‘The cold chain sector has work to do – and quickly’

The cold chain sector underestimates the impact of last mile delivery, Good Distribution Practice (GDP) and global warming, according to the ‘Cold Chain Change’ survey by VebaBox Cool Solutions. The sector has not yet woken up to the urgency of these major changes in the cold chain, however, causing a severe lack of efficiency in existing supply chains.

VebaBox describes the outcome of the study as “striking”, especially in view of the ever-increasing demands made on product safety, the far-reaching wants and needs of consumers and the fact that refrigerated transport is forecast to triple worldwide.

The most important industry trends emerging from the study are the stricter legislative and regulatory requirements as well as rising costs. Other trends mentioned by respondents were the ever-greater consumer expectations and the increased liability of manufacturers.

Although the sector is aware of the impactful market developments, only 25% of the organizations surveyed said they have a strategic plan to deal with the changes. “There seems to be a lack of urgency for a strategic approach to the cold chain, which is worrying – especially because there are so many external factors influencing existing processes,” says VebaBox’s Managing Director Roland van de Ven. “The sector has work to do – and quickly.”

Challenges not reflected in budgets

The changing market presents many challenges. For example, half of the respondents said they were struggling to balance costs with excellent customer service. Other stumbling blocks are customer satisfaction and dealing with stricter legislation. However, companies are very interested in investments to improve customer satisfaction, quality, safety and, to a lesser extent, sustainability.

Despite this, VebaBox’s study reveals that only 21% of the organizations have actually set aside a budget to meet these challenges. Perhaps they should seriously consider doing so because, according to the small group of pioneers surveyed that are consciously working on optimizing effectiveness, they benefit from a more optimal and efficient process with much higher customer satisfaction, fewer cold chain breaks and a focus on sustainability.