Cool chain partners are changing their mindsets to join shippers and start-ups shaping the supply chain of the future, according to speakers at the recent Cool Chain Association’s (CCA) pharma and biosciences conference in Paris. The CCA is a non-profit organization with a focus on reducing waste and improving the quality, efficiency and value of the temperature-sensitive supply chain by facilitating and enabling horizontal and vertical collaboration, education and innovation.
Conference delegates also heard that the air cargo industry could make a difference in final mile delivery that could save the lives of infants. The CCA, which hosts two regular events each year, one on pharma and one on perishables, brings together industry leaders from across the cool chain to network. Updates and information about smart data applications, unmanned aircraft, and supplier management solutions also were addressed at the two-day event.
Denmark-based multinational pharmaceutical manufacturer Novo Nordisk has developed its own risk-based analysis solution using Big Data harvested from temperature loggers on its consignments to map performance and temperature excursions on trade lanes.
“We could see that our primary distribution spend was going up and we had to do something about it,” said Navid Choudhury, senior manager for the distribution and logistics network, supply chain planning, at Novo Nordisk. “We realized that there was huge potential by using data that we already owned. We worked with that data to map the lanes, then we went to our logistics partners and connected our data with theirs so that we could identify performance on future shipments. We found collaboration easier because we were not trying to ask for so much information from the airlines.” Using the system, Novo Nordisk has scaled down costs, improved reliability, and can identify areas for improvement more easily, according to Choudhury.
Drone start-ups Avy and Dronamics have focused on developing unmanned cargo aircraft to improve the final mile and offer cost-effective, environmentally friendly solutions. Ivet Arabadjieva, director of business development at Dronamics, said that she felt the pharma and unmanned aircraft industries, both of which are focused on research and development, have mutual interests in this developing technology. “This is still a work in progress, so the time is now to have a discussion,” she said. “Tell us what you need, and we can come back with ideas and costs.”
Avy founder Patrique Zaman said there were interesting opportunities from a business perspective, but also “from the impact you can make if you dare to go a bit out of your own area of focus.” Zaman stated that Avi is working to make sure this new air ecosystem happens. “We have been focusing on tech, regulatory issues, and also use cases, but what we found really hard is to get in touch with the rest of the value chain.”
Celine Hourcade, change horizon and program manager at the International Air Cargo Association said that, despite not yet being cost-effective or scalable, there is a new emerging industry being developed and it is important to share information. “The pharma and air cargo industries have the knowledge and this must be transferred and shared with new entrants. If that happens it will be a win-win situation,” she said.
Dr. Radhika Batra, founder and president of Every Infant Matters, an organization that provides last-mile health solutions to disadvantaged children, especially by dispensing vitamin A to marginalized children, explained that the logistics industry was helping by finding and promoting innovative solutions to bridge gaps in the supply chain, with drones being just one example. “The supply chain is only as strong as its weakest link and when the weakest link fails, it is the weakest who suffer.”
Stavros Evangelakakis, Cool Chain chairman and global product manager at all-cargo carrier Cargolux, said that the industry should be thinking about how to help improve the final mile in pharma. “I am not suggesting that the air cargo industry can save all of those lives, but I want to be able to say that we came together and started a dialogue, which can help make things better,” he said, referring to Batra’s comments.
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