Goods incoming station on the first floor of JCS’ cold room facility
|Quick List of Benefits
SS 668:2020: Cold Chain Management System
- Ensure the quality, shelf life and food safety of frozen food products
- Improve and automate operational processes
- Enhance cold chain efficiency and productivity
- Achieve zero food wastage and zero equipment breakdown
- Increase customer trust
- Expand into new markets
Jurong Cold Store (JCS), a fast-growing cold chain logistics and warehousing services company for the F&B industry, was established in Singapore in 1996. JCS runs one of the first high-density warehouses in the region: its fully automated 24/7 cold room facility has a floor space of 77,000m3, a height of 45m and the capability to manage 15,000 pallets.
In December 2021, JCS was the first organisation to be recognised with the SS 668:2020 Cold Chain Management of Chilled and Frozen Foods certification by accredited conformity assessment body the Singapore Accreditation Council.
The SS 668 series of standards, launched in October 2021, help players in Singapore’s cold chain management industry to ensure the freshness, shelf life, quality and food safety of frozen food products in the market for consumers.
Goods outgoing picking station on the second floor of JCS’ cold room facility.
Resolving Operational Challenges with SS 668
Temperature control is an essential task for players along the cold chain management. Over the years, JCS has refined its systems to specialise in the particularly challenging area of managing temperature-sensitive, highly perishable food products. With SS 668, JCS can better overcome one of the biggest and most common cold chain challenges: maintaining the temperature at every link of the cold chain, including within cold room facilities and at points of transfer.
1. Temperature control at cold room facilities
When temperatures are compromised – such as during transportation or within the cold room itself – frozen food products deteriorate quickly and bacteria growth begins.
By implementing SS 668, JCS now follows even more stringent temperature requirements for its cold room facilities. To maintain, monitor and ensure the accuracy of temperatures, JCS taps automated technologies like sensors and data recording systems. The company also installed an automatic alarm system that prompts alerts in case of a power failure. In the long run, these technologies have helped JCS to achieve manpower and cost savings.
2. Temperature control at points of transfer
In the supply chain of chilled and frozen food products, there are many transit points from the supplier to the delivery truck, cold room and destination. At these points, temperature fluctuations may occur, which can affect the quality of the products. Points of transfer are handled by many people and can be liable to human error.
With the SS 668 guidelines, JCS has successfully reduced temperature variations at points of transfer by strictly monitoring the handling time for the loading and unloading of goods and checking anteroom temperature settings for optimum storage, among other measures.
Gaining Business Benefits with SS 668
“With SS 668, we are able to enhance our cold chain management performance, and hence boost our company’s reputation. This helps us to better internationalise our brand. Taking our products to new markets motivates us even more than simply increasing revenue. By working with new markets, we get to learn about and serve diverse demographics.” - Belinda Lee, Director,Jurong Cold Store
1. Achieving zero wastage
With more precise temperature controls monitored by technology, a requirement of implementing SS 668, JCS now fully meets its food safety objective of achieving zero food spoilage and zero freezer and chiller breakdown.
Belinda Lee, Director of JCS, says: “In the past, we had about 5% food wastage due to temperature variation. Today, we are at 0%. We also have 0% freezer and chiller breakdown compared with 10% in the past.”
Lee says that with no food wastage and operation stoppage from equipment breakdown, the company has enjoyed savings of about $50,000 across three months since its SS 668 certification.
A reduced risk of food spoilage also gives the company’s customers peace of mind. “With SS 668, we are able to enhance our cold chain management performance, and hence boost our company’s reputation,” says Lee. “This helps us to better internationalise our brand.”
2. Improving cold chain efficiency and productivity
To better adhere to the rigorous requirements of SSS 668, JCS decided to invest in certain critical technologies. First, it introduced an operating system with pre-set conditions, which eliminates the tedious task of having to manually reference the requirements.
In addition, JCS introduced an automated monitoring system. Staff no longer need to manually monitor the temperature of the cold rooms, which they used to do four times a day. This saves the company at least 30 hours of manpower every month. Temperature consistency in its cold room facilities is now 100% of the time compared with 97% in the past. The system also enables remote monitoring, where staff can access temperature data anywhere and anytime.
These technologies increased both the company’s productivity and cost savings by 10%. Alongside, staff participated in SS 668 and technical training to understand the new requirements and systems. Lee says that after the training, staff are more motivated and take pride in the role that they play in providing safe and quality food to the public.
She shares a tip: “It’s important to have clarity of the SS 668 requirements before implementing new technologies. By doing so, you can be sure that the innovations you invest in meet world-class operating standards.”
3. Expanding into new markets
Being SS 668-certified has helped JCS to gain the trust of customers, as the standards go above and beyond those set by government regulations around the world.
Customers also want their chilled and frozen produce to last as long as possible. The SS 668 requirements allow JCS to gain a competitive advantage by making longer shelf life a reality.
Since the SS 668 certification, JCS has managed to enter new markets such as Chile and Norway. It has also clinched new shipment deals with customers in China.
“Taking our products to new markets motivates us even more than simply increasing revenue,” Lee explains. “By working with new markets, we get to learn about and serve diverse demographics.”
Strengthening Singapore’s Cold Chain Ecosystem
It takes conscientiousness to implement SS 668. For JCS, the cost of new systems, ground work to educate staff and preparation for the audit were met with employee resistance at first.
“However, management and staff were soon won over, and the operational and business benefits from SS 668 eventually far outweighed the initial challenges,” Lee affirms.
By setting out industry best practices, SS 668 will support Singapore’s position as a global logistics hub for cold chain management. Lee says, “Local companies are very committed to ensuring the safe supply of frozen food products to consumers. With SS 668, we can further assure consumers, both local and global, of our commitment.”
Tips for Companies Looking to Implement SS 668
SOCOTEC Certification International (SCI) certifies, audits and carries out training for organisations implementing management systems. Dave Cheng Loon, Managing Director, SCI, offers some tips on getting SS 668-certified.
“Cold chain plays an essential role in the entire food supply chain. SS 668 is beneficial especially to cold stores that provide storage space in the supply chain.
To embark on SS 668, organisations with a baseline food safety system such as ISO 22000 or HACCP SS 444 will require minimal implementation time of only about one to two months. Knowledge and application of SS 668 are essential in the successful implementation of the cold chain management system.
Those without the baseline food safety management system may require external support with a preparation duration between three and six months.
Specific aspects unique to SS 668 include:
- Cold chain system temperature mapping
- Prescriptive temperature requirements for processing rooms; cold rooms; anterooms; transportation; and display cabinets for the different food categories
- Identification and traceability of food products throughout the cold chain with respect to monitoring and measurement requirements
- Prescriptive cold chain requirements with respect to processing; storage facilities; loading/unloading temperature and time requirements; transportation requirements; retail outlets; and import and export.”