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In the previous month, we started a case study series together with Tive Inc., our partner for Cargo Tracking and Supply Chain Transparency, featuring real-life stories from their customers in different industries. Having already covered the perishables market, for this edition we turn our attention to something that has been especially high on the radar since the outbreak of the Corona pandemic: pharmaceuticals and medicine shipments.

Pic Credit: Tive Inc.

High Expenses Meet Hypersensitive Cargo

Nowadays, global supply chains are constantly challenged by unforeseen problems such as a pandemic, geopolitical conflicts, labor shortages, adverse weather, and natural disasters. Weathering these challenges, the global pharmaceutical logistics market has seen significant growth in the last two years. In 2021, it was valued at USD 78.5 billion, and it is expected to expand at an annual growth rate of 8.6% from 2022 to 2030.

Pharma supply chains currently face several challenges, including rising carrier rates and reduced shipping reliability, inability to track shipment conditions, labor and material shortages, higher energy costs, and geopolitical tensions. While other industries may also face these problems, the stakes for the pharma industry can be exceptionally high. For instance, failure to maintain the correct temperature during transit or storage could result in reduced efficacy of certain drugs. According to the IQVIA Institute for Human Data Science, the biopharma industry alone loses $34 billion annually due to temperature-control problems in its supply chain. With both financials and human lives at risk, real-time shipment condition and in-transit visibility are essential.

Unfortunately, a study conducted by FreightWaves and Tive found that only 37% of shippers use in-transit visibility solutions, while only 5% believe their visibility on their freight is up to standards. Most companies still rely on check calls and track-and-trace in the post-pandemic world, creating strains on their own staff and consequently their performance. In the below stories from Tive’s customers, we see how visibility can make a big difference for the pharma industry.

Biocair Commissions Tive Solo 5G Trackers for CGT Shipments

Biocair is a leading logistics specialist with over 35 years of experience in the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and life sciences sectors. The company focuses on providing the most comprehensive time-sensitive and temperature-controlled logistics services available, while delivering flexible, tailored, cost-effective solutions to all clients. They operate 24/7 in over 160 countries across Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Americas.

Pic Credit: Tive Inc.

Amongst all, cell and gene therapy (CGT) supply chain management is the most challenging yet critical service they provide. A typical cell therapy costs nearly $500,000, and gene therapies might exceed $1 million per treatment course. It is no wonder therefore, that clients want complete visibility and excellent service. Prior to working with Tive, Biocair already used data loggers and other devices for their cold chain shipments. However, 5G capabilities were required for more effective data collection.

Biocair conducted a comprehensive analysis test with devices from Tive and a few other suppliers while looking for a company to support for their operations. In the end, Tive emerged as the winner. Emily Gaither, Biocair's Packaging Solutions Coordinator, stated that, "There are comparable trackers on the market, but Tive's location accuracy is the best. Their devices are ahead of the game." Biocair started integrating Tive’s 5G solo trackers on CGT shipments for preclinical work and clinical trials. During this phase, more than 30 successful live shipments were made to various CGT clients in cities including Los Angeles, Chicago, and Frankfurt.

On one occasion, the airline carrier claimed that the cargo was lost after it missed its scheduled flight, however Tive immediately located its exact location at the LAX Airport mitigating a direct loss. Furthermore, Biocair's team can make immediate data-driven decisions when disruption threatens or occurs by accessing data on Tive's online platform and receiving real-time alerts. They can also promptly answer their client's questions about their shipments. Another welcomed effect is that now they can more efficiently retrieve and reuse reusable packaging, with the help of the Solo 5G tracker’s data.

A $1.5 Million Save

A global pharmaceutical manufacturer that ships products via ocean freight from European production sites to distribution centers in North America needed a solution to track their shipments' real-time location and temperature data. Given that their cargo requires a temperature-controlled environment of 15°C to 25°C, temperature excursions can lead to irreparable damage.

Pic Credit: Tive Inc.

Prior to partnering with Tive, they were using passive temperature loggers which only offered the data after issues occurred. After partnering with Tive, they were able to contact the carrier immediately armed with necessary data to request a fix right away. Such insights came in crucial when they were making a pilot shipment for a new product launch in 2017. The shipment included 17 different temperature-sensitive products with a total market value of $1.5 million. It was set to go from Belgium to North America, however after the container departed the Port of Antwerp, the supply chain manager noticed two surprises: the ship was at the Port of Hamburg, which was not on the original schedule; and the temperature was set to 6°C, not 20°C. The manager immediately called the shipping line, who then confirmed that the container was indeed set to the wrong temperature. While this was fixed immediately, the manager also ordered replacement products just in case the cargo was already compromised. Thanks to this chain of reaction, a major product launch was spared from a huge hiccup.

Such stories are not uncommon, and if your supply chain is in need of some extra care, click here to learn more about Tive’s products and services:


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