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The life science industry has changed. Companies are sending more parcels than ever before, to more places than ever before. Along with that, an increasing number of products require special handling or cold-chain storage. Because of this, life science companies turn to technology to assist with streamlining their parcel delivery process. In the latest Precision Report we look at the challenges of life science shipping and 8 critical questions life science shippers need to ask before choosing a parcel shipping solution.

Life Science Shipping Challenges

Shipping medicines, biologics and other life science products is a complex process. Each shipment must comply with a number of regulatory and handling requirements. Life science companies — and universities who ship research samples — face a number of shipping challenges. Let’s have a look at these.


Increased regulation has two effects on life sciences shipping. Firstly, life science companies must comply with track and trace requirements, and must use cold-chain storage for certain types of materials. They must also be able to document the contents of each shipment as well as document trading partners and the like. These factors drive up costs. The second effect is that —  in some cases — regulations limit pricing structures in certain markets. Both of these challenges squeeze margins for life sciences companies.


During the last recession, emerging markets lead much of the growth for life sciences companies. This is because countries like Brazil, China, India and Mexico increased healthcare spending as a percentage of their overall economies. Shipping to these countries presents different challenges to shipping to established markets such as the US, Canada and Europe.


Life sciences products are changing, which in turn means their shipping requirements are changing too. There has long been a need for cold-chain storage for vaccines, blood, tissue samples and so forth. However, new specialties like biotechnology means that cold-chain refrigeration is required for more finished products. These include biologically based medicines, research and clinical trial materials, drug coated implants and more.


Home health care is a growing market for life sciences products because of aging populations in established markets. Many shipments are now going directly to price- and time-sensitive patients, rather than through traditional distribution channels. As a result, higher volumes of smaller shipments are going to more places than ever before. This has increased the need for accurate documentation and better visibility into specialized handling.

Eight Critical Questions Life Science Shippers Need to Ask

Life sciences shipping has begun to move away from traditional distribution methods. This means many life sciences firms have a critical need for parcel shipping software. There are 8 critical questions life science shippers need to ask before choosing a parcel shipping solution.

  1. Does your parcel shipping software offer access to a global carrier network?

  2. Does your software provide visibility into handling capabilities of carriers?

  3. Can your software handle the documentation and other requirements related to handling of hazardous, dangerous or infectious substances?

  4. Can your logistics software handle these requirements?

  5. Does your global parcel shipping software offer access to specialist carriers?

  6. Does your global parcel shipping software enable compliance screening?

  7. Can your software perform controlled partner screenings?

  8. Does your software handle controlled substance checks?


As the life sciences industry becomes more global, ensuring that your trading partners are authorized to receive shipments is critical. Life science products may contain controlled substances or chemical compounds. Therefore, shippers must take special care to ensure that these shipments are not sent to unauthorized locations.

In addition to compliance checks, before any package goes out the door, you must ensure it includes the correct documentation. When you send sensitive substances additional labeling and documentation is necessary to ensure proper handling all the way to the shipment’s destination. Once the parcel has gone, you need post-dock visibility to track your shipments. Life science companies must ensure that parcels are shipped quickly, handled properly and delivered on-time.

The life sciences industry depends on a complex network of carriers who can provide specialized service, such as same day delivery and specialist hospital delivery services. Life science companies benefit from access to a global multi-carrier network with access to carriers with these capabilities — wherever they ship.

To simplify their parcel shipping, life science companies need a solution that offers all these capabilities. An ideal solution is one that integrates compliance, documentation, multi carrier shipping options and tracking. While it is possible to use different systems for each of these, this results in fragmented shipping data. It also means the need to rekey information into different systems. This is a drain on time, and can lead to keystroke errors or critical omissions.

About Precision Software – Trusted Global Trade And Transportation Execution

Precision Software, a division of QAD Inc., provides industry-leading global trade management, transportation execution and multi carrier shipping software solutions from a single, integrated platform. Preeminent industry leaders in every region of the world rely on Precision’s global support centers to leverage thousands of carriers and manage millions of shipping transactions every day. Our open architecture easily integrates with Enterprise Resource Planning, Warehouse Management Systems and legacy solutions. An ISO-certified company, Precision Software assists companies to minimize shipping costs, optimize first mile and last mile deliveries, automate free trade agreement compliance, avoid customs delays and mitigate the risks associated with dynamic trading environments to maximize their competitive advantage. Precision Software’s customers span multiple industries including banking and finance, life sciences, high technology, retail, industrial, automotive, higher education and public sector as well as logistics providers. For more information about Precision Software, visit www.precisionsoftware.com.

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