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Product integrity means everything for food and pharmaceutical companies.  When you entrust these products to a third-party logistics (3PL) provider, you need to have full confidence in its ability to maintain that integrity throughout every aspect of the warehousing operation.  For products that require climate-controlled storage, you’ll find that an extra layer of scrutiny is warranted to ensure that your products are kept both fresh and safe.

What is climate-controlled storage?

In the climate-controlled warehouse, both temperature and humidity are managed to meet product specifications.  The 3PL warehouse will often have separated sections, each with different temperature and humidity ranges.  It is the 3PL’s duty to maintain each section’s climate within acceptable tolerances.

Questions to ask when looking for a provider

climate-controlled storage While different food and pharma products can have very different requirements, asking these general questions can help determine a 3PL’s ability to effectively perform climate-controlled storage.

Are you compliant with food and pharma regulations?
This question deserves to be front and center, because product safety is highly-regulated with severe consequences for non-compliance – in terms of penalties and, more importantly, public health risks.  For  food warehousing , you want to make sure the provider is in compliance with all relevant Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) requirements, including Food Safety Plans (FSP) and Hazard Analysis and Risk-based Preventive Controls (HARPC).  For pharmaceutical warehousing , you’ll need to make sure the provider follows Current Good Manufacturing Practice (CGMP) standards.

Do you have adequate space to store your products?
The facility should be clean and have adequate space for storage that also allows for maintenance, and inspection. It should have adequate lighting, ventilation, and environmental conditions for the products being stored.  There should also be a quarantine area for items that have expired or otherwise can no longer be used.

Do you have adequate equipment to manage climate?
When dealing with a climate-controlled space, large cooling units must be placed strategically throughout that space to maintain the desired range throughout. Factors such as ceiling height, insulation density, and the warehouse’s building material(s) help to determine the quantity and placement of cooling units.

However, having the right number of cooling units in the right places is only half of the equation.  Climate-controlled warehouse space must be monitored 24/7 to ensure that temperature and humidity levels stay within spec.  For Kanban’s spaces and equipment, we have our own internal monitoring system but also enjoy the added security of being monitored by an external company simultaneously.

Is there back-up equipment?
In the event of a power outage, you’ll need to make sure that the provider has the equipment and capability to get operations up and running again quickly.

Lastly, don’t forget the importance of the “eye test.” Tour the operation and ask the tough questions: about the accuracy of monitoring gauges, temperature reporting, training for associates, and alert processes when temperature readings fall out of range.  Look for a full understanding of the issues not only from executives, but from the associates on the floor.

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Kanban offers climate-controlled storage space at our fully-RF-enabled warehouses in Plymouth and our recently-upgraded Rocky Mount, NC facility which now offers 70,000 square feet of climate-controlled space. We are one of the very few logistics providers in eastern North Carolina that can provide these services for both food and pharmaceutical products – providing full traceability down to the lot level.

Kanban adheres to all FSMA and CGMP regulations and voluntarily undergoes audits from AIB International with consistent superior ratings.  Kanban is also  ISO-9001:2015-certified  which allows us to consistently deliver quality to our customers, while continually optimizing performance across the board.

To learn more about Kanban’s warehousing capabilities, contact us today .

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