Sometimes knowing what NOT to do is better than knowing what to do. The overload of information on how to validate your warehouse, refrigerator, or incubator can leave one wondering if there is anything you can do incorrectly.
We promise, there is. We talked with our temperature and humidity mapping experts, who have mapped dozens of warehouses, refrigerators, transportation vehicles, incubators, etc., (in other words, if you need it mapped, they have mapped it before) on what are the most egregious temperature mapping mistakes they see on a regular basis. Here’s what they told us . . .
There is no pattern to the placement of loggers.
For reasons such as cost, time, or ignorance, our experts find this mistake happens all too often. When mapping a space for the first or hundredth time, you need to establish a pattern. The loggers should not be placed in random bunches, haphazardly across one plane, or sparingly throughout your most critical location. Take time, set out a plan, document that plan, and then execute it. You will attain much better data in the end.
They don't monitor on multiple levels.
If you have mapped anything recently, this point has probably been bashed into your brain enough. However, our experts still find storage facilities not monitoring on multiple planes. For example, they will walk into a warehouse, notice that temperature sensitive products are stacked to the ceiling, yet will see data loggers only at eye level. Ladders are a bit of a nuisance, but you should monitor on at least every plane that your products are on. The distance you should put in between your temperature recorders depends on how high you are stacking your products. Our experts stress the importance of the product height over the building height when you are concentrating on monitoring the correct planes. If a building is 30 feet tall, but your product is only stacked 12 feet high, focus your attention on that 12 feet.
They have alarm fatigue.
While you are mapping or re-mapping your facility, especially if you have products already in the facility, create alarms that actually mean something when they go off. Many temperature mapping data loggers have audio, visual, email, text, and phone call alarms, but not all of them may suitable for your temperature or humidity mapping project. We advise taking time to meet and think about who will receive what alarms, what these designated employees will do when the alarm is set off, and the level of importance of the alarms that you are setting. With the amount of beeps, buzzes, and sirens going off in your facility at one time, you don't want to not hear when your product is being compromised.
They don't monitor finished goods.
This is for all you manufacturers out there! Often companies will monitor the raw materials and the processes in their facilities, but not the actual finished goods. This seems a bit counter-intuitive to us. Once a product and process has finished, and all that work is complete, don't you want to ensure that the product has remained safe? Don't let the time, effort, and money you've invested go to waste by forgetting to place data loggers with the finished goods.
They don't monitor enough spots, or with enough loggers.
This is the most common mistake that we heard from the trenches. If you are going to undertake a temperature mapping project, you shouldn't do it half way. While cost can be an issue, we would argue that the Return on investment is very, very good for a complete temperature mapping project. Failed audits, lost product, and lost materials can all be avoided, or at least limited, by undertaking a temperature mapping project in your warehouse.
If up-front cost is an issue, specifically for temperature mapping supplies, try to map your facility in stages. This will take a more thoroughly thought out validation plan, but we think it is worth it. We all tend to believe that temperature is more uniform than it really is. The temperature at your bay door is probably not the same as the temperature at your HVAC outputs. Don't believe us? Try this: place a data logger by a window in your house, and then place one in the center of a room. Compare. The window logger will have much larger temperature swings, we guarantee it. The same concept holds true for your warehouse. You may have problem spots and just not know it yet. Get more loggers, map more spots.