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The Unique Logistics Preparations for COVID-19 Test Kit Distribution

Since the initial onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, testing has been a key factor in trying to help reduce the spread of the novel coronavirus. Many companies worked quickly to manufacture various types of tests to effectively detect and diagnose COVID-19, whether for use in medical laboratories, hospitals, doctors offices, universities, or even at home, with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently authorizing the first rapid, over-the-counter home coronavirus test.
Regardless of where the test kits get distributed, just as healthcare shippers, pharmaceutical manufacturers, and other industry professionals had to develop unique global logistics strategies for COVID-19 vaccines, similar considerations are required to build the proper transport infrastructure for COVID-19 test kits. Shipping some of these high-tech test kits entails a complex process; so many diagnostic testing manufacturers and global carriers rely on parcel transportation management technology to boost their capabilities to effectively transport COVID-19 test kits.
Since as early as April, Logistyx has been working with several pharmaceutical and life sciences customers and carrier partners to plan for the challenges of rapidly – and safely – distributing testing kits worldwide. This has included choosing the right carriers to handle the specific requirements of test kit shipments, as well as planning for the bulk storage and return of specialized dry ice containers, which some companies use to ship test kits.

Build a global carrier library

Any organization managing distribution of test kits needs to rapidly build an agile and global library of carriers to cover all potential destinations. In many cases, shippers had to quickly identify and go-live with multiple new carriers that specialize in new geographic locations – with back-up carriers ready to go in case the first choice does not perform as required or to avoid delays in transit.
Under normal circumstances, it would typically take a month for a customer to gain approval to go live with a new carrier. However, due to the critical nature of the shipments, Logistyx brought this down to just one to two weeks without compromising on the rigorous requirements of this process.

Complex data verification

To gain approval for a shipper to distribute parcels with a new carrier, Logistyx first must prove that shipper’s labels and electronic data are compliant with the specifications required by the carrier. In international shipping, each carrier has its own quirks when it comes to data, and the verification of this is critical, especially if this is the first time that hazardous materials, such as dry ice, are being shipped. If the data is incorrect, it can result in costly errors and delays.
The data verification process involves a sequential flow, which starts by processing a few orders in a test environment with real data. After testing the data, shippers next need to check that the physical label meets all requirements. Is the ink black enough to be easily read by the carriers’ systems? Is there the right amount of shine on the labels? Are all the right codes being used?
ebook logistyx future-proofing-supply-chainA seemingly simple 2” x 6” label with a 2D barcode contains vital and complex data, including routing codes, information on hazardous materials, and payment terms that must be accurate. Shippers do not want a time- and temperature-sensitive shipment to go astray because the routing code sends it to the wrong hub.

To ensure test kits can be shipped with urgency, Logistyx reviewed this process with various customers to ensure shipments are ready and labelled with carrier compliant information to enter the supply chain upon authorization.

Real-time visibility into critical shipments

Of course, preparing for shipping is just one piece of the puzzle. Full visibility that enables proactive management of shipments, with real-time information regarding location, delays, and delivery through the Business Intelligence function of a transportation management system (TMS) for parcel shipping is vital when dealing with time (and sometimes temperature) sensitive goods.
Logistyx TME helps optimize parcel shipping and the distribution of vital medical devices like test kits by improving the speed, accuracy, and flexibility of the supply chain. Likewise, a digitized supply chain improves a company’s ability to anticipate risk, improve transparency and coordination across the supply chain, and manage any issues that arise from increasing complexity. When it comes to global distribution of test kits, vaccines, or parcels of any kind, TME helps shippers minimize disruptions and rapidly resolve those that do occur.
Contact us today to learn more about how Logistyx’s cloud TMS for parcel shipping can help you quickly adjust supply chain operations for increased agility, efficiency, and scalability.

4 Lessons Healthcare Shippers Can Learn from Retail’s Peak Season

With COVID-19 both disrupting supply chains worldwide and increasing e-commerce demand, retailers face an unprecedented peak season in 2020, including limited carrier capacity and extended delivery times. Recognizing the unique configuration of this year’s peak season, smart retailers planned ahead to get supply chain and logistics operations right to help improve the customer experience.

As healthcare and pharmaceutical companies ramp up efforts to ship critical supplies to help combat the COVID-19 pandemic – such as PPE, ventilators, test kits, and the all-important vaccines – they can learn valuable lessons from retail shippers confronted with unique and urgent circumstances, including these four lessons to enhance their transportation strategies entering the critical new year.

1. Broaden Carrier Networks

The increase in online shopping in 2020 put a noticeable strain on the shipping industry going into peak season. To contend with mounting carrier capacity limitations and navigate potential shipping delays, many retailers broadened their carrier network by adding last-mile and regional carriers to the mix. Growing carrier networks helps introduce more options and capacity into parcel delivery strategies and boosts agility to improve customer service and fulfillment.

For healthcare shippers looking to deliver their vital products to customers on time, without damage, at minimal cost, and in the most efficient manner possible, a cloud multi-carrier shipping solution can help quickly onboard new carriers and assess new delivery modes. Cloud multi-carrier shipping software applications automatically determine the carrier providing the best rates to a particular region and according to the shipper’s business rules and ensures every shipment complies with each carrier’s labeling and communication standards, as well as with any applicable trade regulations.

2. Fortify Cross-Border Shipping

With online shopping allowing consumers to purchase goods from anywhere around the world, many retailers adjusted their transportation strategies to include global shipping capabilities, enabling them to quickly expand their global footprint to take advantage of the market opportunity.

Particularly for pharmaceutical companies involved in vaccine distribution, a global shipping strategy is critical for widely delivering inoculations, therapies, and equipment to various countries. As the world watches the vaccine rollout in the U.K. and prepares to tackle the delivery of the COVID-19 vaccine in their own countries, healthcare shippers need to properly prepare for any logistical challenges to avoid causing long delays at their borders.

Seamless cross-border shipping starts with the right label. Logistyx’s cloud multi-carrier shipping solution ensures every parcel ships with the correct label and documentation, no matter the carrier, destination, or product, making it easier for healthcare and pharmaceutical shippers to effectively reach populations in need. By automatically generating accurate and complete labeling and documentation for every shipment, shippers can avoid delivery interruptions or unexpected delays at customs, saving time and money.

3. Stay Flexible with Increased Visibility

Consumers increasingly value delivery transparency, and many retailers rely on visibility into the parcel delivery journey to help strengthen customer relationships and build loyalty. This peak season, when carrier capacity is tight and shipping rates are high, supply chain execution has created more obstacles along that journey, but savvy retailers that adopted a multi-carrier shipping solution with Control Tower functionality can provide shoppers with the transparency they’ve come to expect. The software syncs and normalizes all shipment data across carriers and delivery destinations, so retailers can manage parcel delivery issues or “exception events,” as they arise, giving customer service teams the opportunity to proactively troubleshoot the exception event and communicate delivery updates to the customer in real time.

There’s likely no more eagerly anticipated delivery than a vaccine for the pandemic that has fundamentally altered the way we live. Delays in vaccine distribution, or other critical supplies like test kits and ventilators, due to unforeseen exception events likely won’t be tolerated by healthcare workers and their patients anxiously awaiting a critical component of a return to normalcy, especially considering the exceptional conditions that must be maintained during cold storage of some vaccines. By relying on a multi-carrier shipping solution equipped with Control Tower capabilities, healthcare companies can monitor and navigate hazardous delays.

4. Implement a Returns Management Strategy

Returns are an inherent part of retail, especially among e-commerce shoppers who don’t get to handle their products before purchase. To ensure returns are simple for consumers and don’t cost an arm and leg for the company, retailers have started to employ more sophisticated returns management strategies. Some include return labels in the outbound shipment with all the correct information and shipping speed pre-determined and selected. Others include instructions for consumers to contact the returns department to verify the return and guide them through the process.

Healthcare and pharmaceutical companies must also prepare for returns. Vaccines packed in dry ice, for example, must include a return for the dry ice in a timely fashion, but with special HAZMAT restrictions. To ensure compliance, cost efficiency, and simplicity for the doctor or pharmacist receiving the vaccine shipment, the shipper should take a lesson from retailers and adopt a well-thought-out returns management strategy.

Contact us to learn more about how Logistyx helps simplify the complexity of parcel shipping for healthcare leaders, retailers, and others, even on a compressed timeline.

Creating Supply Chain Flexibility for Fast and Efficient Vaccine Distribution

If there’s anything the pandemic has taught us, it’s that things change quickly! It’s been a long year dealing with the ups and downs of COVID-19, but with news in recent weeks promising efficacy rates in vaccine trials and inoculation readiness, the supply chain logistics around vaccine distribution has taken a sudden shift.

FreightWaves reports that distribution of the first COVID-19 vaccines in the U.S. could begin as early as December 11. The announcement was made after Pfizer submitted an application to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for emergency authorization to approve its candidate vaccine, with an application from Moderna for its vaccine candidate also expected soon.

The initial vaccine distribution will be both limited and targeted. For example, once the FDA grants emergency approval, Pfizer has prepared to quickly distribute the coronavirus vaccine with a focus on hospitals, outpatient clinics, community vaccination locations, and pharmacies as some of the first locations to receive the inoculations.

As has been widely reported, Pfizer’s vaccine entails strict cold chain requirements that add a level of complexity to its distribution plans. The pharmaceutical company has specially designed temperature-controlled thermal shippers utilizing dry ice to maintain recommended temperature conditions of -70°C for up to 10 days with the intent to utilize Pfizer-strategic transportation partners to ship by air to major hubs within a country/region and by ground transport to dosing locations.

With such stringent requirements, supply chain leaders involved in critical vaccine distribution need to adopt an agile approach to shipping that allows them to anticipate, adapt, and prioritize within shorter time frames in response to carrier capacity issues and other potential disruptions to the supply environment. The ability to optimize distribution strategies in real time and make smart decisions by quickly comparing distribution scenarios to adapt to ongoing shifts in demand, while mitigating delivery risks will allow logistics experts, pharmaceutical distribution specialists, and global carriers to prepare for any potential hiccups in the process.

To help attune their approach to shipping in today’s fast-changing environment to prepare for quick vaccine distribution, participating organizations should adopt a digitized supply chain established via cloud solutions. Integrating a cloud-based transportation management system (TMS) for parcel shipping with their supply chain technology stack can help organizations predict and anticipate risk while improving transparency and coordination across the entire supply chain. This kind of system can provide the data and analytics necessary to detect sub-par logistics performance and uncover opportunities to optimize execution for better outcomes.

ebook logistyx future-proofing-supply-chainDigitized supply chains provide faster, more accurate, and more flexible solutions than other supply chains. For instance, leveraging a cloud-based TMS for parcel shipping enables shippers to efficiently expand their transportation network and utilize multiple carriers, including regional carriers and last-mile couriers – essential partners to create supply chain flexibility and diversity to help attain the distinctive scale of this crucial endeavor of vaccine distribution.

Contact us to learn more about how Logistyx enables shippers to quickly adjust and respond to even the most complex supply chain scenarios.

Drug Supply Chain Security Act: Working with Trusted Partners to Ensure Industry Compliance

In 2013, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) signed the Drug Supply Chain Security Act (DSCSA) into law, establishing requirements for manufacturers, distributors and other entities involved in the drug supply chain for product tracing, product identifiers, authorized trading partners and product verification. With implementation over a 10-year period, the DSCSA enhances the FDA’s ability to help protect consumers from exposure to drugs that may be counterfeit, stolen, contaminated or otherwise harmful. The system also improves detection and removal of potentially dangerous drugs from the drug supply chain to protect U.S. consumers.

Since its signing in 2013, the DSCSA has presented significant challenges for the pharmaceutical industry. To help the industry meet DSCSA requirements, companies throughout the supply chain have developed technology to ensure safety and security measures can be properly achieved in accordance with the FDA’s industry guidance.

Logistyx helps shippers in the pharma industry ensure that every parcel ships with the correct label and documentation, no matter the carrier, destination or product. Logistyx has integrated with a worldwide network of 550+ carrier services to provide regulatory compliance and certification for each shipment. When shipping a specialized product like pharmacological drugs that require extra documentation, Logistyx provides the necessary documents to comply with complex regulations like those required by the DSCSA.

While full implementation of the DSCSA goes into effect on November 27, 2023, the next major milestone for pharmaceutical companies and all trading partners within the pharmaceutical supply chain is coming up on November 27, 2020. As of that date, the FDA will enforce wholesalers to only accept and sell serialized products and verify the serialized number on all saleable returns, and dispensers to only accept serialized product.

For medical drug manufacturers and others involved in the pharma supply chain, it is critical to begin preparing their company for the next phase of DSCSA readiness and compliance, as well as asking questions of their strategic partners.

As stated in the FDA’s guidance document, “Identifying Trading Partners Under the Drug Supply Chain Security Act,” while serving as a solution provider that offers software or systems solutions to help achieve compliance with the requirements under DSCSA, Logistyx does not:

  • take ownership of the product nor direct the sale or disposition of a product
  • provide or coordinate warehousing
  • accept or transfer direct possession of the product

Therefore, Logistyx is not considered a 3PL under the DSCSA and is thus not required to be compliant with DSCSA regulations. However, we would advise shippers and suppliers of medical treatments and drugs in the pharma industry to ensure that certain types of partners are indeed compliant, if they may fit the 3PL licensure requirements under DSCSA in accordance with these guidelines.

To help manage the details of your specialized shipping needs and all the necessary labels, documents, and procedures to ensure compliance, contact us today.

Logistyx TMS Enhances Transportation Planning

PL Developments recovers $1.5 million in transportation savings.

PL Developments (PLD) is a leading manufacturer of over-the-counter (OTC) pharmaceuticals and healthcare products serving virtually every major retailer in the U.S. With manufacturing and fulfillment operations encompassing 12 warehouses and 1.2 million sq. ft. of space, PLD was managing transportation planning for 50,000 parcel, LTL and truckload shipments a year on a system it had outgrown.

Business Challenge

PLD’s transportation team was working in a decentralized manner, with carrier routing decisions being made by staff at each of its locations, who were relying on multiple, non-integrated systems to manage their work.

Solution

PLD already implemented Oracle EBS to manage much of its operations, but also chose Oracle OTM for LTL and TL shipments, Logistyx Audit to automate their freight invoices and the Logistyx TMS for their parcel shipping operations.Read this case study to find out how PLD integrated Logistyx shipping software and audit solutions with its Oracle ERP and OTM solutions to create a centralized platform that has dramatically streamlined transportation planning, audit and payment.

Logistyx Software Accelerates International Shipping by 80%

Gyrus Olympus reduces export document preparation time by 80%.

Challenge

Olympus is one of the world’s leading suppliers of medical visualization and energy systems for surgical procedures with major distribution operations in the U.S., Germany, Canada, Australia and Japan.Olympus had automated domestic shipping, but export shipping was still largely a manual process. International orders were diverted from the general workflow to be handled staff, who were also using compliance data from several manual sources which made the risk of non-compliance too severe.

Solution

Logistyx Ship-IT™ international parcel shipping software was configured to produce a broader set of export documents and handle the AES filing process.

Benefits

  • Accelerated shipping with reduced labor
  • 80% reduction in time spent processing export orders, now processed as quickly as domestic orders
  • Accurate, compliant, professional export documents