Automation is a Response to Challenges in the Cold Chain

Automation is – A series on the challenges and opportunities in food logistics.

July 14, 2021

Today’s cold chain economy is under greater pressure than at any other time in our history. The pandemic injected volatility and accelerated the already-present need for change in our operations. The food supply chain industry rose to the occasion, working through restrictions and navigating disruptions to continuously ensure food gets to consumers around the world, safely and efficiently. But factors such as unpredictable labor shortages, shifting delivery models, sustainability mandates and increased transparency around food safety are outpacing traditional practices. Fortunately, as an industry, the solution to many of these issues can be found by making an investment in automation and artificial intelligence (AI) and weaving them into traditional operations.

However, incorporating technology into existing workspaces isn’t a plug-and-play process. There are many considerations that can complicate adoption if they aren’t approached with clear intentions. Some of these include understanding how new technologies partner with existing technologies, mitigating the risks of securing and prioritizing investments, and navigating new relationships between employees and technology.

At Lineage Logistics, we’ve developed a clear and effective approach to incorporating automation and tech into our global network. Over the next several weeks, we will outline how automation, IoT and AI can be used to address some of our industry’s biggest challenges and what businesses need to consider when navigating this significant evolution.

To begin, we have identified four challenges we think companies need to consider:

  • Challenge 1: Finding Answers for Labor Shortages and Volatility. The unpredictability of available labor in the supply chain has led companies to search for more agile, tech-based solutions.
  • Challenge 2: Defining the Cold Chain’s Role in the Era of Instant Gratification. Increased consumer choices and product variety, combined with the mainstream usage of home delivery, has altered traditional cold chain upward movements.
  • Challenge 3: Converting the Cold Chain Into a Sustainable and Energy Efficient Industry. Noticeable climate change and government regulations necessitate the need for the supply chain to reduce its worldwide environmental impact.
  • Challenge 4: The Need to Decrease Waste and Increase Food Safety. As the cold chain moves faster than ever, the industry needs to find ways to achieve food optimization while simultaneously working in partnership inside and outside of the food supply chain to reduce food waste.

Lineage believes in the benefit of having this conversation. As we continually seek out best practices, provide a safety-first culture for Team Members and strive to provide flawless service to our customers, engaging in an open dialogue and learning from each other’s successes is the best way to meet our main objective: transforming the food supply chain to feed the world.

In our next post, we’ll examine how the cold chain is dealing with worldwide labor shortages. As the food supply chain navigates the complexities of how to move more product than ever with less labor, we’ll share how Lineage has adapted to ensure uninterrupted service to our customers.