Managing Risk in Your Cold Chain

If you’re in the pharmaceuticals industry, not having control over your cold chain can be costly. When your cargo is worth millions of dollars and can affect people’s health, it’s important that your goods arrive intact. While no supply chain is perfect, there are definitely ways to minimize your risk. Here’s how you can improve your cold chain to ensure that goods get from Point A to Point B in as close to original quality as possible.

Follow the rules

When it comes to transporting life-saving pharmaceuticals, rules were not meant to be broken. Federal agencies release regulations to keep the final patient and the supply chain handlers safe. Sticking to the rules will save you millions of dollars in fines, legal fees, and product waste.

Break tradition

It’s so important step back and reexamine your process. Is it the most effective and efficient way of doing things? One large pharma company used to always ships its product in a cooler full of dry ice. They did this for a long time until someone took a step back and noticed that 15 to 30 percent of the product spoiled with this method. Once they noticed the staggering amount of waste, they kicked dry ice to the curb in favor of cryogenic temperatures, which are around -150°C.

Use a safety net

Things happen. Whether a refrigerated truck break down or packages sit on the loading dock too long, you want to make sure that your shipment can survive unpredictable supply chain snags. Your best bet is to add an extra layer of padding (literally!) to your product. Sure you can re-engineer the packaging so that your product can stay cooler for longer, or you can take the old-fashioned route and use an actual cooler. Implementing reinforcements can keep the product cool for 24 to 48 extra hours, in case anything goes wrong.

Know its limits

Like people, some pharmaceutical products are more sensitive than others. Knowing your product’s limits will allow you to determine what cold chain practices are the best fit. Can your products maintain their quality if the temperature fluctuates more than a few degrees? If the answer is no, you need to be very strict about the temperature-controlled package it’s shipped in. For example, many drugs cannot be exposed to temperatures higher than 77°F. While that may not sound egregiously hard (ie. keep this bus under 77 degrees!), the back of a trailer truck in the summer can easily surpass that temperature if the cooling units are faulty.

It’s not all about temperature

Almost half of the 50 most popular drugs in the world require cold chain logistics. While it’s imperative that you store them in a temperature-controlled environment, there are many other considerations to take into account. Is your product sensitive to light? Does it need to be kept upright during transportation? Can it handle fluctuations in humidity? Having this knowledge will help you better plan your cold chain logistics, so you can prevent these factors from damaging your goods.

Try, try again

Technology is helping scientists create amazing, new, lifesaving medications. The problem is that developing these drugs is extremely expensive and most companies don’t want to sacrifice money or the samples to test multiple shipping methods. While you may not want to take the initial financial hit, it’s crucial to know the optimal packing and shipping method to preserve the integrity of the product.

Use someone that you trust

Don’t forget to follow one of the golden rules in business: only do business with people you trust. This includes the company you choose to do your supply chain. Before selecting a cold chain partner, make sure they’re up for the challenge to accommodate your product’s nuances and quirks. Do they have the equipment necessary to ensure the quality of your product? For example, are they able to support two different temperature environments for your products that require different settings? Establishing a strong relationship with a cold chain company will help decrease your risk.

Are you looking for a safe and reliable partner for your cold chain endeavors? Contact Bar Code Direct today to schedule a free consultation to discuss your business’s unique cold chain needs.


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Bar Code Direct Changes Name to Peak Technologies, LLC

Bar Code Direct is excited to announce that we are in the process of changing our name to Peak Technologies, LLC. 

Bar Code Direct joined the Peak Technologies portfolio one year ago, and over this time we have focused on leveraging the strengths and resources of Peak Technologies’ growing portfolio of companies to increase our solutions offering, geographic presence, and partner ecosystem to better serve our customers.  As we transition to the new Peak Technologies name, we will be updating our website to better reflect our collective end-to-end capabilities including an extensive portfolio of digital supply chain, mobility and retail solutions.