Happy Holidays, this is Dr. Eugenia Jones, signing in to the technology marketing center leader’s blog, to bring you insights and inquiries into the biotechnology and healthcare markets. It’s that time of year when branded boxes, some embossed with smiles, appear at my doorstep with greater frequency, and are deposited there by people who arrive in vans, equally branded. Every time I see those deliveries these days I watch, waiting to see if my deliveries suffer some of the same traumas many of us have witnessed in videos posted on YouTube.
It is also strategy time, when we review last year’s plans, measure them against our short-term gains, and craft next years game plan. So in the spirit of the holiday, and because I have an odd fascination with details, I pitched adding a new differentiator to our whole product offering- logistics. Here’s why.
When you manufacture a perishable FDA regulated product it’s imperative that product arrives on time, and under the right conditions. That is to say undamaged and at the right temperature. After all you wouldn’t want your DNA test contaminated by whatever is on the bottom of an irate delivery drivers boot. Nor do you want it to have thawed in transit. And the product needs to arrive when you tell the customer it will arrive. This is particularly important because as the seller of FDA-regulated tests you are shipping to users, clinical laboratories, that hold a small stock of a competitors product on-hand because their SOPs absolutely require them to have access to products from more than one vendor. This is why excellent logistics are key to maintaining current customers, and can be the differentiator that moves you from the back-up provider to the primary provider when your competitor’s logistics fail.
The problem is we all use the same shipping companies so how can you differentiate based on logistics. The answer lies not so much in who you chose to physically move the package from place A to place B, because that sort of differentiation can be readily matched. For us the key to logistics differentiation lies in clever packaging. Packaging whose designs can be patent and/or trade dress protected making it much more difficult for our competitors to mimic. Designing packaging that reduces waste, increases security, provides greater crush and temperature protection, and clearly indicates to the recipient if there has been a breach in temperature or packing integrity, goes a long way to providing a superior whole product offering. So how are packing and logistics related- a shipper that is harder to break and that maintains the desired temperature well past average transit times increases they probability your products will arrive in useable condition. So when the inevitable shipping mishaps occur to your products in transit, be they due to sudden impacts, or falls from great heights or weather delays due to fog, your customer will be unaffected, and that is your logistics differentiator. Sometimes the wrapping and the box are just as important to your customer as they are to a two-year old on Christmas morning.
Best wishes for a fun and fruitful strategy-planning season.