The need for cold storage has been around since about the time humankind figured out you could make food and materials last longer by keeping them on ice. Of course, it’s grown far more sophisticated since then, and now we have entire warehouses and facilities devoted to cold storage of a variety of items.
If you’re considering getting into the cold storage business, or if you already operate a cold storage warehouse and need to find ways to streamline operations and improve performance, we’ve got five tips you can keep an eye out for:
Be careful how you divide space: One of the biggest concerns in regards to cold storage is the proper management of temperature. Not only will this impact the quality and safety of the goods you’re storing (which, in many cases, are food products) this can also have a massive impact on your energy bill and the equipment in your workplace as your refrigerators will be working harder to maintain proper temperature. For warehouses that require multiple temperature zones, consider either industrial freezers or modular curtain walls to maintain consistent temperature divisions across each area and ensure product freshness.
Remember FIFO: As you’re probably aware, FIFO stands for “first in, first out” and is a fairly standard method of tracking product movement throughout warehouses. It’s doubly important with cold storage simply based on the idea that the longer an item stays unsold, the more likely it is to spoil and become unsafe and unsellable. Keep track of both expiration dates and the date a product was received so you can rotate oldest stock out to be sold first, or disposed of if needed.
Make sure your storage is up to it: Even if your freezers/cold zones have been properly divided and set up, you need to make sure you’re using the right kind of industrial storage for these colder environments. A lot of wire shelving and NSF shelving can be used to store goods like food and medicine that might require colder environments a lot more safely than other types of materials, preventing rust and damage. Make sure your shelves and storage solutions can handle the cold before you set up your freezer sections.
Be vigilant about product handling: Moreso than the order in which the products are handled, the way they’re handled can make a huge difference. Make sure none of your shipments arrive with tears or damage to the packaging, and make sure they were kept at a consistent temperature during the entire shipping process – even the slightest change in temperature can greatly increase a product’s chances of spoilage and will need to be removed from coming into contact with the other products.
Constantly monitor temperature: It sounds pretty obvious, but you’d be surprised how many times this step can be skipped by accident. It’s absolutely critical that your freezer temp never drops down below the safely recommended threshold to keep your products safe, and whether you get some temperature alarms installed or use a regular employee schedule to monitor your temperatures (or both), you’re going to want to keep a constant, vigilant eye on your freezer temperatures.