Temperature-Sensing Label Solutions Can Improve Consumer Safety

Newly integrated Zebra and Temptime portfolios will give customers heightened visibility and control over cold chain assets

Temptime temperature-sensing technology
by Tony Cecchin
March 18, 2019

On the surface, the healthcare market may not seem to have much in common with the other vertical markets that Zebra serves, but it does. They all operate “on-demand” business models. They all rely on global supply chain organizations in some capacity to fulfill their missions. And they are all expected to deliver quality goods and services to consumers. As such, they are equally accountable to prioritize consumer safety.

For example, healthcare organizations must have a way to confirm that the vaccines, blood bags and pharmaceutical products used in the course of preventative, acute and non-acute patient care have been properly transported and stored and remain safe to administer.  In the retail and transportation and logistics (T&L) space, those responsible for the transport and handling of perishable foods must take measures to prevent spoilage as they move from the manufacturer to the final retail distribution point. They are all searching for better ways to identify potential quality degradation in time and temperature-sensitive products before they reach consumers.

In other words, the healthcare, T&L and retail sectors could equally benefit from the unique asset monitoring and quality alert capabilities of temperature-sensing technologies. So too can those who are involved in the production and storage of both raw materials and finished goods. That is one of the reasons why Zebra recently acquired Temptime. We want to go deeper in our ability to serve our healthcare customers, and we want to expand the applicability of our global supplies portfolio across the other verticals that we serve.

Bringing the Supplies Strategy to Life with Temptime Capabilities

Zebra’s global supplies portfolio started with barcode labels and ribbons and eventually expanded into wristbands, including LaserBands, and our current card offering.  The next strategic step for the business was to move into functional labels that offer sensing and authentication capabilities. The addition of the Temptime portfolio has moved us firmly into “functional” supplies as we now can sense, track and trace assets while maintaining high internal quality control and compliance with government regulations. This also helps us advance our Enterprise Asset Intelligence (EAI) vision to customers’ benefit.  We can leverage Zebra’s scanning, mobile computing, printing and Savanna® capabilities to increase the impact of customers’ investment as we bring new supplies and data-driven visibility solutions to market.  For example, the increase in food and pharmaceutical recalls in recent years has raised global awareness about the very real challenges of maintaining safe product temperature ranges during the production, handling and administration of certain “cold chain” goods. Fast action must be taken to improve visibility and mitigate quality issues, and the temperature-sensitive products that Zebra is now integrating into its global supplies portfolio will give customers the opportunity to do just that.

Temptime's range of products

The Investment in Temperature-Sensing Labels Makes Sense for Zebra…

This year you will start to see our research and development teams advance the barcode label capabilities with Temptime’s impressive sensing portfolio.  We are exploring ways to embed this temperature-sensitive label technology onto the same label that customers already use for other inventory management efforts. These integrated labels, printed on Zebra printers, will remain readable by the same Zebra mobile computers and scanners used today for other applications. In other words, our goal is not to create a rip-and-replace scenario. Rather, we want to deliver even more value – and help customers secure an even greater return – for the technologies used broadly today.

But we want to do more than just advance the time and temperature-sensing technology to a digitally-integrated state. We want to ensure it is readily accessible to those who are responsible for consumer and patient safety.

Together, Zebra and Temptime will have the resources to deliver this game-changing technology to organizations serving both urban and rural communities worldwide. We want to help customers minimize consumer safety risks that have historically emerged in the handling of cold chain products. Our team will advise on application strategies that maximize the technology’s monitoring and control capabilities in combination with other mobile computing, scanning, printing and EAI solutions. And we will collaborate with all stakeholders to ensure successful technology integrations across diverse supply chain structures. At the end of the day, Zebra wants customers to feel confident in their ability to exceed quality expectations, whether they play a role in providing life-saving healthcare or life-enriching retail offerings. By acquiring Temptime, we are better positioned to help customers protect their customers.

That’s Why an Investment in Temperature-Sensing Technologies Makes Even More Sense for Zebra’s Customers…

Today, the Temptime portfolio of temperature-monitoring labels and devices provides a visual alert to healthcare workers whether a vaccine has been exposed to potentially damaging temperatures even in the most remote locations. In addition, customers like pharmaceutical corporations, biotechnology companies and hospitals are using Temptime devices and labels to help improve the storage and handling of medical products.

However, customers who opt to use the Temptime smart labels in combination with Zebra mobile computers, scanners, printers and the data-driven Savanna platform will be able to track and trace inventory using an additional safety-focused lens.

For example, workers equipped with Zebra mobile computers or rugged tablets can be alerted to potential safety issues while time and temperature-sensitive products are in transit. This will enable fast corrective action to avert a crisis and maintain compliance with regulations without sacrificing production or distribution speed, which is demanded in the current “now economy.”

In turn, even more global healthcare workers will receive the guidance they need to make informed decisions about the use of time and temperature-sensitive products in critical care situations. At the same time, global manufacturing, warehousing, transportation, logistics and retail organizations will have the insight and tools needed to proactively enhance food safety efforts. In short, we at Zebra view our investment in Temptime and our global supplies business as a win-win for our customers and their customers.

Editor's Note: Stay updated about the progress of the Temptime integration and Zebra’s global supplies portfolio growth.  Subscribe to the Your Edge blog or sign up for Zebra newsletters now.

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Tony Cecchin
Tony Cecchin is responsible for all aspects of Zebra’s Global Supplies organization, including strategy, portfolio management, manufacturing and research and development. He has over 30 years of experience in product management, international business, joint ventures and strategy. He holds three U.S. patents.













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