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Pharmaceutical Manufacturing and Packing Sourcer

As Easy as Riding a Bike

When dusting down the bicycles after their winter hibernation earlier this year, it was noted that my son and daughter would need much shorter legs if they did not want their knees to interfere with the important process of steering. And since leg shortening was not an option, a trip to the bike store was quickly decided on.

I may not be a cycling expert, but I am a 'technology magpie' and a proud father. So the challenge for me when selecting anything for my children, including their bicycles, is separating the understood needs from my desire to see them both succeed – whether it be winning the Tour de France or some other achievement.

What this really comes down to is a matter of balancing those two criteria, knowing that, somewhere in the middle, is the correct solution – a solution that can support today’s needs, but also has the capability to help them reach their aspirations.

This type of challenge also exists in the cold chain distribution world. When our American partner, Cold Chain Technologies, invested in supporting Central and Latin America with the creation of localised manufacturing, careful consideration was needed to determine the right type of packaging for a region with complex and unique regulations and infrastructure.

Similar to my bicycle dilemma, there are a core set of understood needs.

Furthermore, the market is young, developing in a fast and exciting way, and whatever is implemented today will need to support the region’s future success.

With any young market, the objective is always to offer robust solutions that are future-proofed to address unknown challenges and can support inexperienced handlers, while being simple-to-use and economically viable.

In this case, the solution we developed brought together conventional systems, and combined them with some of the newer and more exciting phasechange technologies. This enabled a broad range of thermal performance capabilities, while also keeping the number of components low, the configuration simple, and the cost within a sensible range.

Focus was also given to system modularity in order to lessen the issues of inventory and give users more flexibility of choice for payload space. In addition, with a range of phasechange materials, even the performance range can be switched between -20°C, 2°C to 8°C, and 15°C to 25°C.

The experience as a whole was not that different to projects we have undertaken in other emerging markets. Another point to note is that support cannot stop with the development of these containers. We have a responsibility as partners within the region, and must work with clients and their other product and service providers – be that portable data logging, logistics or third-party warehousing.

And if these things are done correctly, it means we are all ready and the support is in place for when everything changes up to the next gear.

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About the author

Richard Harrop
is a qualified structural packaging design engineer, coming previously from the FMCG sector. He has been involved in the temperature-controlled packaging industry for over 10 years. During this time, he has developed and implemented several successful temperature-controlled solutions for many of the world’s leading pharmaceutical and biotechnology corporations.
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Richard Harrop
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