Cold storage remains the top investment priority in medicine supply

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Chanice Henry

For the second year running, cold storage stands as the top investment priority for temperature controlled logistics professionals shopping for ways to improve their pharma supply chains

Just under 20% of the 140 temperature controlled logistics professionals surveyed in our recent research are on the hunt over the next 12 months to enhance their network of cold storage facilities.

In our 2016 research cold warehouses were also voted as the top priority for investment. However, this category managed to win the investment focus of 31% of last year’s research base. The majority of respondents were confident that this high interest was set to remain in the market.

In response to these results, Cathy Robertson of Logistics Trends & Insights LLC explained: “Cold storage is on the rise throughout the world due to shortages of facilities such as in India and China where demand is growing thanks to a rising middle class.”

After cold storage medical supply chain practitioners are focused on partnering with more advanced freight forwarders and 3PLs. Cyber security attracted the smallest amount funding interest from respondents.  

           Cold thermometer

 Selecting cold warehouses for your network

When searching for cold storage facility services that best suit a lane and its medicine, shippers must evaluate a variety of elements: time and distance ranges, cost and customer satisfaction.

Decisions must acknowledge and minimize risks  – a multifaceted assessment is needed to find the best quality for the best price. Shippers should ensure the cold storage is compatible to the existing strategic cold chain network and assess the Good Distribution Practices (GDP) compliance of partners.

"Failure to consider the risks of your lane in your test plan can cause potential product quality and patient safety issues during commercial roll out."

Gary Hutchinson of Modality Solutions noted: “It is very important to match your supply chain and the associated environmental hazards and risks to your test plan. Failure to do so can cause potential product quality and patient safety issues during commercial roll out

GDP assessments

Once the 3PL and the cold storage facilities are selected and network design is approved for a lane, some recommend conducting a GDP assessment of cold chain operations for all partners in the network that manage inventory.

These GDP assessments inform the critical-to-quality attributes and identify any gaps in GDP compliance at selected 3PL.

Then quality agreements and service level agreements can be developed for inclusion in the contract negotiations with both the 3PL and transportation providers. These will set clear requirements for maintaining a compliant and effective 3PL operation to support commercial distribution.