The global Covid-19 pandemic has underlined just how important it is for life sciences companies to ship life saving products in a timely manner. Nonetheless, even before the global pandemic life sciences companies were dealing with the need to send more parcels to a larger number of destinations than ever before. Furthermore, changes in treatments also means that life science shippers have an increasing number of goods that need temperature-controlled or cold-chain storage in order to ensure the product’s efficacy. As a result of these challenges, life sciences companies have turned to technology to assist with their parcel shipping needs.
Shipping Challenges for Life Sciences Companies
There are a number of challenges for any company that ships its products globally. For life sciences companies, these challenges multiply. Medicines, tissue samples, biologics, blood and so forth have special handling requirements. In addition, there are serious regulatory demands on companies shipping life saving goods. Here we look at some of the challenges life sciences companies face and the questions they need to ask before choosing a parcel shipping solution.
Given the nature of their goods, life sciences companies have to adhere to a number of regulatory requirements. Firstly, they must clearly document the content of each shipment. Secondly, they need to be able to track and trace every shipment in case of a recall. Furthermore, they must ensure that the transportation partners they use are able to comply with the cold-chain or temperature controlled shipping when this is necessary. Last but not least, they must document all of their trading partners as well.
Unsurprisingly, all of these regulatory demands impact costs. Therefore, life sciences companies need to be able to ship their goods compliantly but also in a cost-effective manner.
EMERGING MARKETS AND GLOBALIZATION
During the last recession, emerging markets led much of the growth for life sciences companies. This is because countries like Brazil, China, India and Mexico increased healthcare spending as a percentage of their overall economies. Shipping to these countries presents different challenges to shipping to established markets such as the US, Canada and Europe.
Life sciences products are changing, which in turn means their shipping requirements are changing too. There has long been a need for cold-chain storage for vaccines, blood, tissue samples and so forth. However, new specialties like biotechnology means that cold-chain refrigeration is required for more finished products. These include biologically based medicines, research and clinical trial materials, drug coated implants and more.
DIRECT TO PATIENT
Home health care is a growing market for life sciences products because of aging populations in established markets. Many shipments are now going directly to price- and time-sensitive patients, rather than through traditional distribution channels. As a result, higher volumes of smaller shipments are going to more places than ever before. This has increased the need for accurate documentation and better visibility into specialized handling.
Eight Critical Questions Life Science Shippers Need to Ask
Life sciences shipping has begun to move away from traditional distribution methods. This means many life sciences firms have a critical need for parcel shipping software. There are 8 critical questions life science shippers need to ask before choosing a parcel shipping solution.
- Does your parcel shipping software offer access to a global carrier network?
- Does your software provide visibility into handling capabilities of carriers?
- Can your software provide the documentation related to the handling of hazardous, dangerous or infectious substances?
- Can your logistics software handle regulatory requirements for shipping controlled substances?
- Does your global parcel shipping software offer access to specialist carriers?
- Does your global parcel shipping software enable compliance screening?
- Can your software perform controlled partner screenings?
- Does your software handle controlled substance checks?
Simplifying Life Sciences Shipping
As the life sciences industry becomes more global, ensuring that your trading partners are authorized to receive shipments is critical. Life science products may contain controlled substances or chemical compounds. Therefore, shippers must take special care to ensure that these shipments are not sent to unauthorized locations.
In addition to compliance checks, before any package goes out the door, you must ensure it includes the correct documentation. When you send sensitive substances additional labeling and documentation is necessary to ensure proper handling all the way to the shipment’s destination. Once the parcel has gone, you need post-dock visibility to track your shipments. Life science companies must ensure that parcels are shipped quickly, handled properly and delivered on-time.
The life sciences industry depends on a complex network of carriers who can provide specialized service, such as same day delivery and specialist hospital delivery services. Life science companies benefit from access to a global multi-carrier network with access to carriers with these capabilities — wherever they ship.
To simplify their parcel shipping, life science companies need a solution that offers all these capabilities. An ideal solution is one that integrates compliance, documentation, multi carrier shipping options and tracking. While it is possible to use different systems for each of these, this results in fragmented shipping data. It also means the need to rekey information into different systems. This is a drain on time, and can lead to keystroke errors or critical omissions.
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About Precision – Trusted Global Trade and Transportation Execution
Precision, a division of QAD Inc., provides industry-leading global trade compliance, and multi carrier transportation execution solutions from a single, integrated platform. An ISO-certified company, QAD Precision assists companies to streamline their import, export and transportation operations, optimize deliveries, and increase logistics ROI. QAD Precision’s scalable and extensible solution easily integrates with existing ERP and WMS solutions. Industry leaders in every region of the world rely on QAD Precision’s global support centers to leverage thousands of carrier services and manage millions of global trade and shipping transactions every day. For more information about QAD Precision, visit www.qadprecision.com.