Historically, Sanofi has relied heavily upon active heating and cooling shipping systems for their international shipments for pallet and less-than-pallet product loads. Using active shipping solutions, Sanofi faced many logistical and operational challenges as listed below.
• Complex networks
• Difficult to reach or remote locations
• Embargoed countries
• Availability of active systems
• Inability of some destinations to receive such units
• Labor-intensive packaging
• TSA screening
• Potential inability to ship to locations without documented qualifications
• Possible delays due to lack of qualification documentation for license approvals
• Risk of equipment failures (mechanical, in flight, on the ground, or user error)
With the goal to reduce these challenges, Sanofi partnered with Sonoco ThermoSafe to design and qualify a passive pallet shipper to lower their total cost of order fulfillment including labor, packaging, and lease costs. Meanwhile they would benefit from better flight availability with onsite ready-to-use pallet shippers.
Some of the key design and qualification considerations included:
• Using Sanofi’s global zonal international temperature profiles
• Reducing the number of dedicated lane qualifications from 12 to five
• Maintaining 2°C to 8° C temperature with only an initial hour for allowable excursions
• Using data loggers for continuous monitoring of temperatures
• Defining payload dimensions of 40x48x53-in. that fit in wide-bodied planes
• Testing product loads using a bracketed approach while considering minimum and maximum thermal mass models
• Following ISTA’s 2B distribution testing protocols to physically stress the passive pallet shipping solution
Sonoco ThermoSafe’s engineering and design team developed an innovative passive pallet shipper solution maximizing natural convection by using rigid Sonoposts® to channel airflow and minimize thermal contact. Advanced 3D thermal modeling capabilities provided a complete temperature map of the product load allowing Sanofi to simulate multiple product load configurations. In addition, Sonoco Thermosafe’s PureTemp® 4°C phase-change material (PCM) helped prevent cold shocks, eliminate the need for refrigerant bench-time, and increase the weight-to-payload efficiency. The combination of PureTemp and natural convection simplified the assembly and greatly lowered the total cost of ownership for Sanofi.
With the move to Sonoco ThermoSafe’s passive pallet shipping solution, Sanofi will see a reduction in active container use, lessening the concern of availability for active units, and increasing flight options and availability for distribution. Operationally, Sanofi saved costs on labor, packaging, and freight, not to mention an improvement in scheduling forecasting for labor.
Given the significant impact on operations in terms of increased efficiencies and cost reductions, the two companies plan to collaborate further on new and innovative projects. In all, Sanofi will experience a $3 million in packaging savings. And that’s a win-win!
To learn more, download the detailed market shift case study presentation, “Replacing Active Heating and Cooling Shipping Systems with Passive Pallet Shippers.”