Leveraging a Control Tower for Cold Chain Shipping Visibility

Everyone knows that control towers are integral to safe air travel. Live operators stationed in tall structures are trained to process multiple data points and make decisions based on what is being seen and heard. 

The "control tower" construct for supply chains might be more virtual than physical, but the end point is the same:  safety. And when it comes to temperature-controlled therapies which require strict packaging and handling so that they remain effective for patients, a control tower is invaluable. As 2021 winds down, events from port disruptions to higher fuel costs and finally extreme weather events truly necessitate that manufacturers and distributors have 360-degree visibility around these therapies.

Today the vast majority of newly approved medications have strict temperature control and handling requirements. With mRNA discovery accelerating for cancer and cardiac treatments, along with precision medicine and other biologic drug discoveries, the need for strict thermal control will only increase in urgency.  Yet only two years ago, an IQVIA Institute study found that the pharmaceutical industry loses around $35 billion annually for temperature-related product issues. These hard costs include the value of lost product, new product replacement activities, and the post-mortem review of the excursion. Softer costs -- loss of patient and provider confidence and reputational damage -- are also the consequences of a temperature deviation. 

A sophisticated control tower will not only identify the issue - but will take action based on what is seen. Identifying that a container of valuable medicine is delayed in transit is only a first step in ensuring patient safety. What about remotely checking the temperature and passive thermal energy remaining to keep the clinical payload at temperature? Or removing the package from the last mile and replacing should the delay be protracted? 

Next generation supply chain control towers offer newfound insight and control around how medications are distributed. Want to learn more? Read "How control towers can improve pharma's supply chain," by clicking here

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