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Oct 03

How to Minimize Risk in Cold Chain Packaging

To ensure the best management of pharmaceuticals in terms of both manufacture and protection, companies have to aggressively follow all the right evaluation methods. Minimizing risks in cold chain processes is not just a strategy but also a need for companies to comply with all rules and regulations.

Companies can follow best practices and guidelines, but considering every region’s different shipment structures and carriers, it’s a challenge for companies to follow them exactly because regulations are normally not region-specific but general, yet they are still very detailed.

So how can a company meet their targets for both profit and safety? Here are few tips to ensure best packaging which fulfills the needs of the company, makes customers happy and also adheres to health and safety rules.

What is your weakest link?

It’s extremely important for every pharmaceutical company to detect its weak areas, where it needs improvement. Do you deal with shipment preventions on a regular basis due to bad weathers or handle cold attitudes of cargo-handlers? Finding the weakest link in the entire logistics chain requires both time and resources. Therefore, you must consider the following to see if you are dealing with your weaknesses efficiently:

a) Perform a gap analysis and document all the risky points.

b) Manage the risk for each point in the entire logistics.

c) Establish quality and validation system in a way that trains your employees and optimizes your carriers

d) Carefully review everything mentioned above. Perform final security measures testing to see if all the previous steps are in place to reduce the risk.

How effective is your packaging?

Temperatures at the manufacturing plant and the destination are different, which can cause damage to liquids inside shipping vehicles and containers. The damage could also be caused by sudden flight delays or prolonged security inspections.

To handle this problem, companies must ensure the following:

a) Usage of specialized containers which meet expectations of green companies, have longer hold capability, are cost-effective and weigh less.

b) The complete checking of packaging, for example; validate gel pack conditioning procedures, equipment usage during shipment, temperature qualifications, CQ/DQ/IQ/OQ/PQ)

Do you excessively opt for new, technologically advanced packaging?

Using more of something is not always good – it can be fatal. Are you confident that your packaging has a perfect match with your distribution process and the product inside? Will it stand up to damage due to bad weather, or face other major or minor issues? If this is the case, then you must be spending a lot of money in using the right material, temperature and shipment weight. Is this excessive spending really necessary for the product, or is it over-engineering the packaging activities? Taking the right measures comes from knowledge, and knowledge is acquired through gathering data. Therefore, you must go through the following:

a) Any research study which reveals the perfect temperature ranges for the biochemical and pharmaceuticals. (Conducted in your region of business operations)

b) Any research study which has examined the impact of seasonal changes on products

c) Any research study which has examined the impact of packaging on products

d) Any technical reports which make perfect cost comparisons of all packaging options.

Do you address changes in the environment and undertake training programs?

In-house training programs are always beneficial if adopted pro-actively. The training programs should always be chosen with respect to the organization’s specific shipping and receiving needs. These programs must focus on:

a) Proper guidance on evaluation, screening and rejection

b) Assessment of packaging options

c) Training on quality assurance and complete audit

d) SOPs for pre-conditioning packaging (+2 to +8 C shipments)

e) Proper training on industry guidelines

f) Complete information on supplier qualification for shipment projects

g) Usage of advanced equipments for temperature assessment and temperature controlled packaging solutions, training employees how to carry out such an assessment and deciding appropriate ranges.

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