This is the second of a two-part blog discussion about the challenges in, and value derived from, a temperature-sensitive packaging reuse program.
Results from a Leading Life Science Customer Using CSafe’s REPAQ Reuse Program
Dayton, Ohio, USA, May 15, 2015
A global leader in the biopharmaceutical industry relies on CSafe to provide qualified insulated shipping solutions to transport its life-saving biotherapies. The company began discussions with CSafe in early 2009 to develop two custom versions of AcuTemp insulated shipping solutions. The shipping solutions were tested and qualified in CSafe’s ISTA-certified testing chambers to the International Safe Transit Association’s (ISTA) 7D standards and were qualified to hold the temperature range of 2°C to 8°C for a minimum 48 hours. The customer wanted a better cold chain packaging solution at a cost savings or cost neutral price. Because of the ThermoCor® VIP, manufactured and available exclusively from CSafe, the universal pack out designed solutions were lighter and smaller than those utilized from the previous suppliers.
“We will only consider a reuse program if there is the assurance that we are in no way compromising our products in subsequent shipments,” said the customer during the development phase. “The financial benefits are undeniable, but only viable if quality does not suffer,” the customer reiterated.
After qualifying the solutions, the customer began using them in June 2009. Instead of shipping to its customers for one-time use, the new shipments were received by their customer along with a pre-printed return shipping label and instructions to return the solution. Obviously, participation in the return of insulated shipping solutions was paramount to the success of the reuse program. The customer notified its end recipients prior to initiating the program and strongly encouraged the return of the shipping solutions to CSafe for requalification and reuse. Customers were requested to participate in the REPAQ program that not only provided environmental benefits, but ensured future shipments would be thermally qualified. Customer satisfaction was immediate as the new solutions eliminated the complaint of ‘receiving a large amount of packaging that filled (our) dumpster.’
Also, due to the simplicity of the program, customer compliance was enthusiastic from the outset, with a 70 percent shipping solution return rate within the first three months. Over time, the shipping solution return rate continued to improve, with participation reaching above 80 percent.
“Our customers quickly took to our reuse program,” said the spokesperson for the biopharmaceutical company. “The promise of reducing the negative environmental impact of one-time use, without risking the quality of the products shipped, was a concept that our partners enthusiastically embraced.”
As anticipated, the REPAQ program provided measurable cost savings and now with the majority of the shipping solutions actively being reused, annual savings continue to be impressive. With 4,000 average monthly shipments, the customer has saved more than 60 percent compared to its prior solution cost to complete the same number of one-time use shipments because of the lighter and smaller solutions and the reuse program. “When you’re dealing with that type of savings, then the economic value is undeniable,” said the customer. “Given the lower cost of the new solutions, with no cost for REPAQ if solutions are not returned, cost savings is practically guaranteed.”
While a minimal reclamation and retest fee applies when a shipping unit is processed, the fee and inbound ground shipping cost are significantly less when compared to the cost of purchasing a new shipping solution. “When you weigh the benefits, reuse is economically and environmentally sensible to initiate. Of course it all depends on the effectiveness of the requalification process, because without that, the program quickly loses its value,” said the customer.
Biopharmaceutical companies can achieve dramatic savings in shipping costs by reusing their insulated shipping solutions. However, it is important to fully understand the depth and reliability of the thermal requalification program and, at minimum, consider the environmental impacts of a shipping solution manufacturer’s reuse program. A viable reuse program must requalify a shipping solution before each use to assure thermal specification standards to which the shipping solution was originally qualified. If not, the cost of product loss and potential reputation damage will not outweigh the savings garnered through reuse.
Many shipping solution manufacturers offer reuse programs that focus only on reducing the negative environmental impacts of the shipping process. The CSafe REPAQ program not only passes the “green” test, it is the industry’s only reuse program that provides true requalification and temperature assurance while providing significant cost savings. Reusable packaging from CSafe starts at $30 with reuse program costs starting at less than $20 per reprocessed shipping solution.
Click here for part 1 of the CSafe blog “Reuse Passive Packaging Customer Analysis”.