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Customers and innovators call on industry to share more data and knowledge at the Cool Chain Association’s Pharma and Biosciences Conference this week

Cool chain partners are changing their mindsets to join shippers and start-ups shaping the supply chain of the future, delegates at the Cool Chain Association (CCA)’s Pharma and Biosciences Conference heard this week.

Updates and information about smart data applications, unmanned aircraft, and supplier management solutions were shared at the two-day event, attended by industry leaders from across the cool supply chain.

Pharma manufacturer Novo Nordisk 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,” said 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.”

Using the system, Novo Nordirk has scaled down costs, improved reliability, and can identify areas for improvement much more easily.

Drone start-ups Avy and Dronomics 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, Dronomics, said she felt 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 said.

“Tell us what you need, and we can come back with ideas and with costs.”

Avy founder Patrique Zaman said 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 said.

“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) said 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 said.

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 explained the industry was helping 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 said.

“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.”

Stavros Evangelakakis, Cool Chain Chairman and Global Product Manager, Cargolux said 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 said.

Delegates also learnt 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 percent for domestic shipments and rejection rates close to zero during storage and transportation.

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.

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