Logistics and Life Science start-up companies
Updated: Apr 16, 2019
Today, I write about the significance of the logistics people in life science start-up companies.
Why should it be a topic for writing? Because for two decades, I have noticed that startup management treat logistics as something that is important, but not enough to allocate resources to manage it adequately.
in most of the companies, I've noticed that the logistics is managed by a receptionist, secretary, scientist or project manager (who is also a scientist in most cases), talented people in their field, but not in logistics.
The shipping processes in these companies, is simplified to request a quotation from several suppliers (at best), documents preparation and that’s it, more or less.
In the world of international shipping, there are many parameters that can affect the quality of the product, such as shipping route, entry port in the destination country, warehousing during shipment, land transportation in the country of origin and destination, waiting time for connection flight, name and reputation of the agents abroad etc.
These parameters, are not included in the price offer of the shipping companies and for those people who are talented in their field, but not in logistics, these are irrelevant because the forwarder handles all the details.
It was winter, in Europe the temperatures were normal for the season, but in the US, there was a polar vortex with temperatures of minus 30 degrees Celsius in some areas. I had to transfer medicines from Europe to the North of the United States, but how could I deliver a refrigerated shipment (2-8C), if the isolated shippers neither were tested at minus 30 degrees Celsius?
The forwarder offered to carry the ground transportation by temperature-controlled vehicle, ie, a vehicle with a built-in air conditioning, which will maintain the temperature during the distribution, which will last several hours due to the distance of the consignee from the airport.
It looks like a reasonable offer, the product is in a passive isolated shipper in a truck with air conditioning, everything is good, but, if the outside temperature is minus 30 degrees Celsius, what temperature can the wind of a moving truck reach at 80 km. per hour reach? Do the air conditioning, continue to work normally even at a temperature of minus 40 or minus 50 degrees when the truck is moving? This is a question that only an experienced logistics specialist can ask.
Since these medicines were very important, the ground transportation was carried out in an active container inside a truck with air conditioning, which proved as a smart decision since during the trip, the authorities closed the roads and the truck was forced to spend the night on the road, without harming the quality of the product.
In the second case, someone on behalf of the customer asked to make a shipment. After we found the best solution for the shipment, the customer decided that he did not need a logistics man to arrange the shipment, so he contacted the shipping company directly and asked for a price quote. Percentage of the offer we got, how could it be?
When we are asked to arrange a shipment, we need to know 100% what the customer needs. This is why sometimes the solution does not have to come from one place. It is called a hybrid solution, which is a solution provided by a number of factors that together provide the customer's needs at a low price. The service offered by one supplier.
In summary, for start-ups, money is not understood and is a limited resource, so an experienced logistics man can save a lot of money and prevent damage to the product by conducting a risk assessment when organizing the shipment, which can be destructive to a small com