Posts in Manufacturing

Sustainable Packaging in the Life Sciences and Healthcare Industry

July 7th, 2020 Posted by Manufacturing, Pharmaceutical & Life Sciences, Update 0 thoughts on “Sustainable Packaging in the Life Sciences and Healthcare Industry”

Sustainable Packaging in the Life Sciences and Healthcare Industry

Authors: QProducts & Services Digital Team, Under the Direction of Paul Yadron, Sr. VP of Sales

 

 

 

Sustainable packaging is and always has been a topic of discussion amongst vendors, suppliers, and customers in the life sciences and healthcare industries. The rate of acceptability is accelerating, and companies are adapting more than ever. In episode two of the Cold Chain Council Podcast, Peter Mirabella of QProducts and Services breaks down the factors that drive QProducts to implement sustainable packaging and practices into the products they build.

palletquilts in a box

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Q: How does QProducts and Services look at packaging sustainability and how is it different from years past?

 

A: We, as most of the world, want and need to improve the environment. From the air we breathe to minimizing the consumption of our natural resources, these are the basic driving factors. We would be foolish to think that cost is not part of this equation. As a manufacturer of packaging solutions, we are always balancing cost effectiveness with sustainable solutions. In the past, there was an “either/or” approach to packaging sustainability. For example, either developing an elaborate re-use program or the more challenging recyclable program. Now, it’s a matter of being good stewards of the world around us and making packaging sustainability a priority.

 

 

Q: Let’s talk about recycling and what that means with materials.

 

A: These are both challenging areas that require innovation by manufacturers such as QProducts and Services and those involved in Cold Chain Council. Of course, there is no one best answer but rather a multifaceted approach to attack sustainability. We incorporate technology, innovation in materials, collaboration with our customers, maximizing truckload capacities by packaging, and finally, looking at preferable recyclable materials.

 

 

Q: Why do we need to rethink packaging in life sciences and healthcare?

 

A: We need to rethink packaging in life sciences and healthcare because our customers drive us too. Although I say this, we know well that it is our customer’s customers and that being a society as a whole drive us to continue our innovation.

 

 

Q: Why aren’t there mature sustainable solutions today?

 

A: There has been and continues to be an evolution in both materials and manufacturing processes. As an engineer, we balance cost and material characteristics with what fits into reasonable assembly processes to fit the strict criteria to protect temperature-sensitive commodities. As engineers, we are limited with what and how these come together into a finished solution. As you may expect, these limitations result in less sustainable solutions. We continuously research materials we use in our solutions that are low cost and high performing and fit into our manufacturing process. There are always innovations going on from raw material properties to how they are converted into shapes we use to build solutions for our customers.

 

A perfect example I can share with you are materials used in the residential construction and home goods industries that transitioned into the packaging industry. Historically, the fabrics were either too narrow or too expensive. As technologies improved in how fabrics are manufactured and converted into usable fabrics for temperature packaging solutions, engineers found these products usable in our manufacturing processes.

 

 

Q: What motivates you to rethink packaging in your supply chain?

 

A: The challenge of solving problems. For example, temperature protection packaging is lightweight and if I can use a very technical engineering term, “fluffy.” Shipping air is not sustainable particularly when we consider the future availability of fuel and our focus to reduce carbon emissions. To help with these sustainable concerns, we figured out a way to remove air from our product. QProducts has invested and incorporated new technology that allows us to compress the air from our product, therefore increasing the number of units shipped per pallet. Consequently, we minimize the number of shipments to our customers. In turn, they improve their carbon footprint due to finding a better packaging method and solution.

 

Another important motivation to note is reducing costs. With sustainable packaging, the cost per unit to ship is dramatically reduced. The savings we may have offered our customers in the past are now the new standard. There is always an ever-driving force to develop lower cost solutions. However, don’t get me wrong, in many cases you get what you pay for. There is a correlation in price to performance. We like to call it price performance continuum.

 

 

Q: Can you share a glimpse into the future of packaging?

 

A: The future of packaging is technology and data analytics driven. It comes from advancements in materials, migration of other industry technologies into the manufacturing world, and just old fashion collaboration. We utilize computer simulation software to refine or enhance our design solutions on a regular basis. When you think about life sciences or healthcare, the qualification process is long and tedious. We all know the traditional steps of DQ, OQ, and PQ. With the use of computer simulations, engineers can dial in the best solution for each application, lane or pack out.

 

So, what is the impact on the future of packaging? We see solutions getting to market faster and being more refined, which means using less packaging material and as always, being the best cost-effective solution to the end user.

 

The future of packaging will also be driven through collaboration. QProducts and Services and Riskpulse are a perfect example of how our customers benefit from this collaboration. Riskpulse is a web-based software solution that uses data analysis of up-to-the-minute weather conditions. It provides intellectual risk-based scoring to help recommend preferred transportation modes for your temperature sensitive commodities.

 

Imagine the ability to bring data built through computer simulation and incorporating that into live weather data making decisions on which mode of transport to use – refrigerated transport, active shipper, pallet shipper, passive shipper, or simply over the road service. The future of technology is information driven.

 

 

Q: What are your main challenges?

 

A: Developing a truly recyclable solution and working towards curbside reliability in all our materials. Our Inspect/Clean/Recycle program for extending the performance and safe use potential of every pallet cover in a client’s network is something we strive to continuously improve.

 

 

At QProducts and Services, every quilt we make takes reefers – and their larger carbon footprint – off the road. It’s our goal to reduce the footprint of the logistics industry through safe product development and recycling programs. Learn more about our commitment to sustainability and discover more of our temperature protection solutions.

 

 

 

woman at grocery store during covid19

COVID-19 Impact on the Food Supply Chain: Solutions for Food Service

April 23rd, 2020 Posted by Food & Beverage, Manufacturing, Temperature Protection 0 thoughts on “COVID-19 Impact on the Food Supply Chain: Solutions for Food Service”

COVID-19 Impact on the Food Supply Chain: Solutions for Food Service

Authors: QProducts & Services Food & Beverage Team, Under the Direction of Kevin Lynch and Stephen Wozniak

 

woman at grocery store during covid19The direct connection between farms and restaurants has been severely impacted, as many restaurants have had to close their doors, only offering curbside pickup. There is a widespread transition taking place in which the focus has shifted from providing to restaurants to providing for grocery stores and homes. To adjust to the current situation, some farmers and producers have closed or altered their operations. Food service fleets including Sysco, U.S. Foods, and Gordon Food Service are being utilized to replenish retail grocery. Also, food service supply companies are now selling to individuals through home delivery. As a food service distributor or food manufacturer, there are supply chain solutions to help you navigate this increased demand.

us foods during covid19

Food Suppliers Pivot Their Distribution

 

The major distribution firms that supply the food service business have taken a number of steps to deal with the situation. For example, Sysco stated that they are actively pursuing new sources of revenue by leveraging their supply chain expertise to provide services to the retail grocery sector. Furthermore, a partnership is being formed between the International Foodservice Distributors Association (IFDA) and the FMI-Food Industry Association. According to Food Management, the arrangement encourages foodservice distributors that have excess capacity in terms of products and/or transportation and warehousing services to assist food retailers and wholesalers that require additional resources to fulfill needs at grocery stores, which are experiencing skyrocketing demand.

 

For home delivery, Sysco has announced it has launched Sysco@HOME, a convenient solution allowing consumers to purchase restaurant-quality grocery items from the comfort of their own home.

 

U.S. Foods is also proceeding with a similar strategy. Chairman and CEO Pietro Satriano stated, “We are exploring new ways that U.S. Foods can leverage our business capabilities during this challenging time, including starting to sell some of our inventory to retail outlets like grocery stores and temporarily contracting some of our distribution workforce to companies experiencing a spike in demand.”

home food delivery during covid19

 

Supply Chain Food Packaging Solutions

 

As organizations work tirelessly to meet the increased demands placed upon the food industry, there are solutions to protect temperature-sensitive food shipments.

 

The ThermaPak® is a proven solution designed for the distribution of frozen and refrigerated food items. It is used as an economic and environmentally friendly alternative to dry ice and gel packs . At QProducts and Services, we engineered the ThermaPak® to retain product freshness for extended periods of time, regardless of external temperatures.

 

“Yesterday we had a refrigerated unit go down on a trailer and had to bring it back for a reload. The route had 20 cases of ice cream on it. Four of the cases of ice cream were in a ThermaPak® with no dry ice and the remaining sixteen were in an older soft side bag from a competitor with dry ice sprinkled in. The 4 cases in the ThermaPak® were still frozen when the truck arrived and the 16 in the older bags had begun to soften to the point that they could not be saved. Definitely a testament to the quality of your product,” stated the Vice President of Operations at a Leading Food Service Distributor. Learn more about how this Florida based food service distributor improved ice cream delivery practices using ThermaPak®.

thermapak for temperature sensitive shipments

 

Passive Temperature Protection Versus Active Temperature Protection

 

Passive temperature protection does not require the need for a power supply, while active temperature protection does. Our ThermaPak® solution works by passive temperature protection, ensuring quality, safety, and efficacy of temperature-sensitive products within a pre-defined range. In addition, passive temperature protection solutions provide added flexibility in areas of your network where refrigerated capacity is limited and/or comes with a high premium.  .

 

Furthermore, passive temperature protection can complement active temperature protection by creating the ability to combine frozen and fresh in a single temperature compartment.  Given the current global and economic state, it’s important to have a packaging solution that can adapt to your needs.   With passive temperature protection, you have more options to cost-effectively transport your food items regardless of the quantity.

 

At QProducts & Services, our team was able to engineer the Cap and Wrap PalletQuilt® for simple combo loading. It would hold the integrity of frozen items, such as ice cream, shipped on a refrigerated trailer set at 36°F. Learn more about how this solution can extend the life of your fleet, increase operational flexibility, and cut costs.

 

monitoring temperature of food

Final Thoughts

 

As we move forward through these changing times, we realize many manufacturers are in a position where they need to adapt and evolve to the current disruption. Some food supply chains are adapting daily. As Civil Eats stated, “every single day is something new.”

 

Our team of temperature protection experts at QProducts and Services is here to provide solutions to fit your adapting food supply chain. We hope this information was insightful, and we encourage you to reach out to us should you have any questions or inquiries on the solutions we can provide.

kombucha fermenting

Keeping the Kombucha Cold Chain Intact

March 23rd, 2020 Posted by Food & Beverage, Manufacturing, Temperature Protection 0 thoughts on “Keeping the Kombucha Cold Chain Intact”

Keeping the Kombucha Cold Chain Intact

Authors: QProducts & Services Food & Beverage Team, Under the Direction of Kevin Lynch and Stephen Wozniak

 

 

Critics say kombucha is just another health fad that will soon fizzle out, but the market proves otherwise. Its popularity has made the beverage market soar, and it has given manufacturers opportunities to expand into the kombucha business. Kombucha brewers are impacting the beverage industry at an accelerated pace, and the rise of this fermented beverage has kombucha brewers seeking solutions to protect their brand and product integrity throughout the cold chain.

kombucha fermenting

Analyzing Temperature Thresholds of Kombucha

 

There are important considerations in order to maintain the health of the cultures when transporting kombucha. According to Kombucha Brewers International, cold storage ought to be maintained at 34-40°F (1.1-4.4°C) to slow the fermentation of the kombucha throughout the supply chain. Unpasteurized kombucha contains live cultures and can continue to ferment and raise alcohol content over time, especially if transported, stored, or displayed without being stored in cold temperatures.

 

Passive temperature protection can make this happen, given that it ensures certain commodities maintain a specific temperature range during the shipping process.

temperature monitoring

Alternatives to Refrigerated Transport

 

It is imperative that the integrity of kombucha is protected during fermentation and during transit. Although kombucha brews best between 68-78°F, the temperatures associated with transporting the product may vary, depending on the living cultures and alcohol content. According to GT’s Living Foods, their kombucha is a raw food containing billions of living probiotics so it should always be kept in a chilled refrigerator between 33-37°F.

 

On the other hand, Kombuchade crafts their kombucha as a probiotic sports drink that is stable at ambient temperature for distribution and then requires refrigeration once received at the retailer. Matt Lancor, founder of Kombuchade, states “We can ship via ambient temperature. As long as it not freezing or at boiling temperatures, we are happy.” So, how do you keep the product at ambient temperature?

 

There are certain products on the market that capture the existing environment of the freight and help maintain a safe temperature range throughout the delivery process. PalletQuilt® does just that, in which it protects the cargo from extremes of both heat and cold. PalletQuilt® can be applied and removed in minutes, and is recyclable.

 

As mentioned above, there are alternatives to refrigerated transport. Most kombucha manufacturers are currently using thermal box liners to maintain their cold chain. Insulated thermal box liners are lined with reflective metalized film to keep temperatures consistent during transit while protective bubble lining cushions your items. If you’re considering foil bubble box liners for your products, here at QProducts & Services, we provide cost-effective, versatile insulated shipping liners that supply thermal protection for parcel-sized shipments. These QFoil™ Box Liners are made with a thicker foil and bubble combination for more extreme transit conditions.

 

qfoil box liner

 

Kombucha’s Impact on the Beverage Industry

 

According to Forbes, in response to the falsely labeled alcohol content on some kombucha bottles back in 2010, the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau updated its guidelines to highlight that it would regulate any kombucha products that contain 0.5% or more alcohol by volume, or ABV. Many kombucha manufacturers took different routes in response to this regulation. Some complied with the ABV guidelines while others created consciously labeled kombucha beer brands.

 

To remain compliant, many kombucha manufacturers have undergone reformulation or modification of their brewing processes in order to comply with federal law. While the specifics of each manufacturer’s process remain confidential, most have manipulated the yeast, either through filtration, centrifuge, or other means.

“We have been fortunate to be able to work with the University of Wisconsin to help refine our fermentation process in order to keep our product in compliance,” said Vanessa Tortolano of NessAlla Kombucha.

 

In addition, kombucha has made a major impact on the food and beverage industry. Evidence-based health benefits have driven consumer demand and many people believe that it helps treat their health problems. According to Healthline, it is a source of probiotics, contains antioxidants, can kill harmful bacteria, and has been shown to improve LDL and HDL cholesterol levels. Similarly, analysts believe that more people are drinking kombucha because there has been more interest in healthier drinks. People who are moving away from sugary drinks and sodas want a little more taste than plain water.

 

“I was inspired by GT’s kombucha to formulate probiotic sports drinks using only naturally fermented, organic plants. I believe that we have created the cleanest, and most functional sports drinks on the planet,” exclaimed Matt Lancor, founder of Kombuchade.

brewing kombucha

Kombucha Industry Growth

 

Furthermore, in the past decade, kombucha has become an influential player in the global beverage economy, especially in the United States. The global market size of the fermented beverage is anticipated to hit $6.2 billion by 2026, according to a report by Acumen Research and Consulting.

 

In 2016, PepsiCo announced that it had entered into a definitive agreement to acquire KeVita, a leading North American creator of fermented probiotic and kombucha beverages. Similarly, in 2018, the Coca-Cola Company had acquired kombucha maker Organic and Raw Trading Co., which makes the MOJO brand of naturally fermented, live culture, organic kombucha drinks. Although the commercialized market history of kombucha is as recent as a little over twenty years, its market size and product variety are growing fast.

market growth chart

Final Thoughts

 

Kombucha brewers recognize the risk in making changes to how their product travels through the supply chain. They also understand the importance of operating a cost-effective supply chain to remain competitive in a growing industry. Through a strategic partnership with Riskpulse, QProducts & Services is now able to quantify temperature risks in advance of a brewer shipping an order.

 

Furthermore, QTechnical Services, a division of QProducts & Services, specializes in executing live temperature studies to qualify performance of a passive temperature protection solution. QTechnical Services collaborates with the brewer to understand their unique requirements, then creates a custom test protocol to assure valuable data is collected during the temperature study. A detailed report verifies the results allowing the brewer to make informed decisions.

 

Overall, the kombucha market is very competitive and is driven by an increase in health and wellness interests, in addition to the growing consumer demand for health products and natural ingredients. With the explosive industry growth and rise of various brands including GT Living Foods, KeVita, Kombuchade, Health-Aide, Brew Dr. Kombucha, and many more, manufacturers are driven to provide consumers with the best product while protecting their brand and product integrity at all stages of the supply chain and consumer consumption.

 

We believe in the future of this industry, and we believe passive temperature protection can continue to help this beverage market soar.

coronavirus

Coronavirus and its Impact on the Global Supply Chain

March 3rd, 2020 Posted by Manufacturing, Temperature Protection, Transportation, Update 0 thoughts on “Coronavirus and its Impact on the Global Supply Chain”

Coronavirus and its Impact on the Global Supply Chain

Authors: QProducts & Services Team, Under the Direction of Paul Yadron, Sr. VP of Sales

 

 

 

While a number of new cases related to the coronavirus continues to rise in China and around the globe, the impact of the coronavirus has expanded into the U.S. energy, agriculture, and transportation sectors. From a transportation perspective, supply chains have been compromised as China’s government has worked to contain the virus. At QProducts & Services, we want to provide you with the most up to date information on what is occurring.

 

coronavirus

 

What is Coronavirus?

 

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), coronaviruses or CoV are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV). A novel coronavirus (nCoV) is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans. Lastly, the virus is zoonotic, meaning that it is transmitted between animals and people.

 

 

hong kong port

 

Coronavirus and Supply Chain Disruption

 

Since the outbreak in December 2019, the supply chain has been compromised from the China marine terminals to the inland destination points. Cargo that has been offloaded at China terminals has been backing up. Domestic freight routing has been hindered because of the measures to contain the spread of the virus. According to Talk Business, less cargo has been shipped from China to the United States as production in China has slowed because factories have been shut down to contain the virus. The lower volumes of cargo and containers have led to fewer ocean shipments to the United States.

 

Every company that ships products in and out of China has to plan and prepare for production and distribution slowdowns. Closed-off ports and delayed shipments from China are causing ocean reefer rates to increase and capacity to tighten. Less cargo has been shipped from China to the United States as production in China has slowed because factories have been shut down to contain the virus.

 

About 40% of all shipments that entered the United States in January 2020 came from China, according to Freightwaves. Now, shipments are backing up and being cancelled due to the coronavirus, limiting shipments that can enter the United States. The coronavirus has also removed about 300,000 to 350,000 twenty-foot equivalent units of demand from Chinese exports to the world, reported Talk Business. There is also a limited supply of reefer plugs in China’s ports, resulting in congestion and lack of availability.

 

global business impact

 

Solutions to the Coronavirus Impact on the Supply Chain

 

We are working to help customers around the globe find alternatives to reefers by using CargoQuilt®

and ContainerKit™ solutions. While we cannot control the delays and cancellations caused by the coronavirus, we can provide alternative solutions. Rather than eating the cost of rising ocean reefer rates, companies can still protect their temperature-sensitive cargo with passive temperature protection shipping solutions.

 

Passive temperature protection does not require the need for a power supply, while active temperature protection does. Our CargoQuilt® and ContainerKit™ solutions work by passive temperature protection, ensuring quality, safety, and efficacy of temperature-sensitive products within a pre-defined range. In addition, passive temperature protection solutions tend to have a lower cost than active temperature protection given elimination of a power supply and the fixed amount of thermal protection.

 

 

multi trip container kitFinal Thoughts

 

Shippers are watching the unfolding impact of the coronavirus closely, and many have already begun to factor delays into their supply pipelines. An ever-growing number of companies are feeling the effects of the deadly virus, with many global organizations fearful that it could get worse. Global tech giant Apple has warned of global “iPhone supply shortages” resulting from its Chinese factories closing due to the outbreak.

 

“Many companies are turning to charter flights to deal with the lack of supply, these flights have been fluctuating between $500,000 and $800,000 one way,” American Global Logistics​ said in an update emailed to Supply Chain Dive.

 

While the impact is substantial, there are alternatives to help combat the rising costs. Supply chain visibility is more important than ever as companies determine the best approach and monitor the risks involved. For now, those who proactively identify specific supply risks and manage it can potentially find solutions or help mitigate the impact.

 

global supply chain

Commodity Protection in the Global Supply Chain

February 3rd, 2020 Posted by Manufacturing, Transportation, Update 0 thoughts on “Commodity Protection in the Global Supply Chain”

Commodity Protection in the Global Supply Chain

Authors: QProducts & Services Team, Under the Direction of Paul Yadron, Sr. VP of Sales

 

 

 

 

In our global supply chain, consumable items require specialized forms of transportation and storage. Consumer tastes, legislative change, transit, deterioration, and physical damage are all factors that impact how commodities are protected and transported. In the pharmaceutical industry specifically, certain controlled room-temperature (CRT) drugs require stricter regulations and review due to the sensitive nature of the product. On the other hand, the food and beverage sector requires increased temperature protection due to consumer demand and shifting consumer tastes.

global supply chainWhat is a Consumable Commodity?

 

In the logistics space, a consumable commodity is a product that is intended to be consumed. These could be defined as coffee, dairy, or certain drugs and medicines.

 

woman in grocery store scanning oil

 

Legislative Policy on Food Commodities in the Supply Chain

 

Government regulations and procedures affect all elements of the logistics system. Many governments throughout the world have established policies on the selection of commodities such as medical products. For example, how items are procured, when items are distributed, where and how items are stored, and the quantities customers receive are all factors involved in legislative policy.

 

In the food and beverage industry, food commodities can be either raw agricultural commodities or processed commodities, provided that they are the forms that are sold or distributed for human consumption. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, or EPA, a raw, agricultural commodity is defined to include the following:

  • Fresh fruits, whether or not they have been washed and colored or otherwise treated in their unpeeled natural form
  • Vegetables in their raw or natural state, whether or not they have been stripped of their outer leaves
  • Grains, nuts, eggs, raw milk, meats, and similar agricultural produce

 

In the United States, although there is no all-encompassing federal legislation regulating the packaging industry, the federal government has asserted its authority to regulate food, drug, and cosmetic packaging to preserve consumer safety and confidence. For example, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, or FDA, regulates the packaging and labeling of food. The intent of these regulations is to enhance the safety of food distributed throughout the country and keep consumers informed about the food they’re consuming.

 

From a supply chain perspective, the packaging and transportation of food commodities is highly regulated, especially at the packaging stage. Packaging materials such as plastics, coatings, papers, food colorants, and adhesives must be regulated and deemed safe for use. Under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, it is the FDA’s responsibility to make certain that no packaging materials contaminate food, and determine if new food-contact materials, or new uses of already-used materials are safe.

 

In addition, the Food Safety Modernization Act, or FSMA, enables the FDA to better protect public health by strengthening the food safety system. The primary target of FSMA is to eliminate contamination during transportation. By focusing on sanitary transportation, the FDA plans for FSMA to eliminate day-to-day practices that lead to food-safety risks, such as a failure to store food items at the appropriate temperature. Temperature protection is imperative in the food supply chain to ensure the quality of the food remains intact. According to Safe Food Alliance, FSMA will touch every segment of the produce business supply chain from farm to fork. Under FSMA, the FDA has proposed seven major regulations that affect how produce is grown, packed, processed, shipped, and imported.

 

monitoring temperature of foodLegislative Policy on Pharmaceutical Commodities in the Supply Chain

 

In the pharmaceutical industry, the quality of a pharmaceutical product’s packaging plays an integral role in preserving the quality and effectiveness of medication through its shelf life. Per FDA regulations, pharmaceutical packaging must provide protection against the following:

 

  • Exposure to light, moisture, oxygen, and variations in temperature
  • Physical damage through handling, shipping, and storage processes
  • Contamination
  • Package labeling must clearly identify the product

 

With these packaging regulations, pharmaceuticals and prescription drugs must be monitored to secure protection in the pharmaceutical supply chain. Strong pharmaceutical legislation in the logistics space not only helps to strengthen each link within the pharmaceutical supply chain, but helps ensure access to and availability of medicines.

 

Furthermore, a nonprescription medicine is one that the FDA has found to be safe and effective for direct consumer use based on the label instructions and warnings. Regulatory review of CRT drugs is conducted by the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER) within the FDA. These CRT drugs go through a system of active-ingredient-specific CRT monographs, which is a rulemaking process that establishes drug standards. An expert advisory panel meets to assess whether the active ingredients in the drug meet the standard of GRASE: generally recognized as safe and effective.

 

In addition to safety regulation, CRT drugs require specific temperature protection during transit. The FDA has specific regulations that define appropriate storage conditions for pharmaceuticals. The majority of CRT medications are designed to be stored in their original packaging at approximately room temperature, which can range from 15-25°C (59-77°F). However, certain refrigerated drugs must be stored and transported within 2-8°C (35-46°F), unless a medicine is deemed stable at other temperature ranges.

 

Prior to the CRT regulations mentioned, CRT drugs, or control room temperature (CRT) pharma products, were not always required to be protected as part of the cold chain. Historically, cold-chain products received some type of specialized packaging, while CRT products could be shipped with standard packaging. Around 2012, the industry experienced a revolution as managing temperatures of pharmaceutical products during shipment became more tightly regulated. Both cold-chain products and CRT products began receiving specialized packaging geared to the temperature ranges listed on the product label. With this change, the industry saw the demand for passive thermal packaging.

 

According to Pharmaceutical Commerce, cold chain means, almost universally, a 2-8°C (35-46°F) temperature range. CRT is a mixture of many different storage and shipping temperature ranges, as identified on the product label. There are significant differences in managing the logistics of the two classes of products. Nevertheless, temperature protection for ambient temperature profiles or CRT shipments became just as imperative as practices for cold chain shipments. Now, passive thermal packaging ensures these commodities maintain a specific temperature range during the shipping process by relying on a source of energy and insulation.

 

fda pharmaceuticals

 

Consumer Tastes and Commodities in the Cold Chain

 

Over the next few years, the ingredient landscape across big food chains is expected to shift considerably as more players move to sustainable, natural, and less processed alternatives, according to Nation’s Restaurant News. Consumer preferences have driven this course over the last decade. Consumers want to know where their food is coming from and how it is raised. Certain food commodities will need to ship under stricter tolerances as less preservatives and fresher ingredients will require increased temperature sensitivity.

 

In addition, this generational shift in consumer taste is impacting the industry as a whole. According to a report by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, millennial households are buying more unprocessed foods such as fruits and vegetables versus pasta and potato chips. In summary, millennials want their food quick, easy, fresh, and non-processed. Millennials also want convenience. According to Food Insight, 55% of millennials say that convenience is one of the most important factors when they are deciding what foods to buy.

 

The demand for quality and convenience has also opened up the market to meal kit delivery companies including Blue Apron, and also grocery delivery services such as Amazon Fresh. The cold chain makes all of this possible, but it’s also had to change to keep up with this demand. Without the expertise, execution, and growth of cold food logistics, none of the items mentioned above would be possible.

 

The cold chain market is expected to experience growth given this demand. According to Food Logistics, the global cold chain market is projected to grow by $3.9 billion, driven by a compounded growth of 10.8%. Transportation companies must adapt so they can safely and quickly deliver food without it going bad. Refrigerated delivery units and passive temperature protection will continue to rise. So, how do supply chains accommodate this demand?

 

 

amazon fresh truck

 

Final Thoughts

 

Passive temperature protection ensures that consumable commodities maintain a specific temperature range during the shipping process, whether that lasts hours or days. It’s in these circumstances that thermal packaging and cold chain shipping containers are used to help protect these commodities.

 

Supply chains will need to adapt and improve their processes in order to keep up with industry regulations and consumer demand.

 

Overall, commodity security and protection impacts products throughout the supply chain and the consumers that receive them and use them. Food and medicine safety have been and always will be a priority, and it begins with the manufacturing, packaging, and distribution of products.

Automation Is Not the Enemy: Systematizing Workflow in the Supply Chain

December 16th, 2019 Posted by Manufacturing, Technology 0 thoughts on “Automation Is Not the Enemy: Systematizing Workflow in the Supply Chain”

Automation Is Not the Enemy: Systematizing Workflow in the Supply Chain

Authors: QProducts & Services Team, Under the Direction of Paul Yadron, Sr. VP of Sales

 

 

 

 

Imagine a world where automation comes together with technology to deliver products without much human intervention, if any. Historically, automation has been applied to virtual processes, such as auditing or reporting. However, the trends in automation are changing to reflect actions that function more like artificial intelligence. According to Supply Chain Management Review, “the last 25 years was all about who could make things cheapest, and the next 25 years will be about who can make things smartest.”

 

automation

 

What is Supply Chain Automation?

In essence, supply chain automation means utilizing technology to centrally manage a complex web of working parts. The goal in supply chain automation is to systematize part or all of a workflow in order to improve processes. Automating part or all of the supply chain has a number of benefits that can potentially reduce operating costs and increase revenue.

 

In traditional supply chain systems, the phases act as autonomous phases that have minimal visibility. According to BCI Supply Chain Resilience Report, 69% of companies don’t have complete visibility of their supply chain. On the other hand, supply chain visibility is among the top strategic priority of companies worldwide, according to GEODIS Supply Chain Worldwide Survey. With automation, the supply chain is streamlined from end-to-end, enabling all different phases and pieces of the supply chain to be managed in tandem.

 

 

robots in a warehouse

 

Automation is simply a piece of the “operational excellence” puzzle that so many organizations and supply chains strive for today. An extensive, 10-year study of 12,000 companies by The Harvard Business Review found that companies able to achieve a high standard of excellence delivered $15M in larger profits, 25% higher growth rate, and a 75% increase in productivity on average compared to other companies. In order to achieve this high standard of excellence, companies need to embrace automation. To achieve a high standard of excellence in the supply chain, there needs to be a clear definition of value. Supply chain excellence is a journey, not a project. The organizations driving success carefully define the supply chain strategy and the enabling technologies and processes. Technology should be implemented correctly, and the appropriate technology should be utilized. Other factors involved include having organizational alignment, consistent leadership, and strong capabilities in planning.

 

Historically, few of us would have included robots, artificial intelligence (AI), and the Internet of Things (IoT) in the supply chain automation lineup, but we should now as automation is further along than many may realize. For example, Rochester Drug utilizes autonomous mobile robots to pick items directly from shelves using suction cups before placing them in a tote. These robots were designed by IAM Robotics, who was recently awarded a patent for mobile piece-picking robots.

 

Additionally, DHL is testing collaborative robots that work alongside people to fill e-commerce orders in Memphis, TN. Locus Robotics, who supplies the robots, also uses them at their sister company, Quiet Logistics, for apparel order fulfillment.

 

In general, McKinsey estimates that only 5 percent of all occupations are likely to be fully automated. However, the consulting firm also expects that nearly half of worker activities can be performed by automation, especially robots and AI. Using data and the IoT, maintenance departments are now able to anticipate difficulties with various types of equipment moving and handling individual items or full pallet loads. As a result, unscheduled (and costly) downtime due to unexpected equipment failure is replaced by conveniently scheduled downtime for preventative maintenance.

 

From a supply chain perspective, according to Harvard Business Review, only 7 percent of manufacturing and service companies are using artificial intelligence to automate production activities, and only 8 percent are using AI to allocate budgets across the company while just 6 percent are using AI in pricing. However, according to Forbes Insights, the top priorities among supply chain organizations in 2018 were improving service quality, focusing on performance management, and investing in data analytics. So, where can organizations find the low-hanging fruit – applications of AI that won’t completely kill jobs but could present big benefits?

 

At QProducts & Services, we continue to develop cost saving solutions for transporting temperature sensitive commodities every day, with a game-changing line of proprietary passive thermal protection products.

 

About three years ago, QProducts invested in automation with state-of-the-art sewing machines to boost efficiency. Automation can be a scary word to skilled laborers, but once QPS employees understood the need for automation, they quickly got on board.

 

automation in a warehouseBenefits of Supply Chain Automation

The global supply chain is constantly growing and changing. Organizations are utilizing and should be utilizing the power of technology to help streamline operations for a more efficient, cost-saving process. Below, we’ll look at some of the major benefits that organizations can reap by choosing to automate their supply chain processes.

 

  1. Decrease operating costs
    1. Supply chain automation helps in the reduction of labor costs, inventory, warehousing, and overhead costs associated with inventory storage, including rent, labor, and energy costs. By maximizing production, labor costs and overhead costs are reduced.
  2. Increase productivity
    1. Optimizing the current resources with automation in the supply chain can enable “around the clock” work, allowing companies to gain more productivity. According to Altivate, companies can gain up to 20 percent more productivity in areas that have been automated.
  3. Increase volume
    1. For manufacturers, automation can increase the volume of product that can be produced. Automated technology combines the skills of trained workers with the accuracy of automated equipment, in turn increasing productivity.
  4. Improve accuracy
    1. Automation can reduce errors associated with manual processes such as data input, as well as help plan cost control by providing accurate, real-time information on inventory levels.
  5. Enhance time savings
    1. Through streamlining business processes, supply chain automation boosts time savings by reducing the time associated with implementing labor intensive tasks such as accounting, which saves manufacturers time and money.
  6. Refine compliance
    1. Automation can improve organization’s compliance with industry standards as it can standardize operations for employees and vendors, schedule routine asset maintenance, and track and trace the flow of products for full warehouse visibility.
  7. Advance data accuracy
    1. Automation can reduce errors associated with manual data entry and can also provide real-time visibility into warehouse management systems. In addition, paperwork can be eliminated, allowing organizations to make informed decisions about inventory, assets, and workforce with accurate and readily available data.

 

 

automation in beverage supply chain

 

Automation in the Food and Beverage Industry

Along the food and beverage supply chain, there are so many involved processes, workers, and touchpoints that it can be difficult to not only keep track of food, but also to monitor its quality. Automation can change that completely. For one, it provides end-to-end traceability. If a company has a contaminated shipment that was discovered too late, modern analytics and automation tools can be used to find exactly where the product is being shipped or where it originated from. This way, a massive health problem can be avoided before it even starts.

 

Secondarily, automation provides better quality control within the food and beverage industry. As we know, quality is of utmost importance in this industry. With the appropriate automation systems, defects and issues can be noticed much earlier in the supply chain. By detecting problems during packaging or processing, companies can cut down on the total number of problematic products that enter the market. If something along the supply chain is the culprit, automation can help detect it.

 

Although the food and beverage industry traditionally lacks behind in the adoption of new technologies and automated systems, the rapid advancement in technology and expectations of consumers and regulatory bodies has increased the demand for improved food quality and safety. According to Meticulous Research, the food automation industry is expected to be worth $14.3 billion by 2025.

 

internet of things in pharmaceutical industryAutomation in the Pharmaceutical & Chemical Industry

 

According to The Engineer, the pharmaceutical industry produces millions of tablets each week, all of which must be carefully reviewed before being packaged and shipped to distributors. Most pharmaceutical packaging systems use automation to manage bottle orientation, capping, and labeling. Automation of packaging also requires a system that monitors the operation on a supervisory level, checking for fallen bottles and low-level supplies. Overall, this helps pharmaceutical companies increase their productivity levels.

 

Operating in an intensely regulated market, pharmaceutical drug companies are increasingly making use of robotics to automate specific processes in drug development. Today, processes such as nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) and high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) can have sample preparation carried out by robotic arms. Today, automated technology can be a great investment for the pharmaceutical and chemical industry. Return on investment often comes in the form of energy savings, flexibility, high-speed production, and increased quality.

 

Ian Webster, former Pharmaceutical Segment Manager for Burket Fluid Control Systems, stresses that “automated processes by their nature require less human intervention and, therefore, have less potential for errors. There is also a reduction in labor costs, leading to a more cost-effective manufacturing process.”

robots in a warehouseFinal Thoughts

Advancements in automation including artificial intelligence (AI), robots, and the Internet of Things (IoT) are changing the game across many industries, including the supply chain. Today, computers are far better at managing other computers and, in general, inanimate objects or digital information than they are at managing human interactions. However, automation alone isn’t going to help one organization dominate the entire market. Automation should not be viewed as our enemy, but rather a tool that can help organizations scale their business without scaling the associated chaos.

 

It seems clear that it is not a matter of “if” but “when” robots and other automated technology will be working in our distribution centers, warehouses, and manufacturing centers. Looking ahead, supply chain leaders should prepare their processes and infrastructure to embrace new technology and its ability to harness more data than ever before.

 

As automation continues to evolve and become part of the supply chain, I hope this information was helpful in answering some of your questions.

 

 

q products and services facility

QProducts Stitches Together the American Dream

October 26th, 2017 Posted by Manufacturing 0 thoughts on “QProducts Stitches Together the American Dream”

 

 

 

As published by Food Logistics Magazine: http://www.sdcexec.com/article/12352370/q-products-stich-together-the-american-dream

BY AMY WUNDERLIN ON SEP 11, 2017

Stitched with love may sound a bit farfetched coming from a manufacturer, but for QProducts & Services (QPS) nothing could be truer. QPS manufacturers passive thermal protection products, which protect temperature sensitive commodities in transit for the pharmaceutical, food, beverage and chemical markets.

Their most popular passive thermal protection products include PalletQuilts, CargoQuilts and ThermaPaks, which are all produced at a recently renovated facility near Chicago, Illinois. Part of the 20-plus companies parented by family-owned LANCO International, most recognized for Mi-Jack Products, QPS is proud of its rich American history.

“To us it’s more than a quilt. We’re giving temperature protection to industries that need solutions to better retain product freshness. Plus, these products are quality-made in the United States by skilled employees,” says Paul Yadron, vice president of sales at QPS.

Adds Kevin Lynch, director of sales, food and beverage, at QPS, “Jack Lanigan Sr. made manufacturing a top priority when he founded the company in the early nineties. He believed that if we were going to put our name on something, we should control how that product is produced. That was really important to him.”

And because QPS manufactures everything in house, they do have total control—start to finish—and with that, the flexibility to offer customized solutions for their customers. Backed by the strength of LANCO International, they have ample resources to react quickly and sustain future growth.

Yadron believes you control your own destiny in manufacturing, and maintaining every aspect of their supply chain locally —from sourcing to shipping—plays a large role in providing a quality product for QPS customers. “People like seeing our product is made in facilities that are pristine, and that quality controls are consistent,” he adds.

Lynch notes that QPS customers also like knowing they can visit and see the products and understand firsthand how they are manufactured.

Automation Is Not the Enemy

QPS continues to develop cost saving solutions for transporting temperature sensitive commodities every day, with a game-changing line of new proprietary passive thermal protection products set to hit the market later this year. The manufacturer also has expanded its product line to include innovative internal trailer smart locks and wireless temperature monitoring technologies—but it’s bread and butter remains its handmade quilts.

Consumer demand for fresh perishable goods, which often comes with temperature sensitivity and regulatory pressure due to the implementation of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), has created a growing demand for the products QPS offers. And with that growing demand, came room for improvement.

About three years ago QPS invested in automation with state-of-the-art sewing machines to boost efficiency. Automation can be a scary word to skilled laborers, but once QPS employees understood the need for automation, they quickly got on board.

“Adding automation in the flow of manufacturing really improved operations and the wellbeing of our employees,” Yadron explains. “Once employees understood the need for automation because the company was growing, they were excited because it meant more job security.”

And not only has QPS’ growth provided more job security, it continues to create more job opportunities. The company has grown from just under 30 employees to more than 70 in the last few years.

“The machines increased efficiency so much that we needed our industrial sewers more than ever,” Yadron says. “There is a skill level to the industrial sewer that is irreplaceable.”

Manufacturing today may not be what it was 20 to 30 years ago, but it still exists in American communities like the one QPS
calls home.

“We are always looking for ways to improve our manufacturing process, and while manufacturing has changed over the
years, it is still here, providing great jobs,” Yadron says.

“Yes, there’s automation; yes, there’s new ways of doing things. But it’s to improve the process and provide jobs,” he adds. “It’s important our customers know we can react quickly to meet their needs, and automation combined with skilled employees, gives us the ability to exceed expectations.”

Home Grown Opportunity

Manufacturing state side can come with its challenges, but QPS only sees opportunity. “Our business is growing because the passive thermal protection industry has seen more acceptance amongst shippers, carriers and logistics providers as an alternative option to secure product integrity,” Yadron says.

And above all else, U.S.-based manufacturing means creating jobs in the community and giving people opportunities close to home.

“Manufacturing is alive and well in the south suburbs of Chicago, providing jobs, producing quality products and ingrained in the community and its continued growth,” adds Yadron.

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If you're searching for thermal shipping, insulated shipping containers, pallet wraps, thermal blankets, insulated foil, banana blankets, tote covers, drum covers, thermal blankets, shipping blankets, electronic cargo locks, or ice cream bags, you found all that and a whole lot more. We are fully committed to providing a passive thermal solution from top to bottom, nose to rear, of your temperature sensitive cargo.

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