With outdoor temperatures in the United States varying wildly throughout the year, and indoor temperatures not always ideal for some merchandise, it can often be important for businesses to find temperature-controlled fulfillment services for certain items in their product lines. Not to be confused with cold chain fulfillment, temperature-controlled fulfillment is warehousing kept at a certain temperature to ensure that a variety of non-refrigerated products remain fresh and intact year-round.
Products stored in temperature-controlled warehouses typically stay within a range of the low 60’s or 70’s. Temperature controlled storage is ideal for products that don’t need refrigeration but will lose product integrity if they become too cold or too hot. Storing these products within a specific temperature range ensures that products like health and nutrition products, cosmetics, oils, chocolates, lotions and other items maintain their shape and consistency even while in storage.
FDA Requirements for Climate Controlled Goods
Not only does temperature-controlled warehousing ensure that products in storage remain intact, it also helps to keep those products compliant with FDA (Food and Drug Administration) requirements for health, food, and nutrition products. Unfortunately, not all warehouses are created equal – and not just any facility can help with FDA compliance. To achieve FDA compliance, a temperature-controlled fulfillment center must be registered with the FDA in order to store these products and they must meet the FDA’s own set of strict requirements.
To earn the FDA approval to store FDA controlled products, temperature-controlled fulfillment centers must go above and beyond simply setting their thermostat to the correct range. They must meet other stringent requirements according to the FDA, including, “storage areas designed to provide adequate lighting, ventilation, temperature, sanitation, humidity, space, equipment, and security conditions,” and have ironclad pest control in place such as Orkin Platinum Service, which is the golden standard and highest level of pest control available in the warehousing industry.
Temperature controlled fulfillment centers must also meet cleanliness standards that fall within prespecified FDA guidelines (“Be maintained in a clean and orderly condition”), have maintenance teams in place for general maintenance and maintenance emergencies, and have strict security in place for both the FDA approved areas and the rest of the warehouse.
Going Above and Beyond FDA Standards
But while most temperature-controlled fulfillment centers do follow these minimum guidelines, a select few others take these requirements to heart and go the extra mile for businesses requiring temperature-controlled services. One such company is Carol Stream, Illinois-based Shipfusion.
Real-time Weather Updates to Adjust for Temperature Fluctuations
Shipfusion provides online businesses with high-level e-commerce order fulfillment services, including temperature-controlled storage. In order for climate-controlled fulfillment companies to deliver best in class services they must demand more from their temperature control processes than just the bare minimum FDA requirements. For example, Shipfusion has direct integration with The Weather Network. This enables them to see and address the weather forecast not just in real-time, but in preparation for the future, so that they’re never left scrambling to adjust the temperature controls both within the warehouse and in their delivery vehicles. In fact, they not only monitor their own internal temperature, they look at the temperature and five-day forecast in the zip codes their deliveries will both travel through and be delivered to- and plan accordingly.
This allows Shipfusion to set a temperature threshold for their designated delivery area and package goods according to the forecast. If for example a shipment is headed to Tucson and its going to be 90 degrees in Tucson during delivery week, they will not only pack the merchandise to be delivered in insulated packaging, but they will also upgrade the delivery timelines from five-day to two-day. This ensures that products are exposed to the least possible amount of climate variance, which in turn will improve their odds of being delivered in excellent condition.
Smart Thermostats for Proactive Notifications
Another way companies that focus on temperature-sensitive goods are winning the war against climate variation is by equipping their warehouses with smart thermostats which will trigger alerts if the temperature in the warehouse falls below or above a prespecified threshold. This enables workers to adjust settings accordingly to keep merchandise intact, or to be notified if a system fails.
Air-Conditioned Facilities with Different Temperature Ranges
Finally, another innovative way Shipfusion is meeting the varying needs of its clients is to provide air-conditioned units which are specifically set to temperatures that work best with the products being stored, so not all units will have the same temperature. Storing protein powder? Your merchandise may not be kept in the same unit as gummy vitamins or lip balm. Storing CBD oil? Your product may require an entirely different temperature and warehouse than false eyelashes or mints. Offering temperature specific warehousing enables your merchandise to be stored at the exact temperature needed for optimum product life.
Choosing the Right Climate-Controlled Warehouse
With temperature-controlled fulfillment, your climate-sensitive products stay fresher, longer. All products are kept within FDA compliant ranges, and the utmost care and concern allows for your merchandise to arrive safely and in its promised condition to the end user. With the right multi-channel fulfillment company that focuses on climate-controlled fulfillment, you never have to worry about “weather or not” your merchandise will survive the increasingly unpredictable climate variances that are becoming more and more commonplace.