Consumers always remain and should be conscious of dairy, meat and other food products. Thus, storing these products and maintaining their quality becomes essential. Companies manufacturing these products take preventive measures to keep them safe. However, the manufacturers use cold storage warehouse instead of refrigerators to store food products.
A cold storage is a commercial building or facility where edible food products like fruits, vegetables, meat, fish, etc. are stored under extreme environmental conditions. These food products are stored under controlled conditions for a long period of time. Cold storages have such extreme conditions that we need special gear to be inside them. On the basis of storage conditions, there are 3 types of cold storage:
- Short-term/temporary storage
- Long-term storage
- Frozen storage
In short-term and long-term storages, products are cooled and stored at a certain temperature above the freezing point. The storage temperature depends on the product. In general, it is between 2°C – 16°C. Short-term storage is usually used by retailers like supermarkets, where the product is expected to give rapid turnover. The storage period varies from 1-15 days.
Long-term storage is used by large-scale cold storage facility, where the storage period depends on the type of product and the condition in which it is brought to the storage. The storage period can last for 7-10 days for sensitive products like tomatoes and 6-8 months for other products like onions and potatoes.
Frozen storage is used to store food products for longer periods, even few years. Some fresh food products like tomatoes cannot be stored in frozen storages. The storage temperatures in these storages usually lies between -23°C to -12°C.
Cold store warehouse
A cold store warehouse is a building or facility limited to specific environmental conditions used to keep food products safe. They like just like other warehouses; however, differ from inside. These warehouses demand extra maintenance and surveillance with respect to temperature and heat exchange.
Usually, products that can get easily damaged at normal room temperature are stored in a cold storage. Various items stored in a cold storage are:
- Food products like dairy products, meat, fruits, vegetables, ice creams, etc.
- Flowers and plants
- It includes statues and sculptures made up of natural colors and fibers.
- Pharmaceutical products like medicines and food supplements
The storage temperature of a cold storage warehouse depends on the need as optimum conditions of two products can never be same. Vegetables need to be stored at a temperature of 12°C, ice cream at a temperature of -23.3°C.
There are different sections in a cold storage warehouse to meet the demands of all kinds of products. These sections are kept at different environmental conditions. However, large scale warehouses are dedicated to just one kind of environment to store a specific product.
Types of cold storage warehouse
- Refrigerated containers: This is the most basic and effective type of cold storage warehouse. They provide us the best solution to store temperature sensitive products in small quantities. They are compact in size and have the flexibility of mobility.
- Blast freezers and chillers: These type of cold storage warehouses is ideal for those companies or manufacturers who have to store and cool their products before it is delivered to the end customers. However, even large restaurants and catering companies use these warehouses.
- Cold rooms: These are large rooms to store things in a cold environment. This type of warehouses is an alternative to the ones discussed above.
- Pharmaceutical grade cold storage warehouse: This type of warehouses is packed with features that is mostly used by hospitals and research institutes. They can store bio-pharmaceuticals, blood, and even vaccines.
- Plant attached cold storage warehouse: This type of cold storage warehouse is used by those manufacturers or companies who want to keep in-house cold storage warehouse. The products are transferred using a conveyor belt from the manufacturing site to a dedicated on-site cold storage warehouse.
- Dedicated custom cold storage warehouse: Some companies or manufacturers have complicated requirements because of the nature of the products they manufacture. These dedicated warehouses are preferred by those who want to avoid the cost of having a cold storage warehouse, and instead need a custom cold storage warehouse provided by third-party logistics companies.
Advantages of cold storage warehouse
- Prevents products from damage: Most of the manufacturing centers are not located near to the final destination. Thus, keeping the products safe becomes essential. In such cases, cold storage warehouses help store these products safely and also save the manufacturers from a huge amount of loss due to product’s spoilage.
- Employment: We need professionals and skilled employees to manage a cold storage warehouse. Each warehouse has its own dedicated team to manage stock, check the products and control the environmental conditions. This way, cold storage warehouses create great employment opportunities for many people.
- Increases effectiveness: Every company cannot bear to have their own cold storage warehouse as it would demand a lot of space, time and money. Third-party warehouses help companies save money and time spent in storing the products.
- Supply chain logistics: Logistics is the process of delivering manufactured products to the end consumers. It involves various steps from manufacturing to transportation. It also involves warehousing that helps streamline the whole process. These cold storage warehouses are like a small station that provide short-term storage of products.
How to efficiently manage a cold storage warehouse?
The expansion of logistics industry has increased the demand and the need for optimum management of cold storage warehouses. Here are discussed some tips that top-class warehouses use:
- Storage temperature is an essential part of cold storage warehouses. Thus, it is important to monitor the changes in temperature periodically.
- The conditions inside a cold store warehouse are extreme. That is why, people entering into them must be wearing suitable equipment.
- To improve the performance of cold storage warehouses, use latest technologies like robots, IoT (Internet of Things), e-commerce, etc.
- In warehouses, tons of stock are exchanged on a daily basis, which can easily create confusion in numbers. Thus, it is important to maintain the stock records with extreme care.