Logistics & Supply Chain

The Challenge of Increasing Internationalization

International Distribution of Pharmaceuticals Across Europe in the Fast Lane

20.01.2015 -

Within the Eurotemp network, Trans-o-flex offers active temperature control solutions that dispense with thermally insulating packaging and ensure good distribution practice (GDP) compliance and all-over monitoring and documentation.

Whereas the concentration trend among the pharmaceutical companies has continued for years, and the development, procurement and production in the pharmaceutical sector were globalized long ago, the supply to pharmacies, wholesalers and hospitals used to be almost exclusively a national matter. However, this will change.

"We have noticed an increasing internationalization of logistic and distribution services," said Christian Knoblich, managing director with responsibility for the pharmaceutical business of the Trans-o-flex Logistics Group. "One of the reasons is that a centralized warehousing concept helps to reduce inventory costs because double stock can partially be avoided and unit costs for stock-keeping in a large warehouse are lower than in cases where the goods are stored in many small locations. You only have one overhead, and you only need one set of equipment, from scanners to the inventory management system and the warehouse."

Logistics systems, like the one developed by the Trans-o-flex Group, reflect exactly this development.

"However, you face the challenge then to combine the different national requirements in one logistic system, which, as it concerns pharmaceuticals, obviously also has to be GDP-compliant," Knoblich said.

Answer To Increasing Internationalization

"In order to meet these challenges and find an answer to the increasing internationalization, the Trans-o-flex Group has developed its Eurotemp solution, which, as the only international network, enables the actively temperature-controlled distribution of pharmaceuticals in Europe," Knoblich said. "We already ensure a blanket-coverage fine distribution with active temperature control in eight European countries. In addition to this, we also offer the actively temperature-controlled transportation of pharmaceuticals as less-than-truckload (LTL) or full-truckload (FTL) shipments in many other countries. Eurotemp reaches from Sweden to Italy, from Ireland to Bulgaria, from Poland to Portugal. We could design this international network so that we have the same offering all over Europe. However, we will not do this, because national practice and habits still play a major role, and we want to take this into consideration."

Customized Transport Of Pharmaceuticals

This is why the network initiated by the Trans-o-flex Group focuses on a gradual demand-oriented growth with partners, based on two main criteria. Knoblich: "The basic prerequisite is that all partners are able to transport pharmaceuticals in compliance with the EU regulations for good distribution practice. Secondly, our partners offer exactly those services that are required by the industry in their specific countries. And it is precisely these requirements that have not yet been standardized in Europe."

The basic service in the Eurotemp network is always active temperature control. This helps the partners dispense with additional thermally insulating packaging and passive temperature control, which, especially during long transports, reduces efforts and costs. The all-over shipment monitoring and temperature documentation has to be ensured through the entire process. Apart from this, the offer can vary: In some countries, especially the European core countries such as Germany, Austria or the Benelux countries, Eurotemp offers the fine distribution of parcels, the distribution of pallets as well as LTL and FTL shipments.

"In other countries, so far, we concentrate on LTL or FTL shipments because still there is not enough demand for an actively temperature-controlled fine distribution of parcels," Knoblich said.

There are also differences in the offered temperature ranges: "We partly focus on temperature control in the range between 2 and 8 degrees Celsius, he said. "At the same time, however, we also partly offer the temperature range between 15 and 25 degrees Celsius."

Complete Offer In France

An example of such a complete offer is the French Eurotemp partner Eurotranspharma. In France, this dynamically growing company offers an areawide network for the active temperature-controlled transportation of pharmaceuticals in both temperature ranges and, with its subsidiary Transpharma Belgium, has been providing the same services in Belgium for almost a year. According to Eurotranspharma, the company, with a workforce of 800 employees, achieved a turnover of €72 million in 2013 and created 600 jobs in the last three years. The French network consists of two hubs and 14 depots, which organize 520 delivery routes.

Single Source Service

Compliance with the Eurotemp standards, such as constant temperature monitoring or all-over temperature documentation, is regularly audited in accordance with the GDP guidelines, not only by customers but also by the Trans-o-flex Group in its capacity as partner in the Eurotemp network. Knoblich: "Already today, Eurotemp offers pharmaceutical companies the possibility to receive an international transport service from one single source, which takes the individual countries' national specifics into consideration."


trans-o-flex Express GmbH

Hertzstraße 10
69469 Weinheim

+49 6201 988 0
+49 6201 988 980