Is knowing the temperature of your warehouse like alchemy? That's something I ask myself, and the wonderful people in the Dickson office, all too often. Other things that come up: Why is it so hard to map a warehouse? Where are the accepted standards? What kind of coffee are we drinking today? Are these accepted standards really correct? Is it organic coffee? What about the "monitor on three planes" model? Is that still in use?
These questions inevitably lead to more questions, and honestly, the 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. This is the first article in our series of posts titled, "Understanding Warehouse Temperatures." Check back in next month's issue of Dickson Insights for the next article in this series, or go to blog.dicksondata.com/tag/warehouse to read all of the posts before they are published.
"So, what's the deal with a bay door?"
We receive this question from our customers a lot, and after doing a bunch of research (90 years worth, in fact) we think we know the answer: accurate accountability. As with any unique part of your warehouse, the bay door, or loading dock, has a unique effect on the temperatures inside your warehouse. Because it is opening and closing so much, with products and people moving in and out, it alters the airflow of your HVAC system, and the heat dispersal on the different planes in your warehouse, when it is both open and closed.
So, you need to account for that. But how? By temperature mapping your warehouse, yes, but also by constantly testing the effects of your loading dock. The key here is constant. You should always have a temperature monitor at the locations that open your warehouse to the outside world.
What you do with that temperature monitor is the next key to understanding the bay door. You must test, analyze your data, react appropriatly, and test again. It's a cycle that should never end. The analysis is the really important part, and here's what we ask you keep in mind when you download that data and take a look at it:
Where are you located? What time of the year is it? The answer(s) to these questions are so important! Dickson's offices are located in the Windiest of all the Cities, and so when we map our warehouse at this time of the year, we understand that the temperatures around the bay door will be cooler than normal, and so we adjust our HVAC system appropriately. But in a few months, that all changes. Also, if we were in a more temperate climate, it would change as well. The bay door is a weak point in the cold chain, and always will be. One point in monitoring constantly then, is that you will account for the changes in mother nature, to strengthen your chain a little bit more.
Some warehouses have thousands of trucks entering and leaving their facility everyday, with thousands more people loading and unloading products to be shipped across the world. Other warehouses have one bay door, where only a few trucks and a few people enter each day. Whatever the case, your data will reflect these traffic patterns. Fundamentally, you should know when your bay door opens, how often your bay door opens, and how long it stays open for.
Finally, the size of your bay door, the type of bay door it is, and the number of them in your facility is important to how you monitor at the bay door location, and throughout the rest of the facility. Ideally, you should have a temperature sensor at each of the bay door locations, and then disperse them on three planes further apart from each other as you move further away from the bay door (the opposite corner of your facility from the bay door will see the least affect of it being open).