Managing a cold storage warehouse is not an easy challenge. It requires advanced knowledge regarding the use of materials, equipment, and facilities. A cold storage warehouse needs to maintain a specific constant temperature. This is a specilized facility for specific type of goods.
The food industry is the commonly associated with a cold storage. However, cold storage is also vital part of other industries as well such as pharmaceuticals and petrochemicals. Even high-tech electronics use cold storage as well.
The need for cold storage continues to grow. As it grows, so does the need for proper solutions that will help keep the products cold. Also, to keep the operating costs from heating up.
Managing a Cold Storage Warehouse
A capable cold storage warehouse manager should be aware of what their frozen products would need. They should also know how to respond to critical issues.
Cold storage managers should know about almost everything inside and outside the warehouse. They are the ones in charge overseeing everything that goes on. They check things like cold storage freeze times and cold storage freezer equipment safety. They should be aware of what challenges face them and how to navigate through them. Facility managers are also responsible for their employees. They are in charge of overseeing their safety and also in making sure they are properly trained, motivated, and compensated for the job.
To avoid cold storage warehouse problems, good managers should always plan ahead.
General Challenges of a Cold Storage Warehouse
It is a huge burden for cold storage warehouse managers when taking care of daily business. They do this at the same time while coming up with different ways on how to improve handling challenges. These challenges range from strict regulations for food handling to rules for storage and temperature. There are other challenges as well. One example is maintaining the perfect temperature for proper food storage. Not to mention, also keeping the staff and equipment warm enough to perform at its peak. Your reputation, profits, and ultimate success depend on recognition and successful management of these.
Best Practices for Cold Storage Warehouse
Here are some of the best practices for cold storage warehouses.
Form a Good Contingency Plan
You can rarely fully predict what’s going to happen. So it would help if you start making contingency plans for almost any problem that could happen. Problems could happen at any point in the process like refrigeration units not working all of a sudden.
A contingency plan could save the cold storage for any kind of loss. You can have the best equipment, systems, or technology but things still could go wrong.
Contingency plan is basically a back up plan and strategies on how to map out an unexpected warehouse failures or event. Also, all parties and personnel must also be well aware and trained to execute the plan. It wouldn’t go well without coordination. In doing so, it can cover all areas without much problem.
Guarding Against Vulnerabilities
Cold storage handling, transportation, and delivery come with several crucial responsibilities. This means that every employee must be trained thoroughly for the job. All parties involved must have a strong partnership as well.
One of the biggest responsibility of managing a cold storage warehouse is monitoring the facilities temperature. Personnel in charge must know all aspect of temperature requirements. Being aware on how to keep thing in check is a big check for the employees. Any unwanted fluctuations in temperature might caused damages to the goods or products in the warehouse.
Heat Loss Control
High-density cold storage creates a smaller area to cool and an environment that minimizes heat loss. The amount of warmer air that enters the temperature-controlled area is also minimized by automated storage.
According to Bill Leber, director of business development for Swisslog, a small footprint, for instance, translates into a smaller roof. He added, “Since the roof is one of the places in an operation where air can escape, it literally pays to keep the area as small as possible”. If we’re talking about pallets, an automated system allows for the ingress and egress of pallets through a small opening that is immediately sealed once the pallet passes through.
With automated warehouses can now detect a sudden increase of heat inside storages and automatically implement actions to maintain the temperature inside. Most of these systems also sends alert to operators to encourage them have inspection.
Finding the Right Balance for Temperature Changes
A recurring theme in cold storage is energy savings. This is because it is more expensive to cool air than to heat it. Not to mention that there are different temperatures required for each different product.
Examples of different temperatures are stores at 55°F while dairy products are stored just above freezing at 34°F. Meanwhile, ice cream is stored at –10°F while the meat is stored just below freezing at 28°F.
According to the season, a modular curtain wall system might help warehouses that rely on numerous temperature zones. It is an option that is flexible, low-risk, and can go up, come down, and be moved from building to building. A single change to a cold room can help you realize cost savings, as refrigerated air is expensive.
Automate the Process
It is the most helpful tip for cold storage (and frozen food warehouse) management guide. The cost of labor, land, and energy increases yearly. This is good for operators as the economic climb makes it a best practice when looking into automation to control their costs. This process helps in controlled heat loss, maximum dense storage in each cube, and automated palletizing. Not only will you realize cost savings quickly, but you’ll also continue to save money in the long run.
Freezer spacer removal and freezer spacer insertion are automating material handling steps. These steps are technological improvements. These help every cold storage warehouse manager by reducing working time and improve the business’ bottom line. Every experienced cold storage manager will pass on the leading tip of automating the supply chain.
AKCP Wireless Remote Monitoring
Wireless Temperature Sensors
You can now remotely monitor you cold storage in real-time using AKCP Wireless Temperature sensors. These sensors are also durable with a long range and low power for battery life of up to 10 years. Distribute sensors around your cold storage warehouse and on racking. The sensors then will log and broadcast its gathered data into the, with regular intervals, to the nearest Wireless Tunnel Sensor Gateway. Logged data could be easily access through its user interface AKCPro Server Centralized Monitoring Software. Set thresholds that alert when temperature or humidity is outside of required parameters. The sensors broadcast immediately when threshold is exceeded.
AKCP Wireless Temperature sensors could also be installed in reefers or delivery trucks for live tracking and monitoring of refrigerated delivery vehicles with GPS link.
In desire to improve everyday’s operation we slowly developed these practices. It is inevitable however that issues can still arise no matter what. However, it is always possible to minimize or lessen the errors as long as everyone is prepared for them. As stated earlier, cold storage warehouse management is not an easy task to do. All parties involved must be aware of their roles and how to act and have a good partnership with one another. Relying in smart technology such as wireless monitoring could also bring us some relief, specially in operation cost.
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