Smart data applications, unmanned aircraft, and supplier management solutions were top of the agenda during the recent two-day Pharma and Biosciences Conference organised by the Cool Chain Association (CCA).
In the case of pharma manufacturer Novo Nordisk, it 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,” says Navid Choudhury, senior manager – Distribution and Logistics Network, Supply Chain Planning, Novo Nordisk.
“We realised there was huge potential by using the 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 so much information from the airlines,” Choudhury adds.
Using the system, Novo Nordirk has scaled down costs, improved reliability, and can identify areas for improvement much more easily.
Meanwhile, drone start-ups Avy and Dronamics have set their sights on developing unmanned aircraft that will improve the final mile, and offer cost-effective, more environmentally friendly solutions.
Ivet Arabadjieva, director of Business Development, Dronamics, says she feels the pharma and unmanned aircraft industries, which both have research and development at their heart, had a lot to learn from each other.
“This is still a work in progress, so the time is now to have a discussion,” she adds. “Tell us what you need, and we can come back with ideas and with costs.”
Avy founder Patrique Zaman says 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.”
“We are working really hard to make sure this new air ecosystem happens, and 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,” he says.
“We need each other if we all want to step out of our bubbles and I invite you all to think today about what we can do and make sure we can help.”
Celine Hourcade, founder, Change Horizon and program manager, The International Air Cargo Association (TIACA) says that despite not yet being cost-effective or scalable, there was a new emerging industry on its way and it was important to share information and not reinvent the wheel.
“The pharma and the air cargo industries have the knowledge and this must be transferred and shared with the new entrants, if that happens it will be a win-win situation,” she says.
Delegates also heard that the air cargo industry could make a difference to final mile delivery saving infant lives.
Dr Radhika Batra, founder and president of Every Infant Matters explains the industry was helping save infant lives by finding and promoting innovative solutions to bridge the gaps in the supply chain, with drones being just one example.
“There are 1.5 million children dying every year of vaccine-preventable illnesses and many more living with blindness and other disabilities that don’t need to be,” she says.
“The supply chain is only as strong as its weakest link and when the weakest link fails, it is the weakest who suffer. Major stakeholders must join together in this war against poverty and disease, if we come together, network, and share, we can surely make a difference,” she adds.
Stavros Evangelakakis, Cool Chain chairman and global product manager, Cargolux says 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 adds.
Delegates also learned about the benefits of Known Consignor certification from Bayer, as well as a 24/7 vaccine monitoring solution implemented in Iceland by Controlant, which has brought excursion rates below 0.5 per cent for domestic shipments and rejection rates close to zero during storage and transportation.
All presentations from the event are available to download here.
The CCA, which hosts two regular events a year, one on pharma and one on perishables, brings together industry leaders from across the cool chain to network, share insight, and trial new ideas.