Author: Amy Shortman

ASC to speak at Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport Conference 2019


ASC’s Amy Shortman will be sharing insights of how the logistics industry is adapting to Artificial Intelligence and her thoughts on the future.

The theme of this year’s conference will be “Artificial Intelligence in Supply Chain” held at Queen Anne Court, University of Greenwich, London, UK on Wednesday 20th February 2019. Save the date for now and more information on the programme will be communicated soon. To register click here

CILT have a wide-ranging panel of experts on the topic of AI with the aim to create networking opportunities with transport and logistics professionals for students, with discussions enabled during the event and at the various interactive breaks.



WCA & ASC Associates Form Strategic Partnership

12 Oct, 2018

To enhance WCA Pharma’s commitment to GDP compliance

For Immediate Release

BANGKOK, October 12, 2018 – WCA and ASC Associates Ltd are pleased to announce a strategic partnership designed to enhance WCA’s continuing commitment for compliance and logistical innovation in the Pharmaceutical sector. WCA Pharma selected ASC’s bespoke for its 1-day GDP training course for their Pharma GDP Training held at the World Specialty Logistics Fair in Bangkok, Thailand.

ASC’s suite of training includes Good Distribution Practices for Medicinal Products, which has been designed for the logistics industry to enhance compliance within the supply chain. Working in partnership, ASC will offer their expertise in Good Distribution Practices and Supply Chain security to WCA members.

“We have big plans for a close collaboration across several networks, even looking at creating a WCA Academy in the near future,” said Adam Mckenna, General Manager of WCA Pharma. “It’s clear that there is value in what we’re doing. Each time we host a training session, space is filled weeks in advance and our members achieve impressive high scores.”

Amy Shortman, Chief Executive Officer of ASC stated. “We are delighted to have been selected by WCA to offer our services and suite of training to their members. Over the coming months we hope to expand services and training to include courses such as: Anti-bribery and Corruption, Supply Chain Security, Risk Assessments”

WCA is especially grateful to ASC for helping host such a successful session.
“The numbers speak for themselves,” said Mckenna. “With 42 participants and a 100 percent success rate, we’re ensuring that our members are ready and able to handle this business above other forwarders who may not have planned in advance.”

About WCA Pharma:
WCA Pharma is a specialty logistics group under WCA, Ltd and is the world’s leading pharmaceutical logistics network of independent forwarders operating to the highest GDP standards. WCA Pharma members have the experience, know-how and expertise to handle pharmaceutical products, from clinical trials, APIs healthcare (Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients), plasma, to bio pharma, and controlled drugs.

About ASC:
Established in 2011 in the UK, ASC works globally with all key supply chain stakeholders to achieve excellence with a relentless focus on innovation, security, safety, compliance and efficacy.

For further details, please contact:
WCA: /
ASC: /

ASC support partners Virgin Atlantic Cargo in successfully obtaining WDA licence from the MHRA

ASC have been working with Virgin Atlantic Cargo for many years on a variety of different projects. The latest of these projects focused on assisting Virgin Atlantic Cargo to gain their WDA license for the London operations, which would enable them to offer their customers a GDP compliant service. Our work with Virgin Atlantic Cargo began in June 2016, and we are pleased to announce that they gained their WDA license in April 2018.

The support of senior management is critical for the successful outcome of any project, but particularly one that involves quality. ASC were privileged to work with a strong project team, led by Virgin’s Darren Sherlock, and we offer our congratulations to them.

“ASC have been instrumental in our growth into the healthcare market, which was recently punctuated with us achieving our WDA certification in the UK. From the initial gap analysis, developing SOPs, and input developing our quality management system, right through to the delivery of training and getting us ready for our final audit; their knowledge and expertise has ensured that we’ve executed each phase of the project successfully. We plan to continue to work with ASC as we further develop, and I’ve every confidence that with their guidance, Virgin Cargo will go from strength to strength in this area.”
Darren Sherlock – Manager, Products and Partnerships | Virgin Atlantic Cargo


Gaining a WDA license requires extensive auditing and compliance, which is where ASC were able to offer advice and support. The first stage involved conducting the ‘ASC GDP Health Check’ on Virgin’s cargo operation and that of their Ground Handling Agents at London Heathrow, the Virgin Atlantic Cargo Hub, and Manchester. This was a thorough audit against EU Good Distribution Practice (GDP) Guidelines and Supply Chain Security. Virgin then took the findings and conducted a CAPA plan to close the non-compliances.

We supported Virgin throughout this process using regular project meetings to ensure momentum was maintained. As part of the project, ASC has trained 80 key personnel on our bespoke certified (GDP) training course, which is designed for logisticians by logisticians. Whilst many other GDP courses focus on wholesale activities, we have developed a course that demonstrates how GDP is applicable in pharmaceutical logistics.

Changing an airline environment into a facility that is operating to the same standards as a Wholesaler of Medicinal Products is a challenge. But Virgin Atlantic Cargo were dedicated to achieving these high standards, enabling them to demonstrate their on-going continuous improvements in quality. By mid-April 2018 the Virgin operation was audited by the MHRA and after a successful audit they received their WDA


Virgin Atlantic are a global airline who were recently voted the 5th best airline in the world.  Virgin Atlantic Cargo is the subsidiary responsible for the cargo and freight operation of the airline. Founded in 1984, it has been providing award winning services to their customers ever since.

Virgin Atlantic Cargo support the Life Science and pharmaceutical industry by offering a range of solutions for time and temperature sensitive products. Internationally accepted GDP guidelines play a key role in assuring transport and distribution of medicinal products for human use does not adversely impact product quality and integrity. The GDP guidelines focus on well-established pharmaceutical working procedures, and continuously improving distribution and handling expertise.

In the UK the MHRA requires companies hold a wholesale dealer license – or wholesale distribution authorisation (WDA) – when providing short-term storage for refrigerated items. In August 2014, the Medicine and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) published the document Short- Term Storage of Ambient and Refrigerated Medicinal Product – Requirements for a WDA, which stated the following:

  • Sites holding ambient products in excess of 36 hours must be licensed
  • Sites where refrigerated products are held, even when this is for less than 36 hours, must be licensed (2)

Having these management systems in place gives the customers the confidence that the company have the controls in place to provide continuity, good quality and service.


The WDA is a recognized global quality standard and plays a critical role in assuring transport and distribution of medicinal products for human use does not adversely impact product quality and integrity.

The license provides proof that the Virgin Atlantic operations are “fit for purpose” at their own and at their partners’ facilities.  It also provides evidence that they are operating within a GDP compliant network.

Their customers can be assured that their shipments will be handled in a fully compliant manner.


The journey has only just begun for Virgin Atlantic Cargo. Regulations are updated, technology advances, and needs evolve, so remaining compliant will require Virgin Atlantic Cargo to remain up-to-date with the latest regulations. ASC will continue to provide advice and support to help Virgin Atlantic Cargo be the best and remain compliant moving forward.


ASC is distinctive. In the pharmaceutical and healthcare worlds – where external threats to business and intellectual property are ever-increasing, we go above and beyond – dedicated to improving all aspects of supply chain logistics. Established in 2011 we have supported all the major stakeholders within the supply chain on GDP and Supply Chain Security.

With a relentless focus on innovation, security, safety, compliance and efficacy, we take extraordinary care with attention to detail. We advise. We assess. We train. We plan. We audit. We scope. We inspect. We implement. In person.

We’re there at the beginning of your journey, ever-present throughout, and with you at the end. And all along, we’re an experienced and knowledgeable partner, supporting your business to enable you to deliver on your own promises.

If you would like to have a chat about your requirements give us a shout. We’d love to hear from you. 

ASC speaking at 8th Annual Conference Temperature Controlled Logistics in Frankfurt

ASC’s Tom Cochrane to Chair Day 1 and is giving the Keynote speech.

Tom will be sharing his 37 years of experience within the industry by giving the Keynote speech on ‘An Approach to Global Supply Chain Security in Today’s Pharma Industry’.  Tom will cover the following topics:

  • Identifying the risks in the supply chain
  • Designing and implementing a security management system
  • reviewing some examples
  • Sharing best practice

This event will be held at The Steinburger, Frankfurt am Main, Germany on the 17th & 18th May 2018.

Some other topics covered within this conference will be:

  • Explore applications of block chain, temperature monitoring and more. Embrace the globalization of distribution efficiently and safely
  • Building a safe and effective global distribution network
  • Shipping rout verification and cost optimisation
  • Value of smart packaging
  • Digitization of supply chain

We look forward to participating in this event organised by Fleming,  and hearing updates from the industry by an esteemed list of speakers.


The first PCSC annual conference under the HDA

2018 HDA PCSC Educational Seminar

May 15 to 17, 2018 | Novartis Corporate Headquarters, East Hanover, N.J.USA
Last year I attended this event and was incredibly impressed. Having been to many conferences over the years I feel its rare nowadays to attend an event and leave feeling that you have been educated. The topics selected feel fresh and with a wide and diverse range of speakers, its lends itself to feel like a succession of brilliant college lectures. This is time well spent and if you were to attend one event this year, this should be it.
In 2017, PCSC became a service offering of the Healthcare Distribution Alliance (HDA), the national organization representing primary pharmaceutical distributors. HDA members are the vital link between the nation’s pharmaceutical manufacturers and more than 200,000 pharmacies, hospitals, long-term care facilities, clinics and others nationwide.
Please find some further information below on this years event and I hope to see you there:

The HDA Pharmaceutical Cargo Security Coalition (PCSC) Educational Seminar brings together those within healthcare, as well as many other industries, that ship and store sensitive, high-risk/high-value products — anywhere in the world. Held annually since 2006, this supply chain security educational event provides interactive instruction, with both indoor and outdoor activities, as well as case-study discussions and “table-top” simulation exercises. Attendees are introduced to government law enforcement and regulatory personnel (and vice-versa) to enhance knowledge of supply chain security best practices.

Seminar topics will include:

  • The technology surrounding shipment monitoring/tracking;
  • The sharing of supply chain security intelligence;
  • A table-top simulated cargo theft exercise;
  • Cyber supply chain security; and,
  • Familiarization with like or similar industry supporting associations.

Target Audience

This seminar is designed for industry professionals (within or outside healthcare) that ship and store sensitive, high-risk/high-value products — anywhere in the world. Also encouraged to attend are those that support shipping and warehousing operations, such as ground/air/sea/rail transportation entities; third-party logistics providers; freight-forwarders; customs brokers; insurers; and federal, state and local law enforcement; and regulatory agencies.

HDA’s PCSC welcomes Henry Moran as Advisory Board Member

We are delighted to announce that Henry Moran, our COO has been invited to join the prestigious HDA PCSC’s Advisory Board.

The Pharmaceutical Cargo Security Coalition (PCSC) offers supply chain security intelligence; access to contacts from industry, government and vendor trade disciplines; physical and supply chain security assessments; a reference library of supply chain security publications, articles and related documents; as well as opportunities to attend educational events. Primarily (but not exclusively) focused on the pharmaceutical industry, PCSC provides useful insights for anyone interested in supply chain security.

In 2017, PCSC became a service offering of the Healthcare Distribution Alliance (HDA), the national organization representing primary pharmaceutical distributors. HDA members are the vital link between the nation’s pharmaceutical manufacturers and more than 200,000 pharmacies, hospitals, long-term care facilities, clinics and others nationwide. Learn more about HDA at

Pharma Logistics: Up in the Air or in Deep Water?

Last month our CEO, Amy had a chat with James Strachan from The Medicine Maker on the popular topic of modal shift. Amy expressed her thoughts and opinions why both modes are very relevant, however their future success is dependant upon embracing current demands in innovation and compliance. Please click here to read the complete article.

Pharmaceutical outsourcing, pharma logistics, logistics



On the 26th February our ASC Associate, Tom Cochrane will be presenting on ‘An Approach to Global Supply Chain Security in Today’s Pharma Industry’ at the Pharma Outsourcing & Partnerships 2018 Europe He will be sharing his 35 year industry experience on the following:

●  Identifying the risks in the supply chain

●  Designing and implementing a security management system

●  Reviewing some examples

●  Sharing best practice

The two-day Pharma Outsourcing & Partnership Global Congress 2018 Europe will provide a unique platform for the convergence of stakeholders in the industry to interact, discuss and network with top tier government, hospitals, pharmaceuticals, biopharmaceuticals and non-profit organizations as well as regional and local service providers to discuss and share on the outsourcing and partnership strategies, challenges and opportunities, global collaboration and the future of pharma outsourcing and partnership.

Let us know if you are also attending? We hope to see you there.

ASC The Story of our Brand

The Story of Our Brand

From Humble Beginnings

Sitting at my kitchen table on a sunny May morning in 2011, ASC was born. I had a client who wanted me to do a project, and after a break from the corporate world to raise my three children it felt good to be back. But first, I needed to register my business and took all of three seconds to consider a name. My name was Amy Shortman and so Amy Shortman Consulting it would be. My mind was solely on the project, not developing a business or brand.

My haste did not stop there. I knew I needed a logo, but instead of considering my options I simply went with a “friend of a friend”. I had been working with my children’s preschool to raise funds for a vegetable patch, and the logo for that had been designed by the sister of one of the other mums.  I must admit that I lucked out here, as Rosie was actually very good and the ASC pill logo was created. And for many years, it served me well.

ASC Original Logo


An Image Speaks a Thousand Words

However, it didn’t take long before that initial project was followed by a second, and a third, and soon I found myself eager to expand. ASC has grown over the past 6 years in ways I could never have imagined when I first registered my company, and we now have several associates working on a much wider range of services. And as time went on I became increasingly aware of just how ineffective our branding was.

At a conference in 2015, I found myself looking at our logo on the list of presenters and I knew that something had to change. Sitting alongside the likes of Amgen and GSK it looked weak. It was also leading to confusion over what we actually do – people thought we were a logistics company, rather than independent experts who work with all major stakeholders within the Healthcare and Pharmaceutical Logistics Industry. This meant that we were missing out on potential contracts, simply because our logo wasn’t right.

This was quite a revelation to me. ASC was established because of my existing reputation within the industry, which had led to that very first project. And for a while that same reputation helped me to build the company into what it is today. However, those who didn’t know me or my associates personally had no idea of our area of expertise, or the highly dedicated service we provide as we become an “extension of the team”.

The Rebranding Process

One of the great things about being a small company is that the decision making process isn’t overly complicated. I decided we needed to venture down the path into the world of “Rebranding”, and so we did. I wanted a brand that immediately reflected what we do, how we do it, and also why we do it. Explaining pharmaceutical logistics, Good Distribution Practice, and supply chain security is never an easy task – we are passionate about our industry but mention the word “compliance” at a party and most people head for the door. Over the years I have developed a way of making it more relevant and relatable to others by explaining the impact poor temperature control or counterfeit drugs can have on the products they have in their own medicine cabinet. And it is that kind of relatability that we wanted our new brand to convey.

So it was an absolute pleasure to work with Stuart and the team at We Launch, who are as passionate about branding as we are about compliance. Our first visit to We Launch took place on a dull January day, where we found ourselves welcomed into a light office that oozed being cool with a hint of hipster. Stuart and his team listened to our vision and assessed our competitors, whilst watching carefully to see how we spoke about our company. They were comparing us to our current brand and then introduced us to a whole new world of “Hero Imagery’ and “Visual Language”. It all seemed exciting and alien to me. Was this too much for my company? Did Stuart truly understand what we do?

A few weeks later we found ourselves back again, where Stuart presented 4 amazing and unique options that nailed precisely who we are and what we do. I was impressed at the skill to see us clearer than we see ourselves. It reminded me that taking time out to reflect and improve is so important. In a small business you often find yourself wearing many hats – finance, sales, book-keeping – and there is little time for the collaborative thinking and strategy that larger companies can afford to spend time and resources on. And it is often tempting to believe that you can do it all, that you don’t need to invest in the finer details of branding and communications. I know I felt that way for a long time.

But at ASC, we are reliant upon companies outsourcing to us, utilising our expertise to improve their business rather than trying to do it all themselves. Sometimes you need to look at the bigger picture and realise that a small investment now will reap much larger rewards further down the line. We took a dose of our own medicine and decided to outsource our branding project to We Launch and couldn’t be happier with the results.  We have a logo and brand that define who we are right now, but that has enough flexibility to grow as we do. And the whole experience has made us look carefully at our services and how we communicate this to the world, providing us with a greater vision for the future.

Revealing the New Look

Once we had the branding materials from We Launch, we started on the mammoth task of integrating it into all of our literature and online presence. We officially launched our new website at the beginning of the new financial year and revealed the entire brand at the PCSC Conference in Newark, USA on 10th April.

Attending the conference with a brand which truly represents who we are and what we do was a wonderful feeling. Everything from our business cards to our PowerPoint presentation and video (see above) expressed the same key message – that we take compliance seriously and we want to help others navigate and succeed in an increasingly compliant industry. And this message was well-received by those at the conference:

“At the 2017 PCSC Educational Conference, ASC Associates Ltd. made a timely and important presentation, as well as publicly launched their new brand – both of which were quite well received. The new brand distinctly reflects the critical importance of supply chain integrity – where the three highlighted topics merge, to form the basis of ASC’s mission statement and commitment to their customer base.”  

Chuck Forsaith | Chairman | PCSC