An Internet of Things (IoT)-based risk monitoring system for managing cold supply chain risks

Y. P. Tsang, K. L. Choy, C. H. Wu, G. T.S. Ho, Cathy H.Y. Lam, P. S. Koo

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

143 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: Since the handling of environmentally sensitive products requires close monitoring under prescribed conditions throughout the supply chain, it is essential to manage specific supply chain risks, i.e. maintaining good environmental conditions, and ensuring occupational safety in the cold environment. The purpose of this paper is to propose an Internet of Things (IoT)-based risk monitoring system (IoTRMS) for controlling product quality and occupational safety risks in cold chains. Real-time product monitoring and risk assessment in personal occupational safety can be then effectively established throughout the entire cold chain. Design/methodology/approach: In the design of IoTRMS, there are three major components for risk monitoring in cold chains, namely: wireless sensor network; cloud database services; and fuzzy logic approach. The wireless sensor network is deployed to collect ambient environmental conditions automatically, and the collected information is then managed and applied to a product quality degradation model in the cloud database. The fuzzy logic approach is applied in evaluating the cold-associated occupational safety risk of the different cold chain parties considering specific personal health status. To examine the performance of the proposed system, a cold chain service provider is selected for conducting a comparative analysis before and after applying the IoTRMS. Findings: The real-time environmental monitoring ensures that the products handled within the desired conditions, namely temperature, humidity and lighting intensity so that any violation of the handling requirements is visible among all cold chain parties. In addition, for cold warehouses and rooms in different cold chain facilities, the personal occupational safety risk assessment is established by considering the surrounding environment and the operators’ personal health status. The frequency of occupational safety risks occurring, including cold-related accidents and injuries, can be greatly reduced. In addition, worker satisfaction and operational efficiency are improved. Therefore, it provides a solid foundation for assessing and identifying product quality and occupational safety risks in cold chain activities. Originality/value: The cold chain is developed for managing environmentally sensitive products in the right conditions. Most studies found that the risks in cold chain are related to the fluctuation of environmental conditions, resulting in poor product quality and negative influences on consumer health. In addition, there is a lack of occupational safety risk consideration for those who work in cold environments. Therefore, this paper proposes IoTRMS to contribute the area of risk monitoring by means of the IoT application and artificial intelligence techniques. The risk assessment and identification can be effectively established, resulting in secure product quality and appropriate occupational safety management.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1432-1462
Number of pages31
JournalIndustrial Management and Data Systems
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 28 Sept 2018


  • Cold chain
  • Fuzzy logic
  • Internet of things
  • Risk monitoring
  • Wireless sensor network

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Management Information Systems
  • Industrial relations
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Strategy and Management
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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