The cold chain logistics industry is a tough environment in which success requires selecting the right equipment while keeping costs in line, according to industry professionals.
“Of all the different manufacturers and transportation logistics companies and wholesale distributors that we work with, the cold chain is certainly one of the most challenging environments from an equipment standpoint,” said Tim Wills, chief marketing officer at Peak-Ryzex Inc.
Wills was part of a fireside chat with Larry Klimczyk, president of the Americas region at FarEye, during the FreightWaves Cold Chain Summit on Friday. “Inside the Four Walls of Cold Chain Mobility” was the topic of the virtual session.
“Ruggedization — hardware built to handle harsh environments — in the warehouse, in the distribution center, on the manufacturing floor in these cold chain environments is so key,” Wills said.
Wills gave an example of touch-screen technology that needs to be adapted for cold storage facilities.
“Does the mobile device have buttons? Or is it touch screen? A lot of the workers in cold chain environments are wearing gloves. Buttons and the size of the buttons on these, they seem like very trivial decision points, but they’re very important to maintaining an efficient operation,” Wills said.
Columbia, Maryland-based Peak-Ryzex is a provider of digital supply chain and mobile workforce solutions. The company, founded in 1981, operates across North America and Europe.
Wills said other trends Peak-Ryzex is seeing in cold chain mobility are changes in technology, business drivers, and regulatory and safety issues.
“If you think about rugged mobility, using bar code scanning devices on your premises in your supply chain, many of the devices that are likely being used may still be running an older Windows operating system platform, which is now end of the life, or end of service, for most editions,” Wills said.
Wills recommended that people in the cold chain logistics industry think about “the road map to move to an Android-based operating system on these devices that cold chain customers are using in the supply chain that will get you to the current versions of Android, allow you to have support, etc.”
In May, Peak-Ryzex announced a partnership with India-based FarEye, a predictive logistics platform that enables enterprises to orchestrate, track and optimize their logistics operations.
The aim of the partnership with FarEye is to extend Peak-Ryzex’s digital supply chain and mobile workforce portfolio beyond the manufacturing floor and warehouse/distribution center to the point of final delivery, Wills said.
FarEye’s Klimczyk discussed field mobility, logistics and last-mile delivery in the cold chain industry during the fireside chat.
“Inside the cold chain warehouse, it’s a tough job, but at the end of the day we have to get these products, be it foods or pharmaceuticals or others, to that end destination, whether it’s a customer or maybe a retail location,” Klimczyk said.
Klimczyk added that enterprises need to be aware of all the costs associated with the cold chain supply chain, especially last mile, which can account for 40% of operating costs.
“When I look at the warehousing, the sorting, the picking side, it tends to be about 13% to 20% in total costs, so maybe roughly 33% of the process costs are sitting inside the four walls,” Klimczyk said. “But when you then look at what’s the cost of that last-mile delivery, it’s well over 40%.”
Cold chain professionals need to be considering how to ensure that customers get the highest level of service while also controlling or lowering that large cost factor.
Klimczyk said last-mile costs can be reduced through route optimization, creating an efficient workflow process and maintaining communication with customers.
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