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Understanding Warehouse Temperature: Seasonal Changes

Last month, we posed the question: ”Is knowing the temperature of your warehouse like alchemy?” because that’s something that we ask ourselves here at Dickson all too often. This question inevitably lead to more questions about warehouse mapping, and honestly, answers are hard to come by. Temperature mapping your warehouse, whether that be a medical device, pharmaceutical, or food warehouse, is a tricky science.

So, we’ve decided to tackle all those questions one-by-one. Last month we analyzed how the bay door, or loading dock, influences the temperature of your warehouse. This month, we are taking a look at seasonal changes. Thus, this is the second article in our series of posts titled, ”Understanding Warehouse Temperature.” Hopefully by the end of this series, we will have given you a lot of new information on the delicate science of warehouse temperature mapping.

Check back in to see next month’s blog post, (and also in March issue of Dickson Insights) for the third article in this series, or go to to read all of the posts before they are published.

"So, what’s the deal with seasonal changes?"

First, we’d like to ask you to agree with us on a simple fact: the temperature outside influences the temperature inside. For warehouses (and anything besides an incubator) this is a fact! We get a lot of readers who imagine their medical device warehouse functions as a vacuum to all outside negative conditions. We’ve been to dozens of warehouses. Trust us, it does not.

If we can agree that the temperature outside has an effect on the temperature inside your warehouse, then we can also agree that it has an effect on the products moving in and out of your warehouse. Our first question: ”What happens when the temperature outside of your warehouse changes?”

For many in the U.S., February is winter’s last gasp of cold air, before March and April finally bring some much needed warm weather relief. That change in temperature, from bitter cold to warm(er) and rainy, leads to changes in the products coming into your warehouse, and the products being shipped out of your warehouse. Even if that change is subtle, it still exists.

Dealing with that change is the challenge. Here’s what we recommend:

Temperature map your facility multiple times a year. We argue 3-4 times is best, depending on the climate that you inhabit. For those San Diego-ians, maybe twice a year is enough. However, if you experience all four seasons, you should map your warehouse a minimum of four times. Track that data, analyze it, and adjust the temperature monitoring and HVAC controls in your warehouse accordingly.

Account for windows, doors, and loading docks. The biggest problem spots when it comes to seasonal changes: these are how heat and cold get into your warehouse, so be wary of them. Place a temperature monitor at these locations all year round, and then check to make sure the temperature swings aren’t too drastic when things turn from hot to cold, and then back again.

Check the MKT of your shipments frequently. Seasonal changes will affect the temperature of your shipments, both incoming and outgoing. So, place a data logger in a batch of your products with each large shipment, and compute for MKT to check how temperature affected.