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4 Ways Effective 3PL Can Help Pharma Comply With Health Canada Regulations

When it comes to logistics in the pharmaceutical industry, the two biggest factors are security and traceability. Drug manufacturers have to deal with the risk of counterfeiting, contamination and shortages during distribution, which may compromise the quality of the products.

How Working With 3PLs Can Make Compliance Easier For Drug Manufacturers In Canada

As such, it is important that manufacturers in Canada work with a logistics service provider that upholds the same standards for regulatory compliance as them. To become a reliable and effective partner in the healthcare supply chain, 3PL has been employing a number of strategies that help pharma comply with Health Canada regulations.

Here are some reasons to work with third party logistics (3PL) providers:

  1. Best-in-class technology for products that require special handling – refrigeration

    Third party logistics providers have different shipping specialties. Those that focus on medications naturally have the scale to invest in cutting edge, specialised equipment to ensure that your medical products are compliantly handled from the loading to unloading.

    Wholesalers looking to handle the shipping by themselves would have to invest in validated coolers and similar materials that increase the cost of shipment. 3PL providers, on the other hand, have dedicated, refrigerated trucks that ensure consistency in the handling of the cooled products without incurring extra costs beyond normal cooling operations.

    Furthermore, multiple customers can take advantage of the refrigerated truck technology in a single trip to enjoy further savings through economies of scale.

  2. Commitment to continual technology and infrastructure investments

    Smaller manufacturers typically find that outsourcing their 3PL needs is much easier and cost effective than setting up the necessary infrastructure, facilities, and processes; hiring staff to run the operations; and managing relationships with customers. However, mid-sized and larger manufacturers that have the resources to handle the different aspects of the supply chain may prefer to handle logistics in-house. Such a move is actually logical if they have the scale that increases ROI.

    But these manufacturers may still find that outsourcing to 3PL is not such a bad idea if they look beyond recouping their initial investment. For instance, as the manufacturer introduces new products, they will be required to also increase manpower, improve capacity and boost the capabilities of the resources, which may involve investing in refrigeration and other expensive special handling procedures.

    The continual investment process will also include adjusting infrastructure and technology as need be to comply with the constantly evolving support pedigree, track-and-trace, and government product integrity requirements.

    3PLs that specialise in health products are committed to the continual investments needed to remain compliant with the evolving Health Canada regulations, including licensing requirements and regulations.

    Generally, 3PLs handling medical products have the necessary plans, resources, and processes in place to ensure that they can adhere to the constantly evolving product serialisation and pedigree regulations. This includes having quality IT infrastructure to not only ensure compliance with guidelines on electronics records, but also to quickly and efficiently provide the relevant bodies with information that validates the vendor’s chain of custody and proper product handling throughout the supply chain.

  3. Appropriate regulatory expertise

    When looking to commercialise a product, poor navigation of the regulatory arena can hinder its success. Fortunately, 3PLs in the health sector are familiar with regulatory issues, and are adequately equipped with industry know-how and expertise to evade the particularly troublesome ones.

    It is important to work with a 3PL provider who has a proven cGMP expertise; solid and long-term relationships with the regulatory agencies; and the appropriate equipment and systems to continually validate and report that your product has been compliantly handled through the entire chain of custody.

    When you work with a third party logistics provider, compared to working alone, you get instant access to their resources, relationships and expertise in healthcare logistics, which you can leverage to protect yourself from having to handle all the intimidating particulars of product-specific licensing necessities.

  4. Compliant product disposal/destruction and other headaches

    As mentioned in other points above, good 3PL providers in the health industry are familiar with just about every possible scenario you may encounter in the supply chain.

    The providers will be available to guide you during overwhelming times, such as product recalls or peak ordering periods. They can quickly scale up the workforce to safely and efficiently handle new tasks, and even take care of otherwise daunting tasks such ensuring compliant product destruction or disposal.

Final note

Many countries seem to be taking the multi-client distribution facility approach, where pharmaceutical companies consolidate their distribution. Besides the convenience and cost savings that this model offers, it also suggests that the industry is putting more trust in the ability of third party logistics providers to handle inventory distribution, regulatory compliance and other aspects of the supply chain.

At a time when drug manufacturers are looking for ways to access new markets while remaining nimble, cost efficient and also compliant to the changing industry guidelines, it seems like the most rational solution is to create partnerships with highly knowledgeable and connected 3PLs, and leverage the already established networks.

Why cost effective and dependable delivery is essential to the food industry

The perils of food and dairy logistics are rather obvious for those in the industry: Mess up any one factor and a truckload of perishables may easily become a huge pile of waste. Depending on the size of your business, any challenges arising in the delivery of produce between you and your suppliers may mean huge losses, customer dissatisfaction and problems with customer retention and brand loyalty.

Delivery In The Food industry - Essentials

Choosing the right third party logistics company can help you avoid common pitfalls, while keeping your operations compliant with the necessary government regulations and cutting your production costs. Here is how dependable and cost effective delivery can help your business:

  1. Reduced risk of spoilage, contamination, and recalls

    For temperature-sensitive items, a variation in temperature by just a few degrees could mean a trip to the landfill instead of your business. Fish begins to rot; milk turns sour; lettuce freezes; and candy melts. In some cases, the products may become contaminated with no outward signs, leading to a product recall.

    A dependable 3PL provider knows the right technology is needed to ensure that your products remain in the ideal environment throughout the supply chain. This means working with regional temperature controlled distribution centres – and close monitoring at the warehouse, dock, and during transport to ensure the products maintain optimal quality from start to finish. If the temperature slips below or above the optimum range, the system alerts the experts for the problem to be corrected.

  2. Increase your margins

    Marketing food products is considered a low-margin business. In order to maximise your profits, you should minimise production costs. To make your operation lean and efficient, you need to get rid of sub-optimised delivery routes, unproductive employees, obsolete refrigeration systems that draw excess power and other measures.

    To optimise the supply chain,you need a 3PL provider who is capable of providing smooth, efficient warehouse and transportation efforts at the minimal cost. This can be achieved through:

    • Multi-vendor consolidation: Where multiple businesses handing the same produce combine freight to reduce cost of retail delivery
    • Integrated storage and delivery: Where the logistics provider combines warehousing services with their own delivery fleet to save time and cost of coordinating with external carriers
    • Intermodal service: Where the provider offers multiple freight options for optimal efficiency – sea, rail and road, for example.
  3. Better management of product shelf-life

    The nature of food products is such that they have an expiry date, and every business seeks to maximise the shelf life of each food item. But there are many different ways to achieve this including expiration date, code date, best used by date, LIFO, FIFO, FEFO, etc. If you get it wrong, you will be wasting space in the warehouse with products that your customers won’t be interested in.

    Instead, you can work with a 3PL provider that uses a sophisticated warehouse management system that supports a wide array of picking methodologies. This system should be capable of producing images of the remaining shelf life of products in your warehouse, sends alerts for products that are within a predetermined number of days of its expiration date, or list products in order of the oldest code dates so they can be removed first.

    Ideally, your products should be moving fast enough, but this is a good precautionary measure.

Basically, working with a 3PL provider who is experienced with food-grade products will help eliminate delays, wastages, and losses that could arise due to simple mistakes in the supply chain.

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