Delivering blanket protection for temperature-sensitive shipments

This diversified global healthcare company manufactures and distributes a wide portfolio of products, including medical devices, biologics and pharmaceuticals.
The FedEx® thermal blanket solution has proven to be a reliable, cost-effective solution for keeping this global healthcare company's medical devices safe from extreme temperature fluctuations throughout the entire transportation process.

Falling out of range 

The company regularly transports multi-pallet shipments of highvalue, temperature-sensitive medical devices from a facility in Central Europe to its distribution center (DC) in Memphis, Tennessee. However, while these shipments must be maintained within a 2–25°C range during transport, the customer was experiencing temperature excursions as the pallets sat unprotected on the airport tarmac during extreme hot and cold weather conditions. These deviations, in some cases, reduced the efficacy of the
products or rendered them unusable. The company needed a cost-effective, reliable solution for alleviating these costly fluctuations.

Wrapping up the cargo

After investigating several different options, the customer ultimately chose the FedEx® thermal blanket solution, part of the FedEx Temp-Assure® portfolio that supports temperaturecontrolled shipments, to protect these high-value shipments from temperature excursions throughout the trans-Atlantic journey. This turnkey service includes reusable thermal blankets that shield the customer’s pallets of product from extreme temperatures and
weather conditions, including direct sunlight, rain and humidity. Because the solution is classified as an international tool of trade offered by FedEx, the customer does not incur any extra duties or taxes that are required with some freight forwarders.

As part of this end-to-end solution, FedEx not only provides the customer with an efficient way to alleviate temperature excursions but also includes more custodial control for these valuable shipments. Here’s how it works:

• FedEx Supply Chain and FedEx Trade Networks coordinate temperature-controlled trucks to pick up each shipment from the customer’s facility in Europe and transport them to the FedEx Express hub in Cologne, Germany.

• FedEx works to expedite the customs clearance process and eliminate any shipment delays during export from Europe.

• Once the vehicles arrive at the Cologne hub, the pallets are unloaded and wrapped in FedEx thermal blankets so that they’re protected from temperature excursions while they await loading onto the direct flight to Memphis.

• After the shipment is unloaded from the temperature-controlled Boeing 777 in Memphis, FedEx Express operations personnel remove each thermal blanket just before loading the pallets into awaiting temperature-controlled vehicles for final delivery to the customer’s DC.

Throughout the journey, the dedicated FedEx Thermal Blanket team continuously monitors each shipment — 24/7/365. The FedEx Thermal Blanket monitoring team updates the customer on each shipment’s progress at every touch point, including when the shipment is picked up in Europe, when it arrives at the FedEx Cologne hub, when the FedEx Express plane departs Cologne, when the shipment lands in Memphis, when it departs for final delivery and when the final delivery has been completed.

The FedEx Thermal Blanket team also immediately notifies the customer of any shipment risks or delays and executes customized intervention and recovery procedures when necessary to ensure that each shipment stays within the desired range.

Sustaining a steady temperature

Since implementing the FedEx thermal blanket solution, the customer has succeeded in maintaining temperature stability and eliminating costly temperature excursions for these high-value medical shipments — from pickup through final delivery. With the comprehensive FedEx thermal blanket solution, the company also receives a heightened level of custodial control and visibility. FedEx coordinates all of the logistics and offers the customer flexibility in accommodating “rush” shipments and multiple sizes of pallets (with a four-pallet minimum).