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The Logistics of Love

Reprinted from Longitudes

Don’t worry, guys – Valentine’s Day puts pressure on supply chains, too.

Whether a man is calm and on top of his game, or in the grip of a last-minute panic, when he walks out of the flower shop with a fresh bouquet of Valentine’s Day flowers, chances are he doesn’t give much thought to how they got there.

He – and I’m being gender-specific because 75 percent of Valentine’s flower buyers are men – can thank a system built on a rigorous combination of distance, travel, time, temperature and dedicated UPSers.

It all comes together in a one-day observance that generates a total of $1.7 billion spent on flowers, which contribute to a total of nearly $19 billion spent on cards, romantic dinners, stuffed animals and all manner of other Valentine’s Day gifts – including everything from frozen steaks and lobsters to six-foot teddy bears.

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The Last Stand of the Brand: The Rise of Biologics

In the movie “X-Men: The Last Stand”, the fictional pharmaceutical company, Worthington Labs, develops an inoculation to suppress the gene that gives mutants their super-powers, offering the “cure” to any mutant who desires it.  The “cure” was derived from the DNA of a young child whose powers included suppressing other mutants’ abilities.  Although this scenario is fictional, some pharmaceutical therapies are actually being manufactured today in the form of biologics.   Some characteristics of biologics are:

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What You Can Learn From the Hi-Tech Industry and Its Post-Sales Success

For many companies, particularly in cutting-edge high technology industries, an evolution has occurred as post-sales services have become an important part of their business. Post-sales services have become a significant source of revenue and profit, a way to build long-term customer relationships, and a source of competitive advantage. As healthcare evolves, the importance of services is likely to grow, creating a corresponding need for post-sales supply chain management.  

Supply chains can be thought of in three categories:

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Preventing ‘flu when we flew
Flu vaccination in Laos

Flying pretty much anywhere these days is expensive. And it’s almost twice as expensive when I travel with my daughter.

And the reason is simple: The route from airport security to the departure gate is littered with opportunities to spend money. There are stores that sell expensive clothes, jewelry, electronics, duty-free goods, food and tacky tee-shirts that announce to the world that the wearer has spent time in the City of Atlanta. (The “I’m a Georgia Peach” key ring complements the tee shirt nicely, by the way.)

Traveling to see family in China once, my daughter and I had too much time to kill in the airport. And, like a wasp to blueberry jelly, she was immediately drawn to the most expensive items for sale in the retail area.

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Growing Abroad

“It’s a small world…but I wouldn’t want to have to paint it – Steven Wright

There has been a lot of discussion in recent years about a profound socioeconomic shift that is occurring, commonly referred to as The Rise of the Global Middle Class.  The world’s middle class population was estimated by the Brookings Institution to include 400 million people in 2005.

In the next 20 years the global middle class is projected to grow to include 1.2 billion people.  Fully two-thirds of that unprecedented expansion in prosperity will occur in China and India.      

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The Highs and Lows of Temperature-Sensitive Shipping
temperature controlled

Here in Atlanta, summer has now given way to early fall, which is bad news for the HVAC industry but a welcome change for Atlantans.

This time of year is also welcome to shippers of temperature-sensitive products. A package containing insulin, which must be protected from excessive temperatures, will remain unspoiled longer on a Minneapolis doorstep at 60 degrees Fahrenheit than on a Phoenix doorstep in 105 degrees.

Optimizing the design of temperature-sensitive packages can help ensure that package contents will arrive in optimal condition by staying within the  designated temperature range through the transportation process. Avoiding spoilage is not, however, only about the package itself; it’s also about the ambient temperatures in the environment that the package will pass through.

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Whit male using ring scanner_Fullsize

How can I create business advantage with my supply chain?  This is a question healthcare companies are increasingly asking themselves, and their logistics service providers, as the market becomes more competitive, more global, and frankly more challenging.  Healthcare companies are recognizing that their supply chain’s performance can have a significant impact on their overall performance and are a source of competitive advantage. 

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UPS survey: Healthcare logistics executives build regulatory compliance competencies in Western Europe

UPS recently launched our 6th annual UPS Pain in the (Supply) Chain survey, which takes the pulse of healthcare logistics executives around the world on their top business and supply chain concerns and “pain points,” successful strategies they have put in place to address issues and future investment plans.

This post focuses on top findings in Western Europe, where executives are seeing success in strategies they have put in place to address regulatory compliance issues and are planning further investments, even in a difficult economic environment.

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UPS survey: Product protection top supply chain concern for healthcare logistics executives in Asia

UPS marks its 6th “Pain in the (Supply) Chain survey” this year, which is conducted annually across North America, Western Europe, Asia Pacific (interactive executive summary) and Latin America. This week, we focus on the findings from the Asia Pacific region where healthcare logistics executives are particularly concerned about product protection, which include both product security and product spoilage.

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Addressing Serialization and e-Pedigree Mandates

Ensuring the security and traceability of healthcare shipments is of growing importance, especially as the counterfeiting of healthcare products continues to rise. An important step is for the U.S. to adopt legislation that creates uniform national standards and enforcement for serialization and licensing (to preempt a patchwork of state-level regulations). While it has been a slow process, progress is being made on the legislative front.

In thinking about policy, especially at the federal level, it is important to focus on: “What problem are we trying to solve?” In this situation, it is ensuring access to safe medicines and preventing counterfeit drugs from reaching consumers.

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