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TSS to test – a study of setting up global Real-Time Monitoring during a pandemic

When TSS received the request to support Sandoz, the Novartis generics and biosimilar division, from its client Novartis, a multinational pharmaceutical company based in Switzerland, citing their need for urgent support with surveillance of critical shipments related to a COVID-19, the obvious solution was TSS’ Real-Time Monitoring solution.

The Real-Time Monitoring solutions offered by TSS include temperature loggers with GPS sensors, software with geotracking functionality, and 24/7 services for surveillance and possible intervention (Control Tower Services).

The request was received on Tuesday 31st March 2020, with the initial shipments already scheduled for the following Tuesday. The objective was to monitor shipments from Switzerland for up to 100 global destinations and ensure safe delivery. Firstly, in case a shipment would end up “off route” we should help locate the shipments and engage local law enforcement to retrieve them. Secondly, during a very challenging time with severe supply chain disruption due to the Corona outbreak, being able to anticipate deliveries.

Novartis have been a customer of TSS since 2009, utilizing the TSS Cloud Temperature Monitoring platform globally and monitoring all shipments with the help of the TSS temperature devices and cloud solution. This special assignment was related to drugs from their generic division Sandoz, which currently uses another temperature monitoring system.

Sandoz has for the past two decades manufactured the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine (HCQ), which was investigated for possibly having a positive effect on symptoms related to COVID-19. Sandoz agreed to donate 110 million doses of the drug to WHO, to conduct global full-scale clinical studies across laboratories and hospitals while Sandoz was managing the supply chain logistics.

So, what were the requirements of Sandoz and why did they choose, this time, to take the leap into real-time monitoring?

It was due to the extraordinary logistical challenges that Sandoz called on the real-time monitoring solutions of TSS. The drug was considered high theft risk and so the ability to use tracking to provide special protection was seen as a necessary investment, keeping on top of all shipments and ensuring that each arrived at its destination in a prime state of condition – particularly with the lack of direct flights available in the wake of COVID-19.

TSS are not the only provider of Real-Time Monitoring available on the market, and Sandoz also explored other options with regard to the project. However, based on TSS’ sense of urgency, and the high quality of all previous business relations and good experiences, Novartis decided to trust TSS with this important assignment.

Novartis’ Technical Operations overall conclusions stated:

TSS’ software solution is flexible and reliable, and we have a strong existing business relationship. As such we can vouch for their reliability and professionalism, and we understand the capability of their technology solutions.
The Sentry 500 GPS logger, offered by TSS, seems to be the most reliable on the market, holding the approval of most airlines.
“We chose TSS because they have proven to us in the past that they provide a good service. They are a supplier we can rely on” – Thomas Naef, Global Warehousing & Distribution Process Manager, Novartis Technical Operation.

Sandoz had three key organisational stakeholders to coordinate the project, representing quality, security and logistics. They met several times a week to monitor the progress of the project and assess the quality of TSS’ deliverables.

The solution was put in place within only five business days, building on the existing customer platform of TSS software solution to make the user experience easy and intuitive. In this short time frame TSS were able to set up a 24/7 working control tower to monitor all shipments and provide a real-time monitoring solution which could locate every shipment effectively.

Max Ahlstedt, Account Manager at TSS reflects: “For this specific project we found real-time monitoring to be critical in identifying logistics challenges, allowing us to find alternative solutions in the face of any problems, and informing our client where any specific shipment was located at any time”.

He continues: “Throughout the project we have intervened a number of times to save time and assist on shipments in transit. For example, on shipments to El Salvador and Cincinnati we were able to contact the freight forwarder, directing them to alter the route and achieve earlier delivery”.

The scope of the three-month operation has been between 35 and 40 shipments to some 35 countries, controlled and effectively monitored thanks to the TSS real-time monitoring solution and services.

Real-Time Monitoring is currently being explored in many organizations, to support critical shipments of high value goods. Undoubtedly, this is a trend that is certain to evolve along with technology, the industry and consumer needs.

To find out more about TSS Real-Time Temperature Monitoring solutions, contact us today.

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