7 Unique Challenges for the Pharma Cold Chain

There was an excellent article in this week’s edition IQPCs Pharma IQ Newsletter  that discussed Seven Unique Challenges in Maintaining Cold Chain Continuity for the pharmaceutical industry. Per the article, eight of the top 10 pharmaceutical products expected to need cold chain storage in 2016 – 80%!!!  This is requiring changes in the global cold chain to help ensure the quality and efficacy of these products.  The seven challenges are:

  1. Security – especially due to an increase in counterfeiting
  2. Maintenance of cold chain conditions in the air and on the ground
  3. Planning, adaptability and contingency plans
  4. Requiring documentation and deciding on the value of the material
  5. Addressing regulatory compliance
  6. Adapting to improvements in kit design  for biopharmaceutical packaging
  7. Increasing the use of technology that enables tracking of temperature and location

Better information is being seen as the key to ensuring regulatory compliance, and using data logging technology can help couriers to ensure they meet the tightened shipping requirements.  Additionally, the article  notes that documentation is becoming an increasingly pertinent part of regulatory compliance, even in emerging markets.  It cites that World Health Organisation guidelines require that time and temperature controlled shipments have monitoring systems that provide documentation which can be both stored and accessed

Access and security are key to driving waste out of the system, improving revenues and, most importantly, ensuring efficacy and quality of products being delivered to health care providers and patients.

You can learn more about why companies are increasingly turning to track and trace technology at the IQPC Cold Chain and Temperature Management Global Forum being held September 26 to 30. I’ll be there and invite you to stop by the Intelleflex booth and say hello.

Hope to see you there,

Kevin Payne

Senior Director of Marketing

80% of drugs will need cold chain storage


Pharma Cold Chain Survey

IQPC – a leading source of information for the pharmaceutical industry, has published the results of a recent survey on current initiatives and challenges in temperature controlled distribution for pharmaceuticals.  The survey asked pharma supply chain professionals about:

  • Their most important cold chain initiatives
  • The Top two greatest concerns in pharmaceutical importation
  • Which technologies they’re considering to improve their supply chain’s integrity and security

IQPC has graciously allowed Intelleflex to distribute the survey results.  You can get a copy of the results here.

The survey results show temperature monitoring devices, temperature controlled shipping containers and track and trace technology were among the top three needs in the pharmaceutical supply chain.  Intelleflex is working with a number of companies in the pharma cold chain to help them monitor the temperature of biologics and other pharmaceuticals in-transit to improve accountability and enable real-time decision making.  You can learn more about these solutions at the Intelleflex exhibit at the IQPC Cold Chain Pharma event being held in Philadelphia in September.

I think you’ll find the survey results of interest and I hope to see you in Philly in September.

Kevin Payne

Senior Director of Marketing

1.3 Billion Tons of Food Into the Dumpster Each Year – New UN Report

Intelleflex has long been touting the urgent need to reduce perishable food waste.  A new report published by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization once again documents the need to find ways to reduce waste and improve food system efficiencies to feed a growing global population.  According to the report, approximately 1.3 billion tons of food is lost or wasted every year!  And fruits, vegetables, roots and tubers have the highest waste rates of any foods.

Together, we can help to reduce food waste

The report talks both about food waste and food loss with food waste being more of a problem in industrialized countries because people buy more than they need. More than 40% of food losses happen at the retail and consumer levels.

Food losses during harvest and in storage translate into lost income for farmers and higher prices for consumers.  The FAO study states that reducing losses could have an “immediate and significant impact” on the livelihoods of farmers as well as on food security.

Environmental Impact

The report also draws out the negative impact of waste on the global environment.  Food loss and waste represents “a major squandering of resources” including land, water, energy and labor and contributes to green house gas emissions, deforestation and climate change.


We can make a difference. The report includes suggestions for reducing food loss and waste stating that the public and private sectors in developed countries should invest more in infrastructure, transportation, processing and packaging.  The report notes that “In middle- and high-income countries food losses and waste stem largely from consumer behavior but also from a lack of communication between different actors in the supply chain.”  It suggests that commercial organizations and charities could be working more with retailers to collect and distribute food.  My conversations with Feeding America − a very worthwhile charity that operates food banks throughout the USA − confirmed that they are seeing increased receipts of perishable food that need to be quickly distributed due to limited remaining shelf life.

What Can We Do?

The report states that “…given the limited availability of natural resources, it is more effective to reduce food losses than increase food production in order to feed a growing world population.  At Intelleflex, we’re focused on working with growers, packers, shippers and retailers of perishable foods (produce, meats, dairy) to better track and monitor the condition of perishables through the cold chain. Through in-transit temperature monitoring from the field to the retailer, we can help reduce waste and costs − and improve operational efficiences.  You can learn more about our approach here.

Kevin Payne

Senior Director of Marketing

PS: Time Magazine also published some perspectives on the FAO report which you can read here.

Next up: United Fresh

Fresh on the heels of RFID Journal Live two weeks ago, it’s time for another huge industry conference, this one dedicated to fresh produce.  The United Fresh 2011 Conference in New Orleans on May 2-4, is organized by the United Fresh Produce Association.  The conference provides a venue for learning about new products and solutions that impact the perishable cold chain.

We’re excited to be demonstrating our in-transit temperature monitoring capabilities and sharing how having the ability to monitor quality and implement a first expired, first out (FEFO) inventory model can reduce shrink and improve revenues throughout the cold chain.  We’re at booth 1547 and, to help you relax while you’re at the show, I hope you’ll stop by and collect one of our “stress relief temperature tags”.

I hope to see you in New Orleans!

Kevin Payne

Senior Director of Marketing

Monitor, don't stress about your produce!

Strong Interest in BAP RFID at RFID Journal Live

Takeaways from Day 2 at RFID Journal Live are that there is a lot of interest in Battery-Assisted Passive RFID and that the extended capabilities that “Class 3” (ISO/IEC 18000-6:2010) RFID offers is causing people to rethink how they solve their business problems.  Many people that have come by our exhibit at the show have been amazed that we can achieve read/write ranges of 300 feet or more and well as monitor temperatures inside packaging to improve cold chain operations.  I’ve had many conversations with people from throughout the USA, Mexico, Canada, Brazil, Korea as well as across Europe and the Middle East who are excited about the benefits of Intelleflex XC3 Technology and its performance and cost advantages over Active and Passive RFID.

And, while a Droid phone photo doesn’t do it justice, I wanted to share a view from the show floor.  If you’re in Orlando, come on by and say hello at booth 743!
Kevin Payne

Senior Director of Marketing

Intelleflex booth at RFID Journal Live

RFID in Construction – the View from ConExpo

ConExpo is the largest industry trade show for construction equipment, solutions and services.  The conference, held every three years, is massive and this year’s event spans the entire Las Vegas Convention Center, top-to-bottom and north-to-south, as well as several of the parking lots.  The equipment on display ranged from chain saws to cement mixers to huge outdoor cranes.

I met with about a dozen vendors at the event who are trying to implement RFID for asset tracking and monitoring as part of their solution portfolios.  While I found that many people are considering RFID, only a few have applied it so far.  This is because the limited capabilities offered by the C1 passive RFID that they are familiar with doesn’t work in most construction environments where tags have to be mounted on metal surfaces, read ranges longer than 10-20 feet are required, and the general construction workplace environment itself.

When I introduced to these vendors to Intelleflex XC3 Technology, they were excited to learn that there is now a more powerful and cost-effective alternative for tracking assets besides the limited C1 RFID and very expensive GPS solutions.  XC3 Technology is a fraction of the cost of GPS – with no recurring monthly GPS charges and, in addition to vehicles, XC3 Technology tags can also be used for tracking and monitoring equipment of all shapes and sizes.

At the next ConExpo, which will be held in 2014, it’s safe to say that there will be a much broader adoption of RFID.

Jim Schaffer



Is all BAP RFID the same?

For an upcoming magazine article, I was asked about emerging trends for RFID in the vehicle and equipment yard management markets.  It’s an interesting question and, to me, the answer is directly tied to the emergence of the ISO/IEC standard for BAP RFID − sometimes referred to as “Class 3” RFID.

Products based on the ISO/IEC 18000-6:2010 (Class 3) standard for battery-assisted passive RFID (BAP) deliver longer range and enhanced capabilities for reading/writing to tags in RFID-unfriendly environments involving metals and liquids. These conditions that are commonly found at worksites and vehicle/equipment yards.  While the ability to read/write at long distances has previously existed in some active RFID solutions, these solutions were typically very expensive – limiting deployment.  Class 3 BAP RFID provides similar capabilities to the more expensive active RFID but at a significantly lower price point – a price point that cost-effectively enables large-scale adoption and deployments for yard management applications.

Because Class 3 BAP RFID has read ranges of 300 feet (approximately 100 meters) it is easy to deploy at worksites/yards without having to redesign workflows or create choke points or portals through which vehicles/equipment must pass at entry/exit.  And, because the tags work around metals, they can be more easily utilized on trucks, tractors, trailers and other equipment to provide significantly improved visibility for improved asset management and utilization.

Class 3 BAP tags can also store information about an asset on the tag because of the on-tag memory capabilities. Sensors can also be added to monitor for temperature, humidity, vibration or other conditions.

But, it’s important to make the distinction between Class 3 and Class 1 BAP tags.  While Class 1 tags can utilize a battery to enable some applications, their range, data transfer rates between the tag and reader, and their battery life don’t match the capabilities of Class 3 tags.  Take away: not all BAP is created equal.  Make sure you know what you’re looking at.

Kevin Payne

Senior Director of Marketing