Real Time Monitoring Checklist for Transport: Avoiding Damage

There is a lot that can go wrong during transportation given the unforgiving conditions goods and supplies sometimes face. Statistics estimate around 20% of pharmaceutical freight gets damaged in transit.

Checklist for Transport

Without a proper strategy in place, business owners risk hefty financial losses and, most importantly, the loss of integrity and customer trust. Real time monitoring enables instantaneous reporting, giving one the chance to react before damage happens.

Previously, this was quite different and exhausting. First, suppliers had to establish which goods were damaged and have them discarded. An extensive analysis that could take weeks to months to determine the root cause would follow. Then, the team would formulate procedures to prevent or minimize damage in the future.

Today, thanks to technology evolution, suppliers can have full visibility of their products regardless of location, ensuring better shipments.

Real time monitoring is all about being proactive: using real time data to identify anomalies and mitigate risks. Visual inspection upon arrival is still good, but with real time monitoring, it’s now possible to have data to make quality decisions during and after the journey ends.

What Is Real Time Monitoring?

Real time monitoring is the delivery of continuously updated data at zero or low latency. Getting data in real time gives one the chance to respond to problems right away to reveal and predict trends.

Take, for instance, unique samples that require freezing temperatures to stay viable. If the temperatures fluctuate to alarm conditions in transit, one is likely to lose precious specimen. On the other hand, having the right real time temperature monitoring system will help save the samples. The warning signs are always in the data, so one can see it coming.

Below are some of the critical features of an ideal real time temperature monitoring system:

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Automatic alerts

Alerts are always instant. This way, one can estimate the situation’s severity and what can be done to save products. A slight temperature change will alert the monitoring system, which will, in turn, send a notification.

Gone are the days when one had to call or manually ask for temperature readings to stay updated. With a real time temperature monitoring system, one can keep track of temperature fluctuations throughout the supply chain.

Reports and analytics

A real time temperature monitoring system automatically generates reports, which are essential in analyzing trends and designing new measures. This data can be used to predict trends over time and recognize malfunctions before the situation gets critical.

Customized indicators

With the right real time temperature monitoring system, it’s possible to customize indicators based on product types. Plus, one can always reset these on the go.

What to Look for In A Real Time Temperature Monitoring System

User-friendliness

Not everybody is tech-savvy. That said, always opt for an easy-to-understand monitoring system. It should also be easy to set up, troubleshoot or debug, and seamlessly adapt to change.

Reliability and accuracy

A monitoring system should be reliable and accurate. False alerts and vague reporting should not be commonplace. Invest in a reliable real time temperature monitoring system to make predictive analysis, take action and save valuable, irreplaceable research.

Battery life longevity

As it monitors and stores information 24/7, monitoring systems must have long battery life avoiding the risk of data loss.

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Storage capacity

Real time temperature monitoring systems track shipments over weeks or even months. Thus, the system will need enough storage to hold that data.

Wireless data transfer

For a real time temperature monitoring system, wireless data transmission is a must-have. The system should transmit data in a timely fashion to allow for a quick reaction and response from the team. Wireless data transfer is exceptionally robust when combined with a cloud-based data storage system.

Package-level monitoring

Sometimes, packages may spend time outside the defined temperatures, or for longer than the duration of the shipment. This is why it’s essential to attach the hardware to every package for seamless monitoring of all containers.

Over-time temperature data

Over-time temperature data helps one make informed decisions. From disposing of batches to opening a dispute, this is a crucial source of product information.

How can we do real time monitoring?

Installing a reliable system alone won’t suffice. Here are a few more steps worth considering:

Education and regulation

Before a product enters the supply chain, there should be a designated logistics team and clearly defined standard procedures. Additionally, the management should facilitate training for the team.

Packaging

Pharmaceutical shippers are 100% responsible for packaging. First, they should test the packaging for distribution stresses, such as vibrations and drops, and then for temperature sensitivity. Having outlined instructions regarding sensitivity and other transportation conditions to be observed also helps in product handling.

The supply chain

The supply chain can be long and complicated. Therefore, it’s equally important to ensure that the right processes, people and infrastructure are in place to handle and transport delicate products in compliance with existing regulatory policies.

Communication and transparency in the supply chain help clarify expectations and minimize the risks.

Keeping track to stay on track

Once the aspects above have been implemented, it’s time to install temperature and humidity sensors. These will alert the local management in case of an issue.

Benefits of Real Time Monitoring

Real time monitoring can do more than prevent goods damage. It helps:

  • Get actionable insights in time for proactive intervention

  • Eliminate the risk of human error due to the fast and reliable automated processes

  • Create greater transparency

  • Collect data independently

  • Reduce administrative costs

  • Manage supply chain more efficiently

  • Maximize profits

PDF Data Loggers VS Real Time

For quite some time, PDF data loggers have been the proven low-cost technology to monitor temperature during cold chain transportation. However, this option is reactive as finding a deviation is only possible after a shipment has already been completed. Furthermore, although data aggregation is possible, one might never know when a deviation occurred, or where the consignment has been. PDF data loggers might be an affordable option for less demanding products, but not the best for critical supplies.

In much the same way no grocery would sell unrefrigerated meat or expired cartons of milk, no patient should receive substandard quality and possibly life-threatening drugs.

However, with so many hands handling products, the risk of human error is great. Fortunately, there is a solution that can help with this: investing in a reliable real time monitoring system to guarantee the supply chain visibility and product security required.