Providing value-added supply chain services across our logistics network
Our Customer - Pharmaceutical Sector
The European pharmaceutical industry is in an exciting phase of drug development, and research methods are continually evolving. As an innovative industry, driven by the challenge to improve world health and turn fundamental research into innovative new treatments, companies are always striving to ensure their products are accessible to more patients. As well as driving medical progress by researching, developing and bringing new medicines to the market, pharmaceutical production is a vital asset of the European economy.
McLanachan Transport works closely with several pharmaceutical companies across Europe, moving raw materials and finished products across the UK and the EU as well as countries in the European Free Trade Association, including Switzerland and Norway.
The Challenges - Extending The Life of Client Assets
Unrecoverable costs are an issue for most businesses, and the pharmaceutics industry is no exception. When a company makes a significant investment in assets, keeping track of these assets as they move around Europe can often be challenging.
One of our long-standing customers in the pharmaceutical sector was experiencing issues with tracking, tracing and managing the return of intermediate bulk containers (IBC), across their European production facilities. These large containers are perfect for transporting the raw materials used in the manufacturing process of pharmaceutical products.
IBCs are used widely within the pharmaceutical industry for transporting liquid and powder-based products. These containers are also easy to load and unload with a pallet truck or forklift, making them a more manageable asset.
Once delivered, the contents of the IBCs enter production, with the empty containers usually relocated to a storage area or yard. Our client would then attempt to consolidate and arrange the return of the empty IBCs only to discover many were untraceable or had suffered damage. Our client asked us to work with them to develop a method of ensuring the return of IBCs back into their supply chain, undamaged and clean.
The Solution - Returnable Container Management
After extensive discussions and assessment, McLanachan Transport worked with the customer and the production plant to implement a series of procedures to eliminate the IBC return issues.
McLanachan Transport now manages the end-to-end process of making the delivery to the customer’s production plant on the European mainland and taking receipt of any empty IBCs from previous shipments, ensuring their safe and timely return to the UK.
Working with the customer, we put procedures in place for each scheduled delivery of raw materials from the UK. The European production plant prepared for the upcoming delivery, with their warehouse manager arranging for the empty IBCs to be organised and ready for our arrival.
The fast-moving nature of any production plant can cause issues with available space, with most elements which are no longer useful to the manufacturing process quickly removed to free up much-needed space. Rather than moving the IBCs to a storage yard, they were set aside near the loading bay so the warehouse team could quickly load them into our trailer after our scheduled delivery.
On the return route, we take the containers for cleaning and repairs, and then we uplift any prepared IBCs before returning them to their final destination to be reused.
With a strong focus on their environmental credentials, our customer, like many businesses, has a desire and commitment to reducing waste and energy costs wherever possible. With this returnable container initiative, the customer has lowered their costs, plus the scheduled returns made to tie in with deliveries has reduced road miles for our vehicles, delivering a more environmentally friendly approach.