Decision-making in cold chain logistics using data analytics: a literature review

Atanu Chaudhuri, Iskra Dukovska-Popovska, Nachiappan Subramanian, Hing Kai Chan, Ruibin Bai

Research output: Journal PublicationReview articlepeer-review

105 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: The purpose of the paper is to identify the multiple types of data that can be collected and analyzed by practitioners across the cold chain, the ICT infrastructure required to enable data capture and how to utilize the data for decision making in cold chain logistics. Design/methodology/approach: Content analysis based literature review of 38 selected research articles, published between 2000 and 2016, was used to create an overview of data capture, technologies used for collection and sharing of data, and decision making that can be supported by the data, across the cold chain and for different types of perishable food products. Findings: There is a need to understand how continuous monitoring of conditions such as temperature, humidity, and vibration can be translated to support real-time assessment of quality, determination of actual remaining shelf life of products and use of those for decision making in cold chains. Firms across the cold chain need to adopt appropriate technologies suited to the specific contexts to capture data across the cold chain. Analysis of such data over longer periods can also unearth patterns of product deterioration under different transportation conditions, which can lead to redesigning the transportation network to minimize quality loss or to take precautions to avoid the adverse transportation conditions. Research limitations/implications: The findings need to be validated through further empirical research and modeling. There are opportunities to identify all relevant parameters to capture product condition as well as transaction data across the cold chain processes for fish, meat and dairy products. Such data can then be used for supply chain (SC) planning and pricing products in the retail stores based on product conditions and traceability information. Addressing some of the above research gaps will call for multi-disciplinary research involving food science and engineering, information technologies, computer science and logistics and SC management scholars. Practical implications: The findings of this research can be beneficial for multiple players involved in the cold chain like food processing companies, logistics service providers, ports and wholesalers and retailers to understand how data can be effectively used for better decision making in cold chain and to invest in the specific technologies, which will suit the purpose. To ensure adoption of data analytics across the cold chain, it is also important to identify the player in the cold chain, which will drive and coordinate the effort. Originality/value: This paper is one of the earliest to recognize the need for a comprehensive assessment for adoption and application of data analytics in cold chain management and provides directions for future research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)839-861
Number of pages23
JournalInternational Journal of Logistics Management
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 17 Aug 2018


  • Asia
  • Cold chain
  • Content analysis based
  • Data analytics
  • ICT infrastructure
  • Literature review
  • Logistics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Transportation


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