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Keys to Providing Successful Operations for the Pharmaceutical & Medical Device Industry

by Robert Hartley on 2015-02-19 15:04:50

Pharmaceutical and medical supply chain networks can be one of the most complex operations that a 3PL provider can handle. This industry puts a high importance on tracking, compliance and reverse logistics capabilities. With new products and devices coming to market constantly along with government regulations updating, operators have to be flexible and efficient in their processes and procedures. Let’s discuss the keys to success!medicine


Many pharmaceutical companies require order fulfillment operations that maintain a strict cold supply chain. The products are sensitive to temperature and humidity. Warehouses have to be capable of receiving, storing and shipping in a temperature controlled area to maintain the integrity of the product. If there is a temperature breach, contingency plans need to be in place. The high value of the product is a concern because, with a temperature breach, it could be costly. Sensor-based technology is available for warehouses to receive notifications if there is a sudden increase or decrease in temperature within the warehouse zone. This allows the warehousemen to be alerted before the breach.

With compliance, warehouses have to be aware of government regulations that can change year to year. It is important to have constant communication with their client on if product needs to be put on hold or has other special requirements due to state, US or global regulations.


Tracking is not only important for food and perishables, but for pharmaceutical, vitamins and medical devices. Many products have a product identifier, lot control or other details that need to be tracked throughout the supply chain from manufacturing to end user. A robust warehouse management system (WMS) can handle tracking this information within a bar code. In case of a recall or other dispute, pharmaceutical and medical companies will require a warehouse and their WMS to have the capability to know where these products are.


We mentioned above the capability for recall and the importance of a WMS to handle the process. Reverse logistics is the process of moving goods back through the supply chain from their typical final destination. Many times it is for the purpose of disposal, compromised/defective product or testing. We touched on tracking of the lots, expiration date or other product identifier earlier. These details are used to handle the recall of these products from the destination back to the distributor or warehouse, and possibly the manufacturer.

Collaboration between the 3PL operation and manufacturer are key to having a successful, cost effective partnership. This goes for all operations, but there is a greater importance placed on these capabilities due to the valuable pharmaceutical and medical device products. IDS has over 20 years experience and knowledge maintaining a flexible, temperature controlled operation at each of our locations (Indianapolis, IN and Salt Lake City, UT) with our best-in-class operations for pharmaceutical and medical device companies.

To learn more about IDS’ temperature controlled supply chain solutions, contact us today!

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