drone delivery

Cold Chain Opportunities and Challenges for Developing Countries

September 1st, 2020 Posted by Technology, Temperature Protection, Transportation 0 thoughts on “Cold Chain Opportunities and Challenges for Developing Countries”

Cold Chain Opportunities and Challenges for Developing Countries

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

 

The cold chain, or the temperature-controlled supply chain, is essential to many industries. For successful transportation or post-harvest in any industry, the cold chain is a necessity. In developing worlds or third world countries specifically, major developments have been observed while some major challenges still exist.

 

 

The Growth of the Cold Chain in Developing Countries

 

The growth of the cold chain capacity in developing regions varies from country to country. According to Semantic Scholar, world total cold chain capacity in the last decade has increased. In the developing world, it more than doubled in India, increased 66 percent in Brazil, and 20 percent in China. In most developing countries such as South Africa, Mexico, and Kenya, the cold chain is concentrated in the urban centers and transport terminals, such as airports.

 

rural road in developing country

 

Maintaining a Secure Cold Chain for Life-Saving Pharmaceuticals

 

At QProducts and Services, we understand that there are many obstacles to delivering consumer goods, medicines, food, and other necessities to developing regions of the world. To overcome these obstacles, it takes a combination of supply chain expertise, creativity, and understanding of the culture.

 

For instance, the World Federation of Hemophilia (WFH) has expanded its reach globally into more than 70 countries, and the challenge of safely delivering critical medication to patients in remote regions of the world presents a host of challenges.

 

In underdeveloped areas with poor infrastructure, primitive airports, and little regulation, the responsibility falls on the WFH to maintain a secure cold supply chain and to meet the criteria of its donor companies. This includes the stability guidelines that come with the medicine they are providing for distribution to patients often found in some of the hottest regions of the world.

 

Keeping these life-saving pharmaceutical drugs within allowable temperature ranges as dictated by stability studies from each manufacturer is the greatest risk to the integrity and safety of the donated medicine. The most cost-effective way to secure compliance continues to be their use of PalletQuilt®, a form of passive temperature protection. PalletQuilt® enables WFH to ship these 2-8°C pharmaceuticals to locations such as Sub-Saharan Africa, South America, and South East Asia without conventional temperature control and without compromising the safety and integrity of both the medicine itself and the patients who rely on it.

 

QProducts and Services’ PalletQuilt® solution offers the reflective radiant barrier and robust insulation needed to stand up to the harsh conditions and keep the donated drugs safe. Georgios Ampartzidis, WFH Logistics Manager states, “By using PalletQuilts for the past year to donate and ship pharmaceutical products to more than 70 countries, we completely avoided temperature deviations that would risk the integrity and safety of the donated products.”

 

 

Increasing Cold Chain Reach to Developing Countries with Drone Delivery

 

Drones that deliver blood and medical supplies are saving lives as they provide faster, efficient care by transporting and supplying medicine, pharmaceuticals, vaccines, and emergency medical equipment in rural areas.

 

Zipline International, a health-tech drone delivery company, recently announced it has officially expanded its operations to Ghana, making it the world’s largest autonomous medical drone delivery service.

 

According to Biopharma-Reporter, drones can deliver cold chain medicines and vaccines to hard-to-reach areas by tapping into real-time data analysis. The potential for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) or drones to complete cold chain delivery was tested during a pilot program in 2019. The trials were conducted fully autonomously with cold chain delivery technology, enabling the temperature control of medicines and vaccines at temperatures as low as -70°C. The drone flew over open water between the Bahamian Islands, and testing will continue in Africa and Latin America.

 

The data collected during the successful flights has shown everybody involved, the power of IoT (internet of things) to provide full visibility of the cold chain, even in the most extreme environments while using innovative transportation modes,” stated Richard Wood, Director of Digital Connected Technologies at Softbox, the company that created the temperature-controlled payload box for the pilot program.

 

At QProducts and Services, we believe in controlling digitization, and not allowing it to control you. Drone delivery is certainly a major innovation of the next decade, although there are still some hurdles to widespread adoption. During our September webinar, we’ll dive into the details regarding drone delivery as part of the supply chain.

 

drone delivery

Cold Chain Challenges in Developing Countries

 

Major efforts are still needed to improve the cold chain in developing regions of the world.

For drone delivery specifically, regulatory issues, technical complexities, and privacy concerns remain barriers to widespread adoption. Also, the viability of the technology in these real-world applications depends on various factors, including the different regulatory challenges present around different regions of the world.

 

Furthermore, in regard to the food cold chain, most farmers lack pre-cooling, cold storage, and ripening facilities in rural areas of developing countries. Most developing countries also lack well-developed third-party logistics (3PL) for cold chain facilities or transport services.

 

qproducts drone delivery

Final Thoughts

 

Now more than ever, the world needs a reliable and efficient cold chain. Solutions to protect temperature-sensitive shipments such as vaccines will continue to be critical in the development and distribution stages.

 

Many developing countries continue to face a severe lack in cold chain infrastructure and logistics necessary to supply safe products to consumers. However, there are also many opportunities to overcome these challenges such as drone delivery and

 

At QProducts and Services, we believe in leveraging our supply chain expertise and creativity to continue to learn and develop solutions for the cold chain in developing countries.

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.

 

 

 

cold chain council webinar graphic

The New Normal: Evolving the Global Supply Chain with the Power of Data and Technology

May 22nd, 2020 Posted by Food & Beverage, Pharmaceutical & Life Sciences, Technology, Temperature Protection, Update 0 thoughts on “The New Normal: Evolving the Global Supply Chain with the Power of Data and Technology”

The New Normal: Evolving the Global Supply Chain with the Power of Data and Technology

Authors: QProducts & Services Digital Team, Under the Direction of Paul Yadron

 

cold chain council logo

The global supply chain is evolving at a quick pace due to the current global situation. The power of data is being leveraged more, delivery models are changing, and tracking and tracing is needed now more than ever. How can supply chains keep up with this change?

 

The Cold Chain Council, hosted by QProducts & Services, is hosting their very first webinar this summer, The New Normal: Evolving the Global Supply Chain with the Power of Data and Technology. Industry-leading speakers will provide insight and discussion about current changes and developments happening in the world of cold chain supply logistics.

 

industry professionals meeting at cold chain council

What is Cold Chain Council?

 

Cold Chain Council began three years ago to gather top talent from all phases of the cold chain – including manufacturers, retail, distribution, and logistics partners – to share their perspectives on existing challenges and best practices. An intimate afternoon of networking and expert panel discussion was created as a non-conference and thought leadership event.

 

The goal of the Cold Chain Council for the food and beverage market as well as the pharma and chemical industries is to present and discuss topics from different cold chain segments within the global supply chain.

 

 

Today, two events are hosted: one for the food and beverage industry and another for the pharmaceutical and chemical industries. Each event features a full day of workshops and a limited number of attendees to ensure that Cold Chain Council is an intimate, collaborative experience every year. Taking place over an afternoon to accommodate busy schedules, topics cover current cold chain challenges so that attendees leave with a fresh perspective and actionable solutions.

vp of sales speaking at cold chain council

Previous Cold Chain Council Events

 

Cold Chain Council for the food and beverage industries is hosted by QProducts and Services. Presentations and panels feature industry professionals discussing topics from different cold chain segments in both the food and beverage industries.

 

In previous events, we have had industry expert speakers including but not limited to the following:

 

 

Cold Chain Council for the pharma and chemical industries is also hosted by QProducts and Services. Experts share their knowledge in tackling challenges affecting your transportation network. Presentations and panels also feature industry professionals discussing topics from different cold chain segments in both pharma and chemical industries. This forum setting is designed to be interactive and intimate.

 

Previous event speakers for the pharma and chemical industries have included, but not limited to, the following:

 

cold chain council webinar speakersCold Chain Council Webinar Speakers

 

Our industry-leading speakers will provide insight and discussion about current changes and developments happening in the world of cold chain supply logistics.

 

Our speakers include:

 

  • Don Durm, a 25-year veteran of PLM Trailer Leasing and Vice President of Customer Solutions. He is a recognized industry expert on cold chain transport application, regulatory compliance, and the application of technology for a smarter food safety system. He has been recognized three times as one of the rock stars of the supply chain by Food Logistics Magazine due to his work on supply chain efficiencies, regulatory compliance, and the deployment of blockchain in the food supply chain. A gifted and sought out speaker and writer on cold chain supply challenges, he is one of the authors of the internationally accepted IRTA Refrigerated Best Practices Guide distributed by the Global Cold Chain Alliance (GCCA) to help the industry meet the compliance for the Food Safety Modernization Act.

 

  • Amy Shortman, a Chartered Fellow of the Institute of Transport and Logistics, has 20 plus years of experience within pharmaceutical logistics. During this time, she has worked within operations and commercial roles while keeping her passion for creating supply chains that ensure product integrity is maintained throughout. Amy has worked within the air, sea, and road arena, and has extensive experience setting up secure supply chains for high-value freight and temperature-sensitive freight. Her penultimate role before joining Overhaul was with ASC Associates, in which Amy established in 2011 as a global supply chain business services company that specializes in the areas of temperature-sensitive, high-value products. She has been facilitating and training for over 12 years and is an IATA external facilitator for CEIV Pharma.

 

logging into the cold chain council webinar

 

Cold Chain Council Webinar Details and Registration

 

We invite you to join us on Tuesday, June 23rd, at 11 AM CST as our speakers share examples and insight into how a new evolution of the supply chain is being forged under the pressure of the global COVID-19 pandemic.

 

Learn about using the power of data to gain insight into every aspect of a transportation network, a matrix of shifts and changes in delivery models, tracking and tracing supply chain disruptions and what the future holds for the global supply chain as we navigate our way through the storm driven by SARS-CoV-2. Click here to register for the webinar. We look forward to your attendance!

 

 

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

 

The 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.

Q Sales Factory Image

Our Response to COVID-19

March 24th, 2020 Posted by Update 0 thoughts on “Our Response to COVID-19”

To our valued Customers, Partners and Suppliers,

As we assist clients and businesses who’s transportation networks are disrupted by the coronavirus situation, we are also listening and learning about how we can further co-operate with our network of shippers, carriers and forwarders to provide thermal protection and cargo security to a number of industries including: Pharmaceuticals, life-sciences, food, beverage and health care supply-chains.

 

Please reach out to us through your QProducts representative with any questions or email us at info@qsales.com for ways we can protect temp-sensitive cargo on all modes of transportation, including shelf-stable, perishable, CRT and 2-80C products.

 

Our manufacturing and shipping operations during this time will take place Monday – Thursday, from 6am-4pm CST.

 

QProducts & Services COVID-19 Cold Chain assistance

When you Buy a Product from QProducts, You Buy a Company

As valued members of the QProducts & Services family, we extend to you our commitment to the health and safety of our teams and communities as the spread of COVID-19 continues to be a growing concern domestically and around the world.

 

At QProducts and Services, we have implemented precautionary measures in alignment with our parent corporation, LANCO and the CDC’s guidelines in order to best protect our sales and production staff while continuing to do business with our suppliers, deliver for our clients, and ultimately, support the global supply chain. Including:

  • Encouraging employees to follow CDC and WHO guidelines
  • Eliminating non-essential business and personal travel
  • Minimizing risk of transmission using proper hygiene and social distancing
  • Prohibiting group meetings
  • Self-Monitoring requirements for employees and members of their households

 

For the latest information about COVID-19, please visit cdc.gov or your local health department website.

 

Best regards,

 

Paul Yadron, Senior Vice President

William Lanigan, President

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.

 

 

Air Cargo Security: Maintaining Product Quality & Preventing Threats

November 19th, 2019 Posted by Air, Food & Beverage, Pharmaceutical & Life Sciences, Transportation 0 thoughts on “Air Cargo Security: Maintaining Product Quality & Preventing Threats”

Air Cargo Security: Maintaining Product Quality & Preventing Threats

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

 

 

 

 

U.S. air cargo supply chain handles more than 50,000 tons of cargo each day, of which 7,500 (15%) is designated for domestic passenger carriers, and the remaining 85% is designated for all-cargo carriers, according to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). Over the past 3-4 decades, air cargo transport has offered a means by which to expeditiously move cargo from points of production and manufacture to points of distribution and sales.

 

Major events over the last few decades have led to increased security measures for the air cargo supply chain, while also allowing us to learn about possible additional security threats and how to prevent them. The quick transport of products by air is especially important for perishable goods, as a major benefit of shipping goods by air is timing. So how do we secure these threats, and how do we maintain the quality of our products?

 

air cargo plane

 

 

 

What is Air Cargo Security?

 

First and foremost, the air cargo industry consists of a complex distribution network linking manufacturers and shippers to freight forwarders, off-airport freight consolidators, and airport sorting and cargo handling facilities where shipments are loaded on and unloaded from an aircraft. Under the Aviation Transport Security Act of 2004, air cargo is defined as goods, other than baggage or stores, that are transported by aircraft. Items shipped by aircraft generally consist of time-sensitive and high-value commodities. Common examples of air cargo include high-value machine parts and manufacturing equipment, electronic components for manufactured goods, consumer electronics, jewelry, and perishable items such as flowers, fruits, fresh fish, and pharmaceuticals.

 

Air cargo security measures aim to protect cargo from theft, but they also secure cargo against incoming materials such as bombs or drugs. Security is a very critical element of the air cargo supply chain. Regulators, organizations, and the industry overall are working together to further secure the air cargo supply chain while ensuring the flow of commerce.

 

palletized technology

 

Maintaining Air Cargo Product Quality

 

As we discussed, a major benefit to shipping items via air is time. The faster a product can get to its destination, the better. When it comes to food, beverage, and pharmaceuticals, these items cannot last very long in transit as the biggest challenge of keeping perishable products fresh has to do with temperature.  The longer an item stays exposed to high temperatures, the quicker it loses its freshness. We all know that temperature-controlled shipping is critical for delicate materials such as pharmaceuticals, medicines, and food.

 

For the pharmaceutical industry, the IATA (International Air Transport Association) Time and Temperature Sensitive Label became effective July 1st, 2012. This label ensured the integrity of the time and temperature of sensitive healthcare air cargo shipments and also ensured that the air cargo supply chain is prepared to handle the demands of these healthcare shipments. The overall aim is to ensure patient safety through effective cold chain distribution. Therefore, it is imperative that airlines, ground handling agents, and other stakeholders within the supply chain are familiar with the regulations and appearance of the label. It is also imperative that effective cold chain solutions are put into place to secure the successful air transit of healthcare products.

 

Unfortunately, one of the main costs with the transportation of perishable items such as fruit and vegetables is wastage due to spoilage related to inadequate temperature management during transit. Keeping perishable food items cool, cold, frozen, or deep frozen is the only way to guarantee product quality and shelf-life as it arrives at the end of a transportation process. Leveraging the proper cold chain equipment such as palletized technology can increase product shelf-life, increase profits, and reduce food loss.

 

security and protection for air cargo

 

 

Security Threats to Air Cargo

 

In the United States, security of air cargo shipments and international shipments to and from the U.S. is regulated by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). Security threats can impact product integrity and create safety issues in certain markets. Security threats can damage the product altogether, resulting not only in lost product, but additional costs. Historically, security measuring surrounding all-cargo operations have focused on the threat of hijackings, particularly those that could result in using the aircraft as a weapon of mass destruction. According to the Congressional Research Service, a 1994 incident involved an off-duty FedEx flight engineer who attempted to hijack a FedEx DC-10 aircraft and crash it into the company’s Memphis, TN headquarters. At the time, there was no federal requirement to screen personnel or personal baggage carried aboard cargo aircraft. This particular hijack attempt was unsuccessful; however, the threat still remains in the air cargo industry.

 

Another security threat to air cargo includes the threat of explosives. A long-standing concern for cargo loaded on passenger aircraft, several incidents have shown that U.S. bound air cargo shipments are targeted. For instance, the Congressional Research Service reports that on October 29, 2010, intelligence and law enforcement agencies in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and in the United Kingdom discovered explosive devices concealed in packages shipped as air cargo bound for the United States. Authorities in the U.S. were able to bring down the aircraft; however, the details of this incident highlighted a number of specific challenges to securing air cargo. First, the explosives were difficult to detect using explosive detection equipment and canines. Second, questions were raised regarding the implementation and effectiveness of risk-based targeting methods to identify suspicious cargo. And third, the multiple international airports and air cargo facilities that served as intermediate transfer points illustrated the highly interconnected nature of the international air cargo industry, which necessitates close collaboration and coordination among governments, forwarders, air carriers, and airport operators to address security.

 

While we don’t want to assume this threat, the “Insider Threat” still presents a threat to air cargo security. While shippers may have limited ability to target a specific aircraft or even predict if an item will move on a passenger aircraft or an all-cargo aircraft, insiders working in the air cargo industry could use their access and knowledge to carry out an attack. The Congressional Research Service states, “Historically, in the United States, air cargo supply chains have been infiltrated by organized criminal elements conducting systematic theft and smuggling operations. Overseas, there is growing concern that terrorist networks could infiltrate airports and air cargo operations to gather information about possible weaknesses and exploit vulnerabilities in the supply chain.”

 

Lastly, theft is a very real concern in the supply chain, including the air cargo supply chain. While cargo is more vulnerable to theft when hauled by a truck, cargo theft gangs are seeking opportunities to steal cargo from airports as some items shipped by air tend to be high value items. According to Air Cargo Eye, in February 2017, thieves escaped with rare 15th and 16th century antique books valued at more than $2.3 million after they broke into a facility at London’s Heathrow Airport. In March 2017, thieves were seen masquerading as police officers while using what were reported as police vehicles intercepting a cargo of $1.7 million of banknotes shortly after the aircraft had arrived at Johannesburg’s OR Tambo International Airport.

 

transportation security administrationPreventing Air Cargo Threats

 

Whereas the air cargo industry has favored risk-based approaches for both cargo planes and cargo placed aboard passenger aircraft, some policymakers have argued that more comprehensive screening of cargo is needed to make cargo security comparable to the screening of airline passengers and baggage. The 9/11 Commission Act of 2007 required 100% physical screening and inspection of all cargo placed on passenger aircraft. Acceptable screening methods include x-ray systems, explosives detection systems, explosives trace detection, TSA-certified explosives detection canine teams, and physical searches conducted in conjunction with manifest verifications. Cargo documents and known shipper verification are not acceptable screening methods.

 

While TSA has approved a number of detection systems for screening air cargo to meet the requirements of the 100% screening mandate, none of these devices have been approved for the screening of palletized or containerized cargo. According to the Congressional Research Service, it is estimated that palletized cargo makes up 75% of all cargo carried on passenger planes. The lack of an approved technology for screening pallets leaves the industry dependent on work-around solutions, largely involving the off-airport screening of cargo combined with approved supply-chain security measures to prevent tampering after the item is screened.

 

In regard to air cargo theft, organizations can take the following actions to help prevent theft in the industry:

  1. Thoroughly screen prospective employees
  2. Carefully select transportation partners and intermediaries
  3. Provide security training within your organization
  4. Incorporate surveillance into the duties of security guards, and have guards patrol away from perimeters
  5. Leverage technology such as equipment tracking, security seals, or locks
  6. Periodically conduct security audits

 

In addition to the organizations themselves being involved, various supply chain security measures provide options for preventing and detecting tampering while maintaining the integrity of the shipment. These measures include tamper-evident and tamper-resistant packaging, cargo tracking technologies, and identifiers to designate screened cargo.

 

air cargo packages

 

 

Final Thoughts

 

Today, thousands of products are being delivered by air freight. This service has made it possible for people and organizations around the world to have the goods needed for everyday life. Several industries have been able to grow internationally due to air freight, although there are challenges faced along the way.

 

The industry still faces the challenge of security threats and how to combat them to ensure the safety of the product and passengers. Technology continues to advance to screen cargo for these threats, and technology advances even further to maintain product quality and safety aboard an aircraft. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) forecasts that steady U.S. and world economic growth will drive more modest annual increases of about 3% in air cargo shipments over the next two decades. Innovation, education, and due diligence will continue to help the industry combat air cargo security.

 

As the air cargo supply chain continues to grow, I hope this information was helpful in answering some of your questions regarding air cargo, security, safety, and product quality.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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