Pharmaceutical Solutions: Shipping High-value, High-risk Freight
Moving valuable, temperature-sensitive, and sometimes life-saving pharmaceutical products efficiently through the supply chain takes careful coordination and meticulous attention to detail. Room for error is high. For many pharmaceutical products, a two-degree Celsius (3.6-degree Fahrenheit) temperature variation can spoil the entire load. When temperatures slip, companies can lose hundreds of thousands of dollars on small package shipments, and sometimes millions of dollars in damages for large freight shipments. Mistakes are not just expensive; they could cost lives.
The Shipper ran into a problem when their incumbent carrier backed out of their primary position on three highly visible lanes halfway through a twelve-month contract. Not only did this create the need to find a replacement carrier last-minute, it affected forecasting and budgeting for the year and created ripple effects on the entire supply chain—from buyer to consumer. Given the high-risk nature of pharmaceutical shipments, and thus the need for $500K insurance coverage, the pool of carriers capable of managing and executing was small. The Shipper needed to quickly find a reliable, trustworthy carrier—with deep expertise in high-value, high-risk cold chain shipments—to pick up the slack.
The Shipper turned to Capstone because of their track record in temperature-controlled shipping and experience moving other high-value, high-risk commodities such as electronics (which, like pharmaceuticals, are often targeted by cargo thieves). Capstone spent a significant amount of time on discovery, working to understand not only the operational requirements at both the shipping and receiving locations, but also the nature of the loads themselves, cargo sensitivity, and carrier insurance requirements (cargo value, number of tractors, etc.). This allowed Capstone to align their network with what the Shipper needed.
As a carrier specialized in high-risk, high-value shipments, Capstone offered the following solutions.
Large Network of Proven Temperature-Controlled Carriers. Capstone already had a large network of proven temperature-controlled carriers, and they leveraged freight matching technology to quickly identify which of those carriers were aligned to the Shipper’s needs—those with the right security SOPs, insurance, and other necessary contingencies. Within a week, Capstone was able to contract capacity as dedicated equipment for the Shippers’ high priority lanes. From there, Capstone provided contracted pricing for the remainder of the bid cycle, along with guaranteed capacity.
30-Point Carrier Vetting Process. All carriers placed on the Shipper’s loads had to undergo a 30-point vetting process to ensure the utmost reliability. For example, Capstone evaluated the following criteria:
Complete Visibility. Capstone sent continuous, automated push notifications to the Shipper so that they always knew the status of each shipment in real-time:
- Temperature Sensors: As a value-added service, Capstone provided sensor-based, temperature-monitoring devices to the Shipper to be loaded on every truck. The devices sent real-time temperature updates to prevent damage, maintained a detailed temperature history, and validated that the shipment was in compliance from pickup to delivery. This ensured temperature integrity and product safety throughout the life of a load.
- Geo-Tracking: In addition to temperature-monitoring, the sensor-based devices used on trucks came equipped with geo-tracking capabilities, and sent alerts whenever a carrier veered from a predetermined route. This allowed Capstone to be proactive in preventing late arrivals and mitigating hijacked loads.
- Light Sensors: The devices also reported on the amount of light in the trailers, as well as how long a door had been left open. This helped track any inconsistencies in light exposure to products, which could be an indicator of unauthorized door opens.
24/7/365 Driver Support. Capstone well-trained dispatch team provided continuous coverage, constant visibility, and careful attention to the Shipper’s loads at all times.
By quickly implementing dependable transportation solutions, the Shipper’s pharmaceutical products have continued to arrive safely and on-time at receiver locations. Because they did not have to turn to the transactional spot market or run the risk of dealing with non-trustworthy carriers, the Shipper’s costs remained aligned with forecasts, and life-saving products remained available on store shelves when consumers needed them.
Because Capstone has quickly become a proven carrier for the Shipper, they are now handling more contracted and dedicated opportunities as a Preferred Truckload Carrier Partner. In fact, they are one of only four total carriers that have earned this designation.
Capstone continues to execute on the Shipper’s most high-visibility opportunities and problematic lanes that other carriers simply cannot handle.