Mar 22, 2021

Numerous Uncertainties

It has now been more than a year since Europe identified its first case of COVID-19 and the world moved into various phases of lockdown. Ever since then, the pharmaceutical community has been working extremely hard to develop and distribute vaccines against this new virus. Several vaccines have now been launched around the world, but the key parameters regarding where, when and in which volumes the vaccines are being produced are constantly changing. Initially, there were even uncertainties regarding the temperatures at which the various vaccines had to be transported.

Such uncertainties are due to the fact that pharmaceutical companies are continuously striving to supply larger volumes faster. As a result, they are not only expanding the number of production facilities, but are also producing the vaccines as locally as possible. 

For logistics companies, this creates the added challenge of dealing with limited and ever-changing information on lanes, volumes and actual shipping dates. They are also under pressure from local competent authorities that are eager to get their vaccination programme underway or – if it is already up and running – accelerate it. Combined with the ongoing supply chain challenges due to the impact of COVID-19, this means we are facing uncertain times and logistics service providers need to up their game. 

Combating Uncertainties

To combat these uncertainties, essential factors include open and honest dialogue, communication and an understanding of the importance of getting every detail right. At Yusen Logistics, we are fully committed to our customers and work tirelessly to deliver flexibility combined with reliable, high-quality service. Behind the scenes, we are continually striving to keep our customers’ supply chains running smoothly by optimally managing goods flows and routes in order to ensure the satisfaction of our customers’ customers. To make this happen, we are focusing on these key areas every day:

Improving Contingency
To improve contingency planning under rapidly evolving circumstances, real-time visibility depends not only on tracking the on-time status of freight in transit but also on monitoring broader changes, such as air-freight congestion and border closures. Maintaining a responsive approach to logistics management is imperative to rapidly adapt to any situational or environmental changes.

Improving Visibility
Visibility goes beyond knowing where a shipment is. Visibility is also about quality control and the condition of the product, the estimated time of delivery, predicting any potential bottlenecks as well as supporting demand and inventory financial control.


Improving Agility
Besides increasing the visibility, customers and suppliers also need to work together closely in order to improve agility. The ability to react to, communicate and implement changes, with a focus on continuous improvements, calls for cross-functional collaboration and accountability towards internal stakeholders.

Improving Flexibility 
Increased flexibility comes from being agile, having full end-to-end visibility and ensuring you have close relationships with key stakeholders as well as contingency plans to be able to respond to any issues that arise quickly and effectively – locally, regionally and globally – using uniform processes. It is also important to ensure that the whole team understands the requirements based on each customer’s needs. This results in a global network working together to deliver the best service possible.

Improving Quality
At Yusen, we have invested in a global Good Distribution Practice (GDP) network fully aligned through a single eQMS (AQua). To ensure our customer shipments are only handled by suitably qualified people, we are continually expanding our pool of GDP-trained experts; a further 120 employees received GDP training in the past month alone.

Moreover, we have invested in systems and tools so that we can exceed our customers’ expectations regarding future vaccine transport:
People – experts who are highly trained and committed to supporting our customers
Validaide – offering full Route Risk Assessments (RRAs)
VisionI – real-time GPS and temperature tracking for road freight
Controlant – real-time GPS and temperature tracking for air and sea freight
Yusen Vantage – full end-to-end order management
Control Tower – single point of contact and management

Additionally, we have successfully completed several quality-projects, including auditing and agreeing SLAs and SOPs with our suppliers and carriers, and a packaging project to audit all preferred packaging suppliers for temperature control shipments. Moreover, we are growing our own GDP infrastructure, as highlighted in our SPOTLIGHT campaign

We believe we offer a quality-driven solution that can provide a flexible and agile service to mitigate the numerous challenges that you might face. This ensures that your supply chain delivers the best possible service, when it is needed the most.


For more information or to request a quote, please contact Marloes Seesing, Global Head of Healthcare Industry Vertical.