A leading U.S.-based Fortune 500 pharmaceutical company experienced temperature excursions of its clinical trial shipments (with single-use shipping boxes), its payloads were at risk, resulting in discarded products. In fact, approximately 10% of the shipments were being thrown away, generating more waste and causing inconvenience to the company’s customers.
Needing a prescription for change in its cold chain shipping system, the pharmaceutical company sought a solution to consistently preserve the integrity of the payloads, while also cutting costs and reducing its carbon footprint. As an alternative to single-use shippers, the pharmaceutical company started testing reusable temperature-controlled shippers. The reusable system offered superior protection and reliability for transporting medicines and was rated to maintain optimum temperature in the payload area for up to 168 hours—a full seven days.
“The reusable system is efficient and provides a good total cost of ownership as long as we get a high rate of return,” says the pharmaceutical company’s director for CTMS management, CT distribution and CT ancillary supplies. “We shot for a 71% return rate. We are now at 96%.”
And, the pharmaceutical company’s temperature excursions have dropped from approximately 10% to 0%, while the number of boxes that had to be kept on hand has also significantly decreased. Additionally, the boxes are smaller, which has reduced storage space requirements. The number of boxes used per shipment has decreased by 18.5%, the outer dimension of each package has declined by 72% and weight has dropped by 44%, resulting in a 32% reduction in freight costs overall.
Reusable shippers are also kinder to the environment than single-use shippers. Software, which uses bar codes to help track and recover the reusable shippers, resulted in 96% of the shippers being returned to the pharmaceutical company for reuse over a one-year period. This translated to reducing 424,400 pounds of waste. In addition to producing far less trash, the shippers can be effectively recycled, using traditional waste streams.
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