May 17, 2020

Team Up and integrated pharma logistics supply chain culture

pharma logistics
pharma supply chain
Supply Chain
integrated network
Dale Benton
4 min
Team Up and integrated pharma logistics supply chain culture
A major pharm-logistics initiative has been founded and launched in a bid to improve the efficiency and integration of global pharma logistics supply ch...

A major pharm-logistics initiative has been founded and launched in a bid to improve the efficiency and integration of global pharma logistics supply chain.

Team-Up, announced at the IATA AirPharma Conference in Brussels 2016, is an industry driver programme to bring real collaborative working to the pharmaceutical logistics sector.

Here’s what you need to know about Team Up:

Collaboration is key

Team-Up has been established by a cross-section of sector leaders with the main aim of meeting the supply chain challenges posed by today’s rapidly changing market conditions. One way of tackling these challenges is through collaboration across the entire supply chain.

This is where Team-Up comes in.

“TEAM-UP will not only identify and explain the general principles and protocols of collaborative working, it will provide flexible guidance on how these principles can be interpreted and applied in a pharma-logistics context”

There’s value in productivity

Productivity and cost reductions are two major talking points in any industry, particularly the pharma supply chain and logistics industry. It is said that major companies across the $1 trillion industry are spending close to £10bn per year on cold logistics alone.  Team-Up lays out the differences between an integrated network when compared to a traditional supply chain.

Better visibility in end-to-end supply chain, an increase in information transparency, a risk sharing corporate culture, a better more formal risk/change management approach and a philosophy for continuous development are all identified in Team Up’s prospectus as key advantages of an integrated network.

Collaborative goals start with Team-Up

In striving for a more collaborative supply chain, particularly amongst stakeholder sin the pharma and bio-pharma logistics sectors, Team-Up has outlined four main goals:

  1. Realigning the corporate culture of pharma-logistics to better support integrated working
  2. Sharing collaborative best practice and providing the industry with practical advice and tools in order to standardise partnering methodologies and facilitate the assembly of integrated supply networks
  3. Providing shippers and logistics providers with a recognised accreditation status for exemplary collaborative working and to promote these credentials to all sector stakeholders
  4. Strengthening the business case for integrated supply networks by building an evidence-base from pilot programmes and other evaluations

You’re Accreditation to the industry

Team-Up has developed a charter that defines the accreditation as a recognition of outstanding collaborative direction and adherence to established cultural and behavioural standards. The aim of the accreditation is to create a standardised performance measure that can allow peers to recognise an organisation’s commitment, ability and capacity for integrated working.

For a supplier, it’s a sign of a particular shipper using Team Up accredited partners. Not only that, a shipper will use Team Up’s credentials as a necessary or preferred, pre-qualification condition when selection and short listing suppliers.

The power is in the hands of the shippers. And logistics partners.

For Team Up to fully reform the pharma-logistics supply chain culture, it’s going to take the input and dedication from the pharma shipper. For the pharma shipper, it is paramount that it uses its expertise, coercive influence and buying power to promote, facilitate and enable supply chain integration. In essence, by using its unique customer status to exercise sound leadership over its supply chain partners, a shipper holds the key to the doorway to better distribution, cost control, compliancy, safety, visibility and risk control.

Where do we go from here?

Team Up isn’t here to say that integrated working across the pharma logistics industry is non existant, rather it is addressing that the current trend of integrated approach tends to be proprietary in nature, asymmetric in execution, limited in scope and often not much more than lip service in reality.

Shippers are dependent on the knowledge and performance of their logistics partners to maintain the integrity of their sensitive, high-value products. By working in a TEAM-UP climate of collaboration and transparency both shippers and suppliers can open the door to better business, more constructive relationships, clear market differentiation and real competitive advantage.

Don’t just take our word for it….

TEAM-UP founder Alan Kennedy stressed the urgent need for greater integration of the pharma-logistics supply chain: "With the huge challenges it is facing, the pharmaceutical logistics sector faces a very uncertain future unless it is prepared to abandon its traditional silo thinking and practices in favour of a more collaborative approach. The advent of the TEAM-UP integration framework will help accelerate the changes needed and open the doors to faster, more equitable, more systematic supply chain integration. There is no longer any excuse for inertia."

The TEAM-UP programme is scheduled to go live in January 2017 but interested parties are invited to find out more now by downloading the TEAM-UP Prospectus from


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Jun 8, 2021

DHL Claim Multi-Sector Collaboration Key to Fighting COVID

3 min
Global logistics leader DHL’s new white paper highlights what supply chain professionals have learned one year into the pandemic

Since January, global logistics leader DHL has distributed more than 200 million doses of the COVID vaccine to 120+ countries around the globe. While the US and UK recently rolled out immunisation plans to most citizens, countries with less developed infrastructure still desperately need more doses. In the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which currently has one of the highest per-capita immunisation rates, the government set up storage facilities to cover domestic and international demand. But storage, as we’ve learned, is little help if you can’t transport the goods.


This is where logistics leaders such as DHL make their impact. The company built over 50 new partnerships, bilateral and multilateral, to collaborate with pharmaceutical and private sector firms. With more than 350 DHL centres pressed into service, the group operated 9,000+ flights to ship the vaccine where it needed to go. 


Public-Private Partnerships

With new pandemic knowledge, DHL just released its “Revisiting Pandemic Resilience” white paper, which examined the role of logistics and supply chain companies in handling COVID-19. As Thomas Ellman, Head of Clinical Trials Logistics at DHL, said: “The past one year has highlighted the importance of logistics and supply chain management to manage the pandemic, ensure business continuity and protect public health. It has also shown us that together we are stronger”. 


Multisector partnerships, DHL said, enabled rapid, effective vaccine distribution. While international scientists developed a vaccine in record time—five times faster than any other vaccine in history—manufacturers ramped up production and logistics teams rolled out distribution three times faster than expected. When commercial routes faced backups, logistics operators worked with military officers to transport vaccines via helicopters and boats. 


In the UAE, the public-private HOPE Consortium distributed billions of COVID-19 doses to its civilians as well as other countries in need by partnering with commercial organisations such as DHL. For the first time, apropo for an unprecedented pandemic, logistics companies made strong connections with public health and government.


“While the race against the virus continues, leveraging the power of such collaborations and data analytics will be key”, said Katja Busch, Chief Commercial Officer DHL and Head of DHL Customer Solutions & Innovation. “We need to remain prepared for high patient and vaccine volumes, maintain logistics infrastructure and capacity, while planning for seasonal fluctuations by providing a stable and well-equipped platform for the years to come”. 


How Do We Sustain Immunisation? 

By the end of 2021, experts estimate that we need approximately 10 billion doses of vaccines—many of which will be shipped to areas of the world, such as India, South Africa, and Brazil, that lack significant infrastructure. This is perhaps the greatest divide between countries that have rolled out successful immunisation programmes and those that have not. As Busch noted, “the UAE’s significant investments in creating robust air, sea, and land infrastructure facilitated logistics and vaccine distribution, helping us keep supply chains resilient”. 


Neither is the novel coronavirus a one-time affair. If predictions hold, COVID will be similar to seasonal colds or the flu: here to stay. When fall comes around each year, governments will need to vaccinate the world as quickly as possible to ensure long-term immunisation against the virus. This time, logistics companies must be better prepared. 

Yet global immunisation, year after year, is no small order. To keep reinfection rates low and slow the spread of COVID, governments will likely need 7-9 billion annual doses of the vaccine to meet that mark. And if DHL’s white paper is any judge of success, multi-sector supply chain partnerships will set the gold standard.

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