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Optimizing Packaging for Temperature-Sensitive Shipments

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Using the Risk-Controlled Ambient Thermal Profile (RCATP) Methodology for Improving Tertiary Package Design

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Optimizing Packaging for Temperature-Sensitive Shipments

  1. 1. Optimizing Packaging for Temperature-Sensitive Shipments Using the Risk-Controlled Ambient Thermal Profile (RCATP) Methodology for Improving Tertiary Package Design Susan Li Manager UPS Temperature True® Packaging 2018 . UPS and Sensitech Inc . All rights reserved . David E. Magargee Global Programs Manager Sensitech® Inc .
  2. 2. Table of Contents 01 Introduction 02 The Role of Tertiary Packaging in Protecting Temperature- Sensitive Products Why the right packaging is important. . . 04 How proper packaging can help. . . . . . . 04 Data analysis is key . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 05 03 RCATP: A Comprehensive, Proven Methodology Why choose RCATP over other approaches. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 07 04 An In-Depth Look at the RCATP Methodology Ideal temperature. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 08 Heat and negative heat values. . . . . . . . 08 Trip length (or time in transit). . . . . . . . . . 10 Determining acceptable levels of risk . . . 11 05 Real-Life Data: The UPS Shipping Network How the studies were conducted. . . . . . 12 06 The Results: Four RCATPs with UPS Data RCATPs using the 99th percentile. . . . . . 15 RCATPs using the 95th percentile. . . . . . 15 07 Conclusion: RCATPs are critical to reducing risk UPS | SENSITECH 2
  3. 3. Introduction For companies responsible for the transport of temperature-sensitive products, it is important to understand how the temperatures of the in-transit environment can affect the products being shipped. This knowledge can help direct the design of tertiary packaging that can protect products from adverse temperature variances, which in turn can reduce supply chain costs and lessen overall risk. To provide insights into this, Sensitech® Inc. and UPS® joined together to author this paper on how to use the Sensitech Risk-Controlled Ambient Thermal Profile (RCATP) methodology to improve the effectiveness of tertiary packaging. OPTIMIZING PACKAGING FOR TEMPERATURE-SENSITIVE SHIPMENTS 3
  4. 4. The Role of Tertiary Packaging in Protecting Temperature-Sensitive Products For temperature-sensitive product manufacturers and shippers, product loss or damage—and the associated risks—while the goods move through the supply chain is a major concern. UPS, a global leader in logistics, shared insights on this in its Eighth UPS Pain in the Chain survey of healthcare logistics executives. Why the right packaging is important How proper packaging can help Thermal tertiary packaging is a key component in protecting the quality of temperature-sensitive products in the supply chain. However, this kind of packaging is often either over- or under-engineered, which can increase supply chain costs and decrease product efficacy. 63% of the executives surveyed believe that a core supply chain issue is product damage and spoilage. 47% say that increasing regulatory requirements involving cold-chain or temperature-sensitive packaging are driving up costs. 48% stated that their success with product damage and spoilage is due to the use of thermal packaging and containers. When products or packaging are compromised, there are costly ramifications, including those associated with the manufacturing of replacement products and packaging, pack-out assembly and transportation. In addition, there could be loss of retail revenue, along with other related expenses such as quarantine, testing, disposal and brand equity damage. The worst case scenario is compromised product reaching the consumer. Package designers can then use this data, along with other design considerations, to develop packaging that has the greatest potential to maintain product temperatures when exposed to ambient temperatures in the real world. Depending on the lane, time of year, level of shipping service selected and other factors, there can be an extremely wide range of ambient temperatures. The temperatures that packages may be exposed to while being shipped could be higher than 70°C and lower than -20°C. Adverse heat gain or loss by exposure to ambient temperature over time during shipping can affect the ability of a temperature-sensitive product or its packaging to withstand temperatures that exceed a defined ideal range. Exposure to temperatures outside of a product’s ideal range can impact product efficacy. Thermal tertiary packaging, which protects goods during shipping with materials such as corrugated boxes, insulating materials and phase-change materials, can effectively reduce many of the risks noted above. To design optimal tertiary packaging, it’s important to determine what an ideal and acceptable shipping time and temperature range is for the specific tolerances of a particular product. 63% 47% 48% UPS | SENSITECH 4
  5. 5. Data analysis is key A UPS report, How to Select Tertiary Packaging, notes, “A product may be shipped outside of its label storage conditions only when stability data or scientific/technical justification exists to demonstrate that quality will not be adversely impacted.” The report also mentions that this is especially important for products that are sensitive to conditions outside of their storage requirements. For these kinds of products, it’s key to identify the risks and take steps to alleviate them. This is where Ambient Temperature Profiles (ATPs) are helpful, as they provide a statistical analysis of time-temperature data for use during the phase of packaging design where thermal packages are tested in a temperature-controlled chamber. Collecting an appropriate dataset of time and temperature data and analyzing the distribution of expected temperatures in a particular shipping network is the best way to predict and quantify the thermal risk in any supply chain network. This information is vital for packaging designers, as ATPs provides data they can use as parameters for creating packaging prototypes that can maintain specified temperature ranges for a range of given times. OPTIMIZING PACKAGING FOR TEMPERATURE-SENSITIVE SHIPMENTS 5
  6. 6. UPS | SENSITECH 6
  7. 7. RCATP: A Comprehensive, Proven Methodology There are a variety of ATP methodologies available on the market from various organizations. One such approach is the Risk-Controlled Ambient Thermal Profile (RCATP) Methodology developed by Sensitech® Inc., a world leader in supply chain visibility. Based upon Newton’s law of cooling, the RCATP approach uses a risk-weighted evaluation of variable temperatures as a means of quantifying the risk of a temperature excursion. It provides a more comprehensive analysis of time and temperature data from a shipping network than most ATPs— and here’s why. Typically, ATP data is collected for creating ‘hot’ and ‘cold’ season profiles to minimize the cost of packaging and to identify the appropriate time to transition to packaging for a hotter or colder season ahead. However, most ATP methodologies don’t show what happens on a cold day in a hot season, or a hot day in a cold season, as they don’t measure the full range of temperatures during a season. To provide more comprehensive insight, the RCATP methodology uses two profiles, or a profile set. The two profiles in a set contain one profile representing the upper or hottest expected trip, and a lower profile representing the coolest expected trip. With this comprehensive data, package testing can be on the full range of temperatures—both highs and lows—that can occur within one season or across multiple seasons. This methodology gives packaging designers a higher level of confidence that the chamber-tested packaging will withstand all ambient temperatures within a given supply chain. Why choose RCATP over other approaches The two-profile approach of an RCATP analysis provides significant benefits over other methodologies, including these: • As a consultative process, the RCATP methodology considers a wider array of variables than other approaches. An RCATP analysis can potentially include data on product stability, product cost, process cost, distribution options and service levels, as well as packaging and design costs. • With the RCATP methodology, companies can assess their product failure rates and excess logistics costs while minimizing the total cost of distribution. For example, an RCATP analysis allows companies to measure the cost of maintaining quality by providing protection via thermal packaging and specialty logistics services. Decision-makers can compare the cost of such protection against the risk and projected costs associated with product quarantine or loss due to the negative effects of thermal exposure. • This approach can also help companies define their supply chain requirements to determine what kinds of investments are needed to maintain product quality, consumer safety and regulatory compliance. Companies can identify and weigh various trade-offs, and intelligently define the level of variability or risk they are willing to take. For instance, companies can determine what an acceptable level of risk is for a specific distribution network, and utilize an iterative package design process to help optimize distribution costs against an informed risk tolerance. This approach can also inform a variety of choices in designing other factors in a distribution system, such as the selection of lane clusters, transportation mode, and shipping service levels. OPTIMIZING PACKAGING FOR TEMPERATURE-SENSITIVE SHIPMENTS 7
  8. 8. 1. Ideal temperature The RCATP methodology relies on creating an arbitrary temperature that represents the optimum temperature at which a product should be stored to maintain efficacy . For many life science products, a “label claim” that meets regulatory compliance is typically 2-8°C . The optimum or ideal temperature for this range is typically agreed to be 5°C, as it represents the mean of the two limits . Therefore, RCATPs for life sciences products often use 5°C as an ideal temperature . 2. Heat and negative heat values A defining feature of the RCATP methodology is the ability to compare various shipments, or trips, to one another and to average ATPs . For these trip comparisons, the RCATP methodology utilizes two statistically derived metrics called “heat value” and “negative heat value .” These calculations quantify the amount of heat associated with a specific trip or profile, or any time-temperature series . The heat value and negative heat value measure the difference between a time and temperature series and the selected ideal temperature (see Figure 1) . Typically these metrics would be calculated on a cohesive data set of a single shipping lane or grouping of lanes . Note: This content of the paper covers the methodology of an RCATP with the assumption that data for this analysis has already been captured based on specific design and execution parameters individually tailored to a company’s specific objectives. The process of how that data is captured is outside the scope of this paper. -5 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 Ideal Time (hours) Temperature(°C) 5 10 15 20 25 Ambient Temperature -5 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 Time (hours) Temperature(°C) 5 10 15 20 25 Ideal Ambient Temperature Figure 1: The gray area in the left graph shows a trip’s heat value, or the amount of time above the ideal range. The graph on the right shows the negative heat value, or the time below the ideal temperature, for the same trip. An In-Depth Look at the RCATP Methodology The RCATP methodology is based upon three primary concepts: 1 2 UPS | SENSITECH 8
  9. 9. In Figure 2 below, the positive and negative heat values from five different shipments are depicted . The most extreme trips from the dataset, using heat and negative heat, have been highlighted in red and blue respectively, in the right section of Figure 2 . For instance, the metrics show that Trip 5 had a more extreme negative heat value than Trip 1, while Trip 4 had a more extreme heat value than any other trip . This set of heat values becomes critical when deciding the risk level of each RCATP . Example Data Set Multi-Graph 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45 50 -5 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 Trip 1 Trip 2 Trip 3 Trip 4 Trip 5 Ideal Hours °C Figure 2: Each of the time-temperature records for five separate trips has a heat and negative heat value, which can ultimately inform the high and low profiles in an RCATP profile set. OPTIMIZING PACKAGING FOR TEMPERATURE-SENSITIVE SHIPMENTS 9
  10. 10. 3. Trip length (or time in transit) When undertaking an RCATP analysis, companies must decide length of the thermal profile . Typically, for the shipment of small packages, this would be anywhere from 24 to 120 hours, depending on considerations such as shipping method, length of routes or standard operating procedures . Some companies choose to use the length of live shipments and use the period of the actual time period from pickup to delivery for analysis . In all cases, delivery delays should be considered while designing profiles and packaging, and appropriate contingency plans should be defined . This step in the RCATP groups the temperature data points from the analysis in Figure 2 into hourly “buckets .” The first hour of temperature data for all of the above five trips are grouped into Bucket 1, with the second hourly records placed into Bucket 2, and so forth . Each bucket is then displayed as a distribution, with a mark (teal dot) for each temperature data point . 3 Figure 3: Grouping data into hourly buckets can help companies increase or decrease risk. 0 5 -5 -10 10 15 20 25 30 35 0 5 10 15 20 25 Hour °C UPS | SENSITECH 10
  11. 11. With the information from Figure 3, companies can then establish a level of risk that they are willing to take by assigning an independent percentile for each profile . Within the distribution points, companies can assign a high and low percentile that is based on factors such as risk aversion and product stability that meet their unique product requirements . This example uses 90% to illustrate how the percentiles relate to each profile . In Figure 4, the first two hours are connected where 90% of the data falls below the line . Hour 1 & 2 Bucket 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 0 1 2 3 Hour °C Figure 4: Connecting the first two hours of data This concept is continued through the entire dataset in Figure 5 . Building a lower profile is the same concept, but uses lower percentiles, typically between 0% and 20% . Increasing or decreasing the percentiles will result in more or less extreme profiles . Determining acceptable levels of risk Data Grouped by Hour 0 5 -5 -10 10 15 20 25 30 35 0 5 10 15 20 25 Hour °C Figure 5: Construction of the upper profile Using these percentiles, companies can then see what percentage of shipments they might expect to be at risk of thermal failure by encountering more extreme heat and negative heat values than the package was designed to withstand . This is a critical component of making risk-based decisions not only for package design, but supply chain options as well . When the percentiles are calculated across the duration of the trip, the result is the two time- temperature profiles . A final profile set with both profiles is seen in Figure 6 . Upper and Lower Temperature Profiles -10 -5 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 Ideal Time (hours) Temperature(°C) 5 10 15 20 25 Figure 6: Upper and lower profiles in an RCATP profile set OPTIMIZING PACKAGING FOR TEMPERATURE-SENSITIVE SHIPMENTS 11
  12. 12. Real-Life Data: The UPS Shipping Network How the studies were conducted To provide its customers with a better understanding of the benefits of an RCATP model, UPS used Sensitech’s methodology for analyzing its own shipping data. In doing so, UPS hopes to provide customers with insights that can help them optimize the engineering and manufacturing of packaging for small, temperature-sensitive shipments traveling through its network. Since 2011, UPS used thousands of Sensitech temperature-sensing monitors to collect ambient temperatures across its shipping lanes in the United States. The goal was to capture in-transit ambient temperature data between UPS origin sites and destination locations in the United States. To capture temperatures representative of different geographical locations, the United States was divided into four zones. [Define the zones, provide a map to show the zones]. Within each zone, multiple receiving sites were selected and used to create an appropriate geographical spread. Zone Map Zone 4 Zone 3 Zone 1 Zone 2 With the sample data here, UPS customers can gain valuable insights that will help them determine how to use an RCATP to mitigate the risks presented by heat and cold experienced during transport. By more accurately aligning their packaging with the thermal challenges of the network, UPS customers have an opportunity for realizing significant cost savings on packaging, shipping and reducing rejected shipments. UPS | SENSITECH 12
  13. 13. Four seasonal studies were conducted over a period of two years with the goal to capture extreme seasonal variations of shipments while in transit . The studies included data from: 1. Summer (July and August) of 2011 2. Winter (January and February) of 2012 3. Winter (January and February) of 2013 4. Summer (July and August) of 2013 The information collected during these four studies resulted in: Over 270,000 data points . . .from almost 1 .5 million UPS tracked package miles …on shipments from 12 points of origin and over 200 destinations …for both UPS Next Day Air® and UPS Second Day Air® small package services . How the data was collected: • Each of the individual shipments was equipped with a single Sensitech TempTale®4 temperature monitor placed inside a ventilated, corrugated box without insulation or refrigerants to record actual environment temperature in-transit . Each monitor was programmed to record temperatures every 10 minutes during transit . • Each monitor was turned on when the shipment was prepared for transportation in one of 12 UPS warehouses/facilities . All shipments were sent to locations of the UPS Store nationwide to simulate the routing of a typical business address . UPS Stores staff would turn off the monitor upon receiving the shipments . Data from all monitors was downloaded and consolidated . Destination Locations – UPS Stores Zone 4 Zone 3 Zone 1 Zone 2 OPTIMIZING PACKAGING FOR TEMPERATURE-SENSITIVE SHIPMENTS 13
  14. 14. • Sensitech and UPS worked collaboratively to define procedures, responsibilities, equipment, instructions, purpose and required analysis prior to initiating the program. • Regarding data gathering, Sensitech trained UPS personnel on the proper data collection processes to ensure program compliance. • All data was stored in Sensitech ColdStream® Cold Chain Manager software, which is a 21 CFR Part 11-compatible data-storage environment created specifically to manage temperature information. Data held within ColdStream cannot be changed, overwritten, or deleted, and is password protected. All changes to the database are tracked, date-stamped and stored along with the user identity that performs each action. • The RCATP methodology developed by Sensitech relies on creating an optimum temperature at which a product should be stored based on stability data. Because the goal of this RCATP project is to protect refrigerated product for UPS customers, a 5°C ideal temperature was selected. • At the end of each study, Sensitech compiled formal reports from the findings, and key findings are included here in this report. NOTE: Although the seasonal studies were similar in terms of data collection, there were some notable differences. For example, the Summer 2011 and Winter 2012 studies had three origin facilities per zone, and the Winter and Summer 2013 studies had two origin facilities. Each of these origin facilities shipped test packages to locations in all four geographical zones. UPS | SENSITECH 14
  15. 15. The Results: Four RCATPs with UPS Data To help its customers establish their risk tolerance, the UPS profiles used the 99th percentile of the set of heat values and negative heat values for one summer and winter profile, and the 95th percentile for another summer and winter profile. With this understanding, UPS customers can select from between a more or slightly less robust package design, depending on product temperature requirements. The following figures display the four UPS profile sets, one for each study. • The orange lines in each represent the upper temperature profile (99% or 95%) and the green line represents the lower temperature profile (1% or 5%) in each. • The horizontal gray line represents the ideal temperature (5°C) established for this study. • The vertical brown bars represent the maximum and minimum temperatures recorded in each hour group. RCATPs using the 95th percentile: These four profiles show the wide variations that can occur from season to season and from trip to trip, and the level of risk that could be assigned to an RCATP analysis. Figure 9: Summer 95th percentile (2013) Figure 10: Winter 95th percentile (2013) RCATPs using the 99th percentile: Figure 7: Summer 99th percentile (2011) Figure 8: Winter 99th percentile (2012) OPTIMIZING PACKAGING FOR TEMPERATURE-SENSITIVE SHIPMENTS 15
  16. 16. UPS | SENSITECH 16
  17. 17. Conclusion RCATPs are critical to reducing risk The daily highs and lows of ambient temperatures will continue to be affected by the conditions of transportation—and they will always vary. In truth, there is no way surefire way to forecast the conditions that each shipment will encounter. But a dataset from individual actual shipments can be used to generate an ambient profile that is of demonstrable value to the design of tertiary packaging. The utilization of ambient temperature profiles like the Sensitech RCATP analysis is an effective— and, indeed, essential—way to optimize tertiary packaging solutions for temperature-sensitive shipments. Given the breadth of parameters and the wide range of variables involved, it is wise to continually collect real-world data to help determine the amount of risk in shipping temperature-sensitive products and how to reduce it. Repeated experimentation in actual shipping lanes can help ensure the most accurate guidance for packaging designs. The speed of transport chosen needs to be taken into consideration as well. While a faster route generally results in a less extreme ambient temperature profile, that generalization doesn’t apply when a shipment unexpectedly ends up spending several hours in the hot Arizona sun, or the freezing cold of Alaska. Taking into consideration the wide array of possible data in an RCATP analysis gives companies with the opportunity to optimize a transportation solution and minimize damage and spoilage, maximize efficiency, reduce risk and most importantly, keep consumers safe. OPTIMIZING PACKAGING FOR TEMPERATURE-SENSITIVE SHIPMENTS 17
  18. 18. About UPS UPS is a global leader in logistics, offering a broad range of solutions including transporting packages and freight; facilitating international trade, and deploying advanced technology to more efficiently manage the world of business. Headquartered in Atlanta, UPS serves more than 220 countries and territories worldwide. UPS | SENSITECH 18
  19. 19. About Sensitech Sensitech Inc. is a world leader in supply chain visibility. Our innovative monitoring products and services help to maintain the quality, integrity and security of our customers’ valuable products at every step in their journey, all around the world. For more than 25 years, leading companies in the food, pharmaceutical, industrial, consumer goods, and other industries have relied on Sensitech to help protect their products— and their bottom lines. OPTIMIZING PACKAGING FOR TEMPERATURE-SENSITIVE SHIPMENTS 19