Peli BioThermal surveyed key opinion leaders in the biopharmaceutical industry to better understand emerging cold chain challenges.

The 2019 Biopharma Cold Chain Logistics Survey report details compelling findings — revealing the concerns, trends and technologies that are top-of-mind for leaders in biopharma production and distribution. 

“As strong growth continues across the global pharmaceutical industry, the sub-category of temperature-controlled products is surging ahead — growing at twice the rate of the industry overall,” said David Williams, President of Peli BioThermal. “Our survey reveals what matters most to key biopharma leaders — and what it means for the future — as the industry deals with the rapid growth and complexity of temperature-controlled logistics.” 

The survey uncovered three key trends driving top concerns around cold chain logistics. One trend is increasing quality demands as more sensitive products bring logistics complexity and greatly expanded risk. While awareness of temperature-controlled requirements is high, the survey results find that temperature excursions happen frequently — and they’re not always minor. 

Nearly half of survey respondents (44.6 percent) reported multiple temperature excursions per year, and 41 percent reported their excursions exceeded four degrees. Furthermore, the majority of survey respondents value temperature and location tracking as part of their quality assurance process, however only one in four respondents use this type of monitoring.

Another trend uncovered by the survey is the expanding distribution range as products move further and through more climactic zones than ever. More than half of survey respondents (51.8 percent) regularly ship products internationally — creating an increasingly complex web of local, regional and international connections that require a broad range of transport modes. 

Air and ground transport remain the most common transportation modes, but many of the survey respondents are leveraging a flexible portfolio that includes increasing sea and rail transport. 

The final trend revealed through the survey is the need to optimise total cost of ownership (TCO) due to relentless competition and margin pressures. These pressures are leading organisations to take a closer look at defining TCO in their logistics and supply chain operations. A full 70 percent of survey respondents agree that TCO is important or very important, while only 10 percent still merely look at basic packaging costs and transport rates. 

Driven by a better understanding of TCO, biopharma organisations are increasingly recognising the benefits of reusable containers to protect and deliver their highly sensitive products. An impressive 79 percent of survey respondents said reusable containers — though more expensive than single-use containers — are worth the investment. More than one-third of respondents (37.6 percent) are already using reusable rental programs in their cold chain logistics operations and 25 percent are actively exploring this option.