Case Study: Evaluating the Benefits of Cold Chain Logistics

Smithers Pira was approached by a food products manufacturer to evaluate the value of cold chain logistics for their product. The study was used to determine whether investment in a refrigerated distribution network would be necessary to preserve the integrity of their product.

The Challenge

A food product manufacturer, who had recently acquired a new food product, was faced with the decision to invest in a refrigerated distribution network for the product, they had to evaluate the supply chain system that had originally been put in place and determine whether it was necessary for them to investment in the same system. The manufacturer did not currently have the refrigerated system in their own network so the addition of a new transportation system and warehousing would mean a significant financial investment. However, there was little evidence to confirm that refrigeration provided any added benefit to the integrity of the food product.

Testing : Temperature-Controlled Vibration                                                       

In order to predict the reaction of the food product when exposed to non-refrigerated conditions, the Smithers Pira team was able to design a test program which combined ISTA 3H Steel Spring Truck Random Vibration testing and temperature cycling ranging from ambient conditions of 23°C (73°F) up to elevated temperatures of 49°C (120°F). Thermal packaging was fashioned to wrap the food product while being subjected to the testing. Utilizing temperature-controlled vibration helped to establish a range of conditions that the food product would face within a non-refrigerated supply chain. At the conclusion of the tests, the product was inspected for damage such as cracking, smudging or blooming.

The Conclusion

In the end, after undergoing temperature and transit testing the product was able to maintain its integrity and was not adversely effected by the lack of a refrigerated system. With laboratory testing, the manufacturer was able to accelerate their go-to-market timeline and feel confident that their decision to proceed without the addition of a refrigerated network would not result in any negative impact on their product’s integrity. In total, the manufacturer was able to initiate the project with Smithers Pira, undergo lab testing and make a sound business decision within 20 business days. 

For more information on Distribution and Package Testing, click here.