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DHL launches new temperature-controlled air freight offering for life sciences shippers

By Jeff Berman, Group News Editor
June 13, 2013

Earlier this week, DHL Global Forwarding, a subsidiary of global express delivery and logistics services provider DHL, rolled out a new air freight product geared towards the life sciences and healthcare sectors called DHL Thermonet.

Company officials said that DHL Thermonet is a new offering to the DHL Network of Life Sciences and Healthcare facilities and provides shippers with a transparent and regulatory compliant platform that allows them to manage temperature-sensitive shipments of pharmaceutical products and medical devices.

In an interview with LM, David Bang, CEO of LifeConEx, a DHL Global Forwarding subsidiary and end-to-end life sciences cold chain logistics provider, said the impetus for this offering was driven by customer needs in terms of how it could take its services to the next level while leveraging its existing capabilities.

“One of the key messages from customers was that their temperature-controlled share of products was growing every year and becoming more of a challenge,” he said. “The other part is the regulatory compliance part, which is another concern for customers, especially regarding the European Union Good Distribution Practices. Also, customers said they wanted a cold chain service that is also cost-effective and also with higher visibility. This is essentially an answer for customers now as well as in the future.”

Bang outlined five major components of DHL Thermonet that make it beneficial for customers:
1-the network of its certified life sciences stations with an infrastructure that is EU GDP compliant;
2-quality and compliance in the form of a quality management system, including a goods distribution practices guideline and its program for suppliers and carriers geared specifically for life sciences and healthcare;
3-24x7, 365days per year visibility and monitoring that enables customers to know specifically where a shipment is and what condition it is in, with updates issued to the customer if something is wrong and a resolution confirmation indicating everything is good to go and back on track;
4-the design and implementation change management of standard operating procedures, which are critical for standardizing customer processes help audit processes so it can be improved efficiently;
5-operating on an Web-based platform via the LifeTrack IT platform, which was specifically developed for the life sciences and healthcare sector by LifeConEx. It is an integrate operational tool for all logistical and temperature data, ranging from SOP creation through shipment monitoring and prevention

A major component of DHL Thermonet is its proprietary SmartSensor RFID technology that the company said monitors the ambient temperature of a shipment in transit, which is subsequently uploaded to the LifeTrack IT platform.

“This provides an additional layer of temperature data coming into our system, which gives us more information so we can be more proactive,” said Bang. “From a customer point of view, they will be able to give us their specific requirements, get their process set up and can get a standardized and certified view of our process and track and trace shipments and be alerted if something goes wrong or deal with one of our specialists who understand their needs to continuously improve their cold chain.”

Going forward, DHL plans to establish 60 DHL Life Science certified stations where DHL Thermonet will be leveraged, by the end of 2014. There are currently 15 stations, with another 20 scheduled to open by the end of this year.

About the Author

Jeff Berman headshot
Jeff Berman
Group News Editor

Jeff Berman is Group News Editor for Logistics Management, Modern Materials Handling, and Supply Chain Management Review. Jeff works and lives in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, where he covers all aspects of the supply chain, logistics, freight transportation, and materials handling sectors on a daily basis. .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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