This is the first of a two-part blog discussion about the challenges in, and value derived from, a temperature-sensitive packaging reuse program.
Reuse Programs Drive Savings
Dayton, Ohio, USA, May 6, 2015
There are many examples of companies who get multiple shipments from reusing their cold chain shippers. Many of the shipping solutions being reused have high price points and are reused on low volume lanes where the cost versus risk is easily controlled. Regulatory compliance necessitates life science companies maintain the temperature assurance of their sensitive materials throughout the cold chain distribution process. The challenge is ensuring compliance while deriving value, cost savings and potentially a competitive advantage from the cold chain supply process. The global life science manufacturer in this case study reuses their packaging in a manner that satisfies its stakeholders – regulators, quality, operations/distribution, marketing, procurement, supply chain and most importantly, their customers.
Some thermal packaging manufacturers offer ‘reuse’ programs to complement their thermal packaging shipping solution. Depending on the manufacturer, these programs range from a cursory visual inspection to a thorough re-qualification and testing process. While companies in the cold chain distribution and pharmaceutical supply chain are looking for innovative solutions to reduce shipping costs, these methods should not be pursued if there is the possibility of compromising the integrity of the temperature-sensitive payload. Thermal testing has proven that insulation, regardless of the material, inevitably degrades over time and that this degradation is accelerated by rough handling which is, unfortunately, an uncontrolled facet of the shipping process. Therefore, it is imperative that the reuse of thermal shipping solutions is implemented only in conjunction with a quality assurance process that ensures the reused packaging solution is thermally re-qualified.
REPAQ® from CSafe Global Offers Significant Savings and Thermal Assurance
To ensure that reused shippers continue to have qualified thermal integrity, CSafe Global developed the AcuTemp brand REPAQ® program. REPAQ is the industry’s only reuse program that offers not only reusable, qualified, off-the-shelf or custom designed shipping solutions, but a program that ensures accurate thermal re-qualification and thermal assurance. The objective of the program is to extend and verify the thermal integrity of the AcuTemp qualified shipping containers while providing the following benefits:
- Reduced packaging costs. Many AcuTemp qualified reusable shipping VIP solutions begin at price points less than $30. Customers are able to achieve significant savings when using the packaging for repeat shipments as opposed to the traditional one-time use packaging.
- Reduced freight costs. Due to the superior insulation characteristics of the ThermoCor® VIP design, the AcuTemp shipping solution is smaller and lighter than traditional shipping solutions, providing reduced inbound and outbound freight costs and ensuring a cost savings, even if utilized as single use.
The REPAQ Re-Qualification
To insure reliability and thermal integrity before reusing, each shipping solution is subject to, and must pass, the following qualification procedures:
- Inspection and Repair. Each individually serialized shipping solution undergoes a visual inspection. The corrugate and any missing or damaged internal components are replaced with new or recycled materials. Items that can be reused are cleaned in accordance with FDA 21 CFR 211 Subpart 94.
- Thermal Re-Qualification. The thermal components of each shipping solution are rigorously tested to ensure they meet the original performance specifications prior to reuse. Any thermal components not meeting original performance specifications are replaced with new, fully tested components.
- Reassemble and Reuse. With inspection and re-qualification complete, the shipping solution is reassembled and returned to the cool chain distribution channel for reuse. With a new corrugate exterior (old ones are recycled), a REPAQ shipping solution cannot be visually distinguished from a new shipping solution.
Click here for part two of “Reuse Passive Packaging Customer Analysis”.