As UPS continues to expand its UPS Temperature True Packaging service, the company is launching four new off-the-shelf, cold-chain packaging lines available exclusively to UPS customers. The packages have been engineered, tested, and prequalified for use in UPS’s U.S. domestic network. The new options are part of an ever-expanding set of solutions and services intended to control temperature for healthcare products along the supply chain.
“UPS has been present in the cold chain for many years, and we have found two things,” Wanis Kabbaj, director, global healthcare strategy at UPS, tells PMP News. “There’s high interest in our temperature profiles, so we invested to learn more about our network and used that knowledge to help engineer cold-chain packaging. In addition, a large portion of the market sees the process of engineering cold-chain packaging as constraining, and often don’t have the resources in-house to do so. So we developed prequalified solutions.”
Kabbaj says that UPS began its development process about a year ago and has since been “working with vendors to define the range and develop the packaging most suitable to meet customers’ needs.”
The new range includes the following packaging models:
• Med 100: A lightweight shipper for single-dose and smaller-size medicines requiring cool temperatures in transit.
• Med 200: A two-day delivery shipper designed for easy and efficient assembly.
• Med 300: A refrigerated shipper with a self-contained cooler that can be stored at room temperature, requiring no additional refrigerants.
• Med 400: A system offering frozen, refrigerated, and CRT options to protect products for extended time in transit.
The four new U.S. domestic packaging products offer a range of options depending on customer risk tolerance and budget, Susan Li, UPS manager, Temperature True Packaging, tells PMP News. “There are different variables and tolerance levels, so no one solution will fit all, which allows for enhanced customization and efficiency.”
“There’s a good amount of innovation and competition in this space, so we wanted to partner with packaging manufacturers with high-quality standards and high-quality solutions,” adds Kabbaj. “We work with multiple vendors for the best possible solutions. There is no exclusive partnership.”
The packaging line includes emerging solutions. “The CRT solution meets an increasing requirement in this space,” says Kabbaj. “Also, regular envelopes tend to be unprotected, so we wanted to offer a line of insulated envelopes with some level of protection.”
Li says that traditional packaging development involving design qualification, operational qualification, and performance qualification (DQ/OQ/PQ) could take anywhere from a couple months to a year, and collecting data on a shipping network could take years to understand. In addition, it could cost tens of thousands of dollars, depending upon the complexity of shipping lanes, she says.
“Our solution is an alternative to such qualification and cost complexities,” says Li. “An off-the-shelf system could be ready to go in a couple weeks, and its use could shorten package design and testing.”
Li explains that UPS’s temperature profiles of its shipping lanes include “thousands of data points, so we developed a U.S. domestic ambient profile, and all of these new packaging models are qualified against it, regardless of origins and destinations.” She adds that it is a 56-hour profile.
Some customers “would purchase the profile information,” says Kabbaj, “but many companies do not have the budget or resources to conduct such complex studies. We’ll still provide such consultative services, but for those who don’t have the resources, instead of having a loosely qualified package, they’ll have a much more powerful solution.”
Li explains that UPS’s studies have been managed by UPS’s ISTA-certified packaging test lab in Addison, Illinois. Kabbaj adds that the lab is used more and more for helping customers with qualification, validation, and distribution tests as well as with dimension optimization requests.
Overall, as evidenced by the new packaging line, Kabbaj says that “we are trying to help customers solve packaging issues with the most streamlined range of solutions for a diversified set of use cases whether in a 2-8° shipper or a cryogenic package or small-package freight forwarding. It is all part of a palette from which customers can pick to meet their needs. We also have a pipeline of innovations.”
More information about the four pre-qualified packaging lines can be found at www.ups.com/temperaturetrue.
Added John Menna, UPS vice president of global strategy, healthcare logistics: “UPS Temperature True Packaging is a perfect example of UPS responding to growing demand by healthcare companies,” as stated in a news release. “Healthcare customers benefit from more expertise and options created to minimize costs and maximize efficiency when time and temperature control is the highest priority.”
UPS also recently increased its Temperature True freight service to include three new levels covering different time-in-transit and control options for bulk shipments. Other support includes proactive monitoring and intervention technologies, extensive regulatory expertise, and a global network of 49 UPS healthcare-dedicated facilities.
The company also recently reported the expansion of its International Special Commodities (ISC) program in which customers can ship biological substances, dangerous goods in excepted quantities, and shipments with dry ice via UPS to 20 additional international destinations. UPS can now pick up and deliver packages under regulation UN3373 (Biologic Substances, Category B, Diagnostic Specimen and Clinical Specimen) as well as UN1845 (Carbon Dioxide, solid or dry ice) in Australia, Bulgaria, Croatia, Estonia, India, Indonesia, Israel, Latvia, Lithuania, New Zealand, Panama, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Taiwan, Turkey, and Ukraine. UN3373 and UN1845 are guidelines issued by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) to regulate the safe transportation of goods using air transportation modes. A full list of approved countries and categories accepted by UPS can be found on UPS.com.
For more information on UPS’s healthcare logistics solutions, visit www.ups.com/healthcare.