Logistics & Supply Chain

System-integrated Production Logistics in Pharma Environment

Pharmaserv Logistics Offers Just-in-time Delivery Directly into Pharmaceutical Production

07.11.2018 -

Outsourcing the production supply? What still seems unthinkable for most pharmaceutical companies has long been actual fact in Marburg - and perhaps it will also be fact in other places soon.

Raw materials and production resources in order-specific quantities are packed in large grey boxes along with a dozen production filters and two sets of disposable clothing. It is a routine order that Pharmaserv Logistics receives as the service provider through a validated interface. The client: a world-renowned pharmaceutical manufacturer that produces pharmaceuticals at the Behringwerke industrial park in Marburg – which is just a few hundred meters away from the Pharmaserv Logistics warehouse. The boxes are assigned an identifying QR code as soon as they have been packed at the warehouse and are delivered by truck directly to the customer's production. The QR code is used to route the boxes directly to the production lock as they arrive – a well-rehearsed system. “Things used to be different. And it went without saying: each pharmaceutical manufacturer had to have its own production stores, its own supply system,” says Christoph Krug, head of Logistics Planning at Pharmaserv Logistics. “It's practically at the heart of everything that happens, there's no room for things to go wrong: the late arrival of raw materials or auxiliaries could stop production. That's why it takes a lot of trust to outsource such an area – particularly when the sensitive sampling processes in clean room conditions are also entrusted to others."

The "Pharmaserv Logistics" Brand

Trust that Pharmaserv Logistics from Marburg enjoys. The logistics experts are part of Pharmaserv, the owner and site operator at Behringwerke in Marburg. The pharmaceutical and biotechnology park is home to 16 production and service companies operating in the pharmaceuticals industry, with around 5,500 employees working in the two sections of the plant. Pharmaserv, which celebrated its 20th anniversary last year, has always provided logistics services to the companies at the location. “We've built up a great deal of specialist know-how in this area,” says Manuel Papstein, head of Business Development at Pharmaserv Logistics. “Over the years, more and more companies – even beyond the boundaries of Marburg – have started to utilize our logistics services. That's why, a few years ago, we decided to position ourselves even more clearly in the field of pharmaceutical logistics – and launched the ‘Pharmaserv Logistics’ brand at the beginning of 2015.”

Special GxP Know-how

Today, the pharmaceutical logistics company's core business rests on three pillars: storage and temperature-controlled distribution of temperature-sensitive pharmaceuticals, wholesale of laboratory consumables, personal protective equipment and packaging for pharmaceutical production with a showroom in Marburg and an online shop – as well as the above-mentioned system-integrated production supply process. “Only very few suppliers in Germany are able to offer GMP-compliant production logistics,” says Papstein. “It's a task that's usually still handled by the departments within the pharmaceutical companies themselves because it's a very sensitive area that requires high levels of expertise.”

The execution of production logistics in the pharmaceutical sector – be it internal or external – must meet the highest of demands. From goods receipt and storage to packaging and provision for production, everything needs to fit – as it does at Pharmaserv Logistics. The demanding work starts with the premises: “The construction of our warehouse buildings in Marburg was, right from the start, tailored to meet the special requirements that are encountered in the pharmaceutical industry.” Continuous storage at the right temperature ranges are ensured throughout the various warehouses while the employees are all specialists in their fields. Pharmaserv Logistics has even been using its own staff to take samples for a new customer in a specially equipped clean room since 2017. “The customer has commissioned us to handle the sampling of its raw materials. That's a very special expression of trust,” says Papstein. Another customer has staffed another clean room at Pharmaserv Logistics warehouse with its own personnel while Pharmaserv Logistics handles the supply of these goods as well as all as the operation of the clean-room.

Daily Just-in-time Delivery

It is in this way that Pharmaserv Logistics is perfectly equipped to provide an all-round service. “The companies have their raw materials and production supplies delivered directly to us. We accept the goods, check their identity, quantity and certificates, take samples and store them.” And we keep hold of them until they are actually needed. The production plant places its orders for precisely what it needs to manufacture the next batch once or twice a day. Everything is put together exactly as required, packaged in easy-to-clean reusable transport boxes and delivered through various locks in different production buildings within a very short time. “This is, of course, very practical for our customers. They don't have to maintain buffer stores in their production departments and they don't even have to dispose of the packaging,” says Krug. “The geographical proximity also guarantees that we're able to deliver quickly if production discovers that something is missing.”

Talks at other Pharmaceutical Sites

So there are mainly two aspects that a company must take into account when considering working with an external production supply system. Firstly, trust in the expertise, secondly, geographical proximity. “We've received many inquiries from companies at other locations since we launched this service in Marburg,” says Papstein. “We've even been asked if we'd be interested in relocating to a different site.” The thought doesn't seem so far-fetched – Pharmaserv has already opened a technical services branch in Cologne to enable it to be closer to its customer in the region. The experts at Pharmaserv Logistics are currently considering locations in Germany where many pharmaceutical producers have settled – including the greater Frankfurt, Munich, North Rhine-Westphalia, Hamburg and Berlin areas. Prospective customers in Marburg are also very welcome to take a look at the production logistics facility in real life, says Papstein: “We're always happy to convince new customers of the benefits of our service.”

Sounds interesting? Then why not take a look at ‘system-integrated production logistics in the pharmaceutical environment’ presented in the short video here?