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5 Ways a Cold Storage Facility is Different from a Warehouse

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Sometimes new clients will reach out to book space in our cold storage facilities thinking that they’re basically warehouses with extra air conditioning units. While they’re not totally wrong, there’s a lot more to building a reliable cold chain than temperature alone. Here are just a few differentiators:

The System for More Precise Climate Controls

Though many warehouses have heating and air conditioning systems to provide comfort to employees and minimize damage to goods, having large openings to ship and receive freight as well as a typical layout of huge, open spaces for storage leads to large fluctuations in temperature throughout the year and even across any given day. But goods stored in cold storage facilities must experience a much narrower range in temperature and moisture fluctuation. This is ensured by redundant climate control systems as a contingency. Though these systems work similarly to a typical AC unit, their power output requires specially engineered equipment that altogether can be as large as a midsize family home. This, paired with a separate area for shipping and receiving that works similarly to a vestibule in any retail location, creates a more stable environment for sensitive materials.

The Products Typically Found Inside

Warehouses store basically everything available for purchase, but cold storage can fill particular needs to ensure quality in typical cold storage items such as frozen and refrigerated foods as well as pharmaceuticals. There are several other products that fall into cold storage including:

  • Fresh and processed foods and nutritional supplements
  • Biopharmaceuticals including medicines, vaccines, blood samples, IVs, and medical devices
  • Flowers, plants, seeds, fungi, and other materials found in nature
  • Fur, wool, hides, and other organic textiles
  • Historically significant artifacts such as books, artwork, films, and more
  • Makeup, cologne, lotions, and other cosmetics
  • Temperature-sensitive craft goods like candles, crayons, or clay
  • Chemicals that require cold storage to inhibit reactivity
  • Sensitive, specialized instruments like aircraft components
  • And more!

The Need for Heightened Quality Control

Products are stored in a cold storage facility because they are more delicate. They require exacting circumstances to provide customers with a quality product. As such, it’s common for cold storage facilities to be havens for a focus on quality control standards. This can include value-added services for quality checks, but it also means a commitment to tracking warehousing principles such as FIFO with more precision to continually deliver quality merchandise.

The Timeliness of Inventory Management

Timeliness is important for inventory management of all products, which is why logistics practices have created the just in time methodology. But for many products in a cold storage facility like medication, plant matter, or foodstuffs, their shelf life is often much shorter, thereby compressing every step in the process from manufacture to delivery. Timing your inventory management takes a team of professionals capable of getting your product where it needs to be on time every time frequently in specialized packaging. So, everything moves just a little more quickly and strategically.

The Competition to Find Space

If you’re working in an industry that requires cold storage, it’s likely you already know how difficult it can be to find space for your products. Between the elevated consumer demand for fresh foods over preserved, a growing population, increased spending per capita, and the complexity of building a new cold storage facility, things continue to grow more difficult. The good news is more facilities are being built all the time. Our number one tip is to find space in warehouses before they’re built if your business is going to need a lot of space or has specialized needs. It can often get you a reduced price by getting in early, too!

In many ways, working with a cold storage facility can be vastly different from a typical warehouse. It requires a different level of precision, as do the products within. If you’d like to learn more about how you could have a different experience with a third party cold chain partner, reach out to our team.

Tags: Cold Storage, Warehousing

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