According to a DHL’s Top Ten Trends in the Life Science and Healthcare Supply Chains report, temperature and traceability are key determinants for healthcare supply chains. The integration of a digitalised supply chain and data analytics was also a top priority for management.
The need for temperature control and traceability in the healthcare industry remains on the forefront for the past decade, with the industry focused on improving cold transport, packaging and tracking technologies.
With new regulatory changes coming into effect by 2023, the need for retooling packaging and a overhaul to the logistics process for the healthcare industry becomes a must. This not only enables firms to improve their operations but to build in new technologies to better verify and track product moving through the supply chain.
The industry has focused on developing packaging solutions that insulate medical cargo and control its temperature while using less energy (self-cooling units can require a significant amount of electricity) and more sustainable materials. St. Onge said he was unable to get into specifics about these designs as DHL is currently working on them with private customers, however, he said firms are also using this opportunity to build visibility solutions, like Internet of Things (IoT) technology, into product packaging to constantly track temperature, location and quality.