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  March 28th, 2018 | Written by

Pharma Ocean Freight Enters New Waters

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  • Pharma ocean freight program has radical ‘one team culture.’
  • Poseidon went live at the IQPC Temperature Controlled Logistics Conference.
  • Pharma initiative involves shippers, logistics companies, and suppliers all being treated as equal partners.

A new integrated ocean freight program for pharmaceuticals aims at a new approach to pharma-logistics fulfillment.

The Posiedon project seeks to harness the collective knowledge of the supply chain to drive innovation, efficiencies, and safety and save money.

“It’s the difference between an outdated logistics chain that pillages profit and a new one that creates competitive advantage and adds value,” said Alan Kennedy one of the architects of the new model.

Kennedy pointed out that although the Poseidon partnering model is unique in pharma-logistics it is an approach that has been employed with great success in other industries. “The barriers to adopting this one-team approach are all in the minds of those who fail to see, or refuse to see, the clear benefits,” he explained. “Integrated supply chains are increasingly the norm in those industries that need better supply chain efficiency and agility in order to adapt to an environment of constant change, whether driven by competition, product life cycles, technical innovations, or disruptive forces.“

Poseidon takes the form of a strategic supply network comprising all the principal actors involved in transporting a pharma product by sea. Designed from the ground-up, it involves shippers, logistics companies and suppliers all being seated around the same table as equal partners. This up-front involvement of all the stakeholders helps create a sense of empowerment and a teamwork culture.

Poseidon’s Mark Edwards, responsible for operational aspects of the program, clarified the market that Poseidon is targeting. “Poseidon is aimed at any shipper of pharmaceuticals that wants to enter, or increase its presence in the ocean freight market,” he said. “By coming into the Poseidon program, a pharma company will get immediate access to the combined expertise and experience of some of the industry’s leading ocean freight practitioners. Add to this the fact that they will be proactively involved in the forward design and continuous improvement of the program and it becomes a unique opportunity.”

Kennedy reinforced these benefits saying that, for pharma shippers, Poseidon “should be a no-brainer.” He went on to say that shippers will gain enormously by moving from increasingly dysfunctional, transaction-oriented, supplier scenarios to ones in which seamless, high-performance teams work in unison towards win-win strategic goals. “Shippers that get directly involved in Poseidon will not only benefit from a best-value door-to-door ocean-freight service,” he said, “they will get priceless exposure to contemporary best supply-chain practice.”

According to Edwards, Poseidon will demystify sea freight and bring it within reach of pharma shippers of all sizes. “Poseidon will be offering a series of off-the-shelf, GDP-compliant, fully-insured, door-to-door sea freight solutions with both full-load and part-load options,” he said. “By essentially providing a one-stop-shop it allows shippers to focus their energies on working as part of the Poseidon team to continuously refine and streamline the service.”

The choice of Logistics and Supply Partners for the Poseidon program has been the most challenging part of setting up the program with each candidate party being subject to a rigorous pre-qualification and selection process. “Poseidon Partner organizations must not only be of the highest technical competence but must be committed to working in a collaborative environment, must be adaptable to change, and must be prepared to continuously challenge the status quo,” said Kennedy. “All network participants are aware of their interdependency and accept the fact that a failure of one is a failure of all.”

A Poseidon Partner Agreement governs the relationships between the parties and this allows them to work together as a single team with common rules, common goals and common standards. At the heart of the program is the Poseidon Management Group (PMG), a democratic body comprised of senior representatives from each of the participant organisations. This group is responsible for the strategic direction of the program. Alongside the PMG is a neutral company that manages the day-to-day and operational side of the initiative and provides a filter-and-sanitize function to facilitate the sharing of data, the consolidation of shipping loads and the sharing of assets. The Poseidon network is diverse and far flung. To accommodate this, it has introduced a cloud-based Collaboration Hub in order to facilitate long-distance communications, exchange ideas and information, share up-to-date documentation and manage projects.

The creation of Poseidon has required a degree of belief and faith amongst its founding partners. “Poseidon is not necessarily the most obvious route forward and it’s certainly not the easiest,” said Kennedy. “But it’s definitely the best simply because at a stroke it has the potential to eliminate many of the issues that persistently bedevil pharmaceutical logistics.”