procedure is made effective and consistently takes less time. Additionally, you’ll discover that carriers prefer to work with organizations that make their jobs simpler, which may work to your advantage in the future.
6. Reduce the amount of space in your product’s design, packing, etc.
Your shipment will cost less if it takes up less room in a semi-trailer. Additionally, there are additional benefits to being space-conscious. For instance, your facility and those of your clients will need less storage space for your product.
7. Use portable cooler trailers to increase the amount of storage you have.
This may be the cost-cutting strategy that the business community keeps to itself. A great approach to increase your storage space is to buy/lease mobile cooler trailers and place them on your property. And when you do, you may either hold more of the goods you make to get ready for bigger departing shipments or take more material and parts in a given cargo (and so need fewer shipments). If your needs are more ad hoc, you can even rent semi trucks for this. Additionally, these mobile cooler trailers can assist with transportation if you lack shipping capacity.