Malaysia's Cold Chain Industry Guide


4 Must-Know Challenges in Food Logistics

Cold Chain Industry Overview August 29, 2022


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Handling repetitive customer orders, dealing with perishable products, finding the appropriate trucks and service vehicles for specific deliveries, and keeping track of complex order and billing requirements are just a few reasons why food logistics is becoming more challenging. 

While new technology and tools ensure a smooth start-to-end process to satisfy customers, businesses are still facing challenges and disruptions in its operations.

Let's take a look at five current challenges in food logistics today.

“Where is my order?” (Traceability, Transparency and Delivery)

Since COVID-19, consumers expect to receive their food orders within the specified time frames. Businesses that experience multiple missed orders or late deliveries are unlikely to develop a strong brand following. If customers can't track their deliveries, they will likely not make another purchase again. Traceability and shipping transparency is becoming more demanding for customers because they want fresh, warm and undelayed food deliveries. 

It applies to distributors, too, as they would have to upkeep customers' demands on their end. It could be even more crucial during seasonal and peak months. 


Businesses must have easy access to well-organised information to maximise their on-time delivery rate while making the most of their existing delivery capacity. They should consider automating the process as much as possible, from the delivery process to communications with the driver.

Alternatively, businesses can consider blockchain technology to enable traceability in the food supply chain. One of the primary benefits of blockchain is its unchangeable data. The system can provide trusted information about the origin and state of each product or ingredient to producers, suppliers, distributors, retailers, and consumers.

“Shipping fee is so expensive!” (Increased Cost in Supply Chain)

Deliveries have very costly overhead costs. Before products even hit the road, businesses must consider fuel, maintenance, driver hiring, insurance, and MOTs. It will eventually spike up the delivery fee to buyers and customers. Occasionally, seasonal spikes may stretch facilities' resources further as orders flood into the warehouse and manufacturing increases production to meet heightened demand. Labour shortages lead to hiring seasonal hires. Once again, the delivery cost rises. 

Additionally, investment in new technology can also spike up the delivery fee from warehouses to buyers. While this isn't necessarily a long-term issue, companies must adapt to a challenging period by managing extra costs before the fruits of the investment come through. 


The first step toward cost control is to understand your costs. When you can measure your expenditure, you can manage them more efficiently. A complicated supply chain requires a technological solution, which is better served by a network solution since you only need to integrate into the network once rather than to each of your suppliers. 

Remember, an investment may come off as expensive, so rather than focusing on cost, perform a value-cost analysis over the long term. It can also help modernise your company and make it less vulnerable to competitive forces. 

“My food delivery isn’t fresh!” (Food Safety)

To maintain the food quality, freshness, and optimum shelf life, it must move through the distribution centre and out the door as quickly as possible. It is related to delivering food to buyers on time while maintaining its freshness and quality. 

On the other hand, every country has different regulatory bodies in charge of defining and enforcing domestic food safety standards. For example, food safety legislation in Malaysia is Food Act 1983, Food Regulation 1985 and Food Hygiene Regulation 2009

Businesses may face many issues if buyers receive expired or low-quality products. It not only affects branding but overall profits as well.


Creating high-quality, safe products begins with selecting the best raw materials, implementing the appropriate production method following international standards, and testing and proving them. Packaging is extremely vital to ensure the freshness and safety of your products. It is also critical to select the appropriate packaging materials and processes.

Working with a technology partner to provide real-time tracking of the movement of your supplies, as well as tracking temperature for refrigerated or cold chain goods is a good solution.

“How come I am receiving less and paying more?” (Inventory Control)

A lack of communication can cause unforeseeable problems in the food supply chain. Businesses don't know what each other is doing. It may lead to poor communication, leading to errors, inefficiency, excessive waste, and mistrust between suppliers and their customers. It becomes more serious when you operate on a global scale.

Having the right amount of stock on hand is critical in preventing sales loss due to a lack of inventory or food spoilage due to expiration in food. This can result in a variety of issues, such as product delays, increased bacteria growth, food poisoning, or spoilage.


Lack of communication should not be an issue today because technology has made it easier, faster, and less expensive to gain a comprehensive view of the food supply chain and communicate with distributors and manufacturers. 

Cloud-based networks provide food companies with quick onboarding and various services, including a view of the entire end-to-end supply chain, near real-time insight into demand, supply, logistics, and communication tools such as live chat and micro-blogging solutions.

In summary

One key takeaway from the challenges above is applying technology as a solution. 

It has enormous potential in bringing transparency, quick food delivery at a lower cost, flexibility, and the ability to deliver the right quality product at the right place and time. Without the Internet of Things or the Food Logistics 4.0, businesses will find it challenging to keep up with customers' needs and demands. 

Hence, it is advisable to invest in automation and new technology to never stay out of trend and ensure businesses run efficiently and effectively.