Digitisation as a business enabler
for temperature sensitive products and processes

The driver for digitizing a business, is to know precisely, how all the elements inside the business are behaving at all times.

This is where the Internet of Things comes in, it provides us with sensors providing precise behavioural data, and a remotely managed platform that combines multiple data sources, analyses the data, visualises trends, provides early warnings and sets the basis for data driven decision making. Such decision making can be by machine or human interaction.

Businesses suffer tremendous losses from unplanned events, or simply not accurately knowing how the elements inside the business are behaving at all times. The consequences of temperature deviations of temperature sensitive products and processes, mostly remain hidden or only become visible much later after an unspecified temperature fluctuation event has occurred. Management of a pro-active nature is essential in improving the business.

To achieve optimum results when managing products and processes, that are sensitive to environmental conditions such as temperature and humidity, it is not good enough to simply have human supervision during working hours. Human supervision is inaccurate and does not operate 24*7*365 days a year. We simply don’t know what our cooling plants are doing, and the consequences of unspecified fluctuations can become catastrophic to any business.

The benefits from continuous temperature monitoring are multifold, but the key categories being addressed are:

• Compliance to international norms and standards
• Product quality guarantee
• Customer satisfaction
• Elimination of wastages due to non-conformance

In a modern, competitive globalised market, these elements are crucial to provide growth and sustainability to any business that operates with temperature sensitive products and processes.

But to guarantee compliance and adherence to standards, as well as to guarantee accuracy of the data, the technology itself has to be approved, maintained and calibrated to the highest global standards.

The Vaccine monitor VM 1000 by Ikhaya automation systems is the only South African developed and manufactured product from a black owned emerging company, that has attained approval for global markets from the World Health Organisation (WHO). Since 2008, thousands of devices have been deployed in vehicles or static installations to manage temperature sensitive products and processes across sub-Saharan Africa.

But even technology itself cannot be left on its own, it needs to be maintained and even calibrated annually, in order to provide guaranteed and accurate data throughout the many years of its lifetime. A service and support agreement between the technology vendor and the customer is therefore an essential component for business continuity in a digitised world. Not only does such an agreement provide for the technical skills transfer, guarantees support during outages, but it also provides calibrations and updates as and when these become available.

The road to successful digitisation of a business is that of a long-term partnership between technology companies and customers. It is a multi-stakeholder engagement model across many spheres of both companies, that as a collective will be able to bring a meaningful transformation with new benefits to those who embrace it.