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Outsourcing Dewar Management to Improve Human and Animal Health Operations

Wed, Sep 28, 2016

Today, an increasing number of therapeutics and vaccines for human and animal administration require shipment in specialized shipping containers often referred to as dewars or cryoshippers. Dewars are composed of an aircraft-grade aluminum exterior that protects an inner holding chamber. The inner chamber is surrounded by a high-surface, low-density open cell plastic foam that retains -196 Celsius for up to 10 days to provide the right conditions for temperature-sensitive materials during transport. Because dewars combine advanced packaging, cryogenics and high-vacuum technology, they can be rather expensive to purchase and maintain. Since they are more expensive than a typical shipping container, such as a Styrofoam or cardboard box, dewars need to be returned for cleaning, reconditioning, testing, revalidation and reuse after each shipment. For companies with large dewar fleets, ranging from hundreds to thousands, ensuring that the dewars are returned can be an especially daunting challenge.

Reverse logistics is an incredibly important part of a company’s supply chain logistics because it affects the costs associated with dewar losses and replacement, impacts the size of the fleet required, influences on-time shipping performance and impacts the resources needed to manage the return process. Although, reverse logistics is such an important part of a company’s supply chain logistics, it is one that is often overlooked and can be difficult to manage. Cryoport, however, can help make it easy.

Cryoport’s expertise and logistics solutions span the entire cold chain logistics process, including outsourced fleet qualification, validation, management and reverse logistics. When a company outsources the complete management of its dewar fleet to Cryoport, Cryoport will analyze existing processes and identify areas of risk to on-time delivery and product quality, evaluate the condition of the dewar fleet and develop supply chain solutions to minimize the risks.

Cryoport addresses risks during shipment by working with trusted shipping partners and equipping each shipment with a SmartPak II™ condition monitoring system to track and report location, temperature, orientation and other parameters during shipment. If a dewar is inadvertently placed in a non-vertical position during transit, it can begin to lose cooling capacity which will negatively impact the 10-day hold time — a time period that may be a necessity, especially if shipping to a remote location. If this occurs, the SmartPak II™ condition monitoring system will alert the Cryoport team via the Cryoportal™ to intervene and take corrective action while the shipment is still in transit to preserve the integrity of the shipment.

For clients looking for an integrated, yet outsourced solution, Cryoport has the ability to truly become an extension of the clients’ team. Cryoport can provide full-time, qualified employees to work directly in the clients’ facilities to more efficiently manage the logistics operations and fleet management, including coordinating the return of missing dewars, serializing the fleet and deploying a comprehensive dewar tracking program through the Cryoportal™, Cryoport’s industry-leading and customized logistics management platform.

Through the Cryoportal™, clients gain complete visibility to the entire shipping and return process, consolidating logistics, product condition monitoring and equipment qualification data for every single dewar and shipment. Additionally, because Cryoport provides a SmartPak II™ condition monitoring system in each shipment, Cryoport’s customer service team is able to track each dewar’s location at all times, which also enables the follow-up needed to ensure a safe return.

Careful management of the dewar fleet reduces the capital investment loss as well as the costs of shipping delays and ultimately streamlines logistics to improve customer satisfaction. Contact us or download our case study to learn how Cryoport was able to improve a client’s overall shipping performance, saving more than $1 million through a customized fleet management solution.