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If you work in a cold storage warehouse that deals with pharmaceuticals, food storage, or other sensitive products, you know what kind of problem a change in temperature can cause.

Surely, someone somewhere on your warehousing staff has made the old reliable dad joke of “well, if it’s cold outside…”, and they may be closer to the truth than you’re expecting. Cold winter months can have a pretty major effect on the conditions both inside and outside your warehouse, and if you deal in products that need specific temperature controls this can start to become an issue.

Take, for example, the loading dock. Imagine you’ve got a shipment of frozen foods or temperature-sensitive medical goods on their way to your warehouse. On the drive there, the refrigerated truck will do most of the work, but once they arrive you’ll have to be careful for temperature shock. Loading docks tend to be pretty inconsistent in temperature, as they have a large and hard-to-insulate door leading right outside, but the shipping/receiving area right inside tends to be overly warm as it’s the first point of contact with the outside world during the colder months.

Accordingly, you should make sure no perishable goods or temperature-sensitive items get affected by the change in heat when they come indoors. If you have a workstation set up near the loading dock for a shipping/receiving area, make sure to minimize the amount of time the products spend in the heat. This may require a little streamlining of your product check-in process, but the benefits will be worth it when you have less product damage to worry about.

Even inside the more normalized temperatures of the warehouse itself, you’ll need to reduce the products’ exposure to the warm air in the warehouse, where the heat is probably turned up in response to the conditions outside. Products that quickly thaw and get re-frozen (once they reach the food storage freezer) are subject to freezer burn and potential spoilage or contamination, so be sure to use tools that can transport the goods more quickly like forklifts, wire utility carts, and gravity conveyors to prevent the risk of temperature damage on the way to their final destination.

Once at the freezer, the warm air outside still poses a risk to your inventory, even if it’s safely tucked away inside the freezer. Once your goods are inside the cold storage area, make sure they’re all safely arranged on an appropriate storage solution like food storage shelves or rust proof shelves that can handle the colder conditions. Leave space between each item (or each shrink-wrapped package of items, depending on how they’ve been packaged and shipped) to allow for proper airflow. This is to ensure everything gets the right temperature (and to prevent cross-contamination), and to make sure your team is properly trained on how long to keep the door open and how to prevent air from getting out of the cold storage area.

With these tips in mind, hopefully your perishable and temperature-sensitive goods will be better prepared for the long winter months to come!

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