Big data has become a seminal part of virtually every major industry in our economy today. The role of big data in advertising and social media has become a source of public attention due to the privacy concerns it represents. However, big data’s important impact on other spheres is often less understood.
In particular, the ability of companies to gather, organize and analyze large datasets substantially shifted their capacity to understand consumers, service customers, and create comprehensive logistics systems. One of the best examples of the applications of big data for enterprise companies is its ability to surveil and secure supply chains. This gives supply chain managers the ability to quickly recognize logistics issues and correct them before products or consumers are harmed.
At the forefront of this application of big data is the use of IoT devices and data loggers to monitor the efficiency and safety of global supply chains by implementing temperature mapping strategies. Temperature mapping and data logging have also revolutionized the ability of climate scientists and environmental groups to monitor weather patterns and changes in the climate.
Despite the disruptive effects of big data and temperature mapping, many executives are still unclear about how to leverage these advantages to enhance quality control standards and improve operational efficiency. That said, let’s consider how organizations can understand temperature mapping protocols and their significant benefits.
The Role of Data Loggers in Supply Chain Management
Data loggers are small electronic devices that collect and record environmental data such as temperature, differential pressure, and humidity. They have disrupted the fields of environmental monitoring and supply chain management since they are significantly more accurate than their analog predecessors, such as thermometers. Data loggers can also operate in a largely automated manner, which limits the time commitment required by managers to monitor environmental conditions.
One of the most prevalent use cases for data loggers is in supply chain management and setting up a temperature mapping protocol. Many different types of products must be shipped or transported in very specific conditions to maintain quality assurance standards. For example, the food and beverage industry must store food products at low temperatures to prevent them from expiring and keep them fresh while they reach consumers.
This can be a challenging task since many food products must cross national borders and pass through a range of different storage facilities before reaching retailers and consumers. Moreover, even minor lapses in the conditions of storage facilities can result in catastrophic results such as foodborne illness crises and public health problems.
Catching problems with storage conditions can be quite tricky, which is why data loggers are so helpful. By setting up data loggers in all storage facilities that products pass through and setting up a temperature mapping protocol, managers can keep a continuous record of the temperatures that food products are exposed to. These temperatures can be stored in data loggers and later exported to external computers where they can be analyzed and secured using powerful software.
As a result, if there is any lapse in the supply chain or storage infrastructure that exposes products to unsafe temperatures, it can be identified and addressed in a timely manner. Moreover, supply chain managers can introduce procedures that ensure that all food products are easily traceable so that potential foodborne illness outbreaks can be quickly traced back to faulty storage facilities.
The pharmaceutical industry uses data loggers in a similar way since many medical products are also extremely temperature sensitive and must be kept in controlled storage conditions. According to Dickson Data, the term ‘pharmaceutical cold chain’ refers to the practice of creating and maintaining a temperature-controlled supply chain system.
The cold chain management industry has become a particular area of interest for investors since it is necessary to safely transport COVID-19 vaccines to healthcare facilities and patients. In fact, the major COVID-19 vaccines on the market today must all be transported at low or ultra-low temperatures in order to prevent them from degrading.
How Data Loggers are Used in Temperature Mapping Protocols
Establishing a temperature mapping protocol is extremely important in cold chain management because temperatures in different areas of the same storage facility can vary significantly due to factors like sunlight, ventilation, and storage unit placement. As a result, a single data logger placed in one part of a storage facility might not accurately reflect the temperature of the unit at large.
To solve this problem, cold chain managers set up several data loggers within each storage unit to get an idea of the range of temperatures present in each facility. These different temperatures can then be mapped on a visual interface, giving managers the assurance that products are being kept in safe conditions.
In the case of internet-connected data loggers, these temperature maps can even be updated in real time. Some data loggers can be programmed to send alerts to managers if temperatures within any part of any storage unit deviate from safe ranges.
For many companies, creating a temperature mapping protocol is not merely a practice to uphold quality assurance standards, but also a regulatory and public health necessity. In fact, regulators demand that many companies that operate cold chain infrastructure actually collect, format, and submit temperature data to regulatory authorities. Temperature mapping protocols are a great way to maintain accurate records of temperature data and minimize regulatory liabilities.
Temperature Mapping Best Practices and Specific Protocols
One of the most important aspects of establishing temperature mapping protocols is to have an up-front, detailed plan regarding exactly which facilities will be mapped and how many data loggers will be used. You must also determine the specific models of data loggers that will be used and make sure they are in compliance with regulatory requirements. An acceptable temperature range must be established, and the level of detail of each temperature map should be established beforehand.
Next, you should set up data loggers in carefully considered locations that will provide an accurate temperature map of each storage unit throughout daily use. It’s often best to set up all data loggers at once if possible to prevent the need for adding or removing data loggers in the future.
You will want to make sure that your data logger’s connection to an external computer system or cloud storage provider is working properly. Whether your data logger will transmit data over the internet or through a USB connection, it’s important to verify that data is being transferred quickly and accurately.
Finally, after collecting temperature data, you should use data analysis software to closely examine the data, as well as format it so that you can submit data to regulators. Some data analysis software can even use machine learning algorithms to help to discover irregularities or patterns in the data you collect.
To sum up, it’s clear that temperature mapping protocols are vitally important for many industries to consider since they facilitate compliance with regulations and protect consumers. Taking a thoughtful, careful approach to implementing these protocols will benefit any firm, especially those in need of a reliable cold chain management strategy.