Tag: Supply Chain Security

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 www.hda.org.

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.

Outsourcing Supply Chain Security

Outsourcing Article published in PMPS May Edition

Earlier this year we wrote an article on outsourcing for the May edition of the Pharmaceutical Manufacturing and Packing Sourcer (PMPS) magazine. This is something that we are very passionate about, as we believe that outsourcing in key areas such as compliance can significantly reduce costs whilst increasing the efficiency and integrity of the entire supply chain.

ASC Outsourcing Article in PMPS magazine May 2017
You can read a copy of the full article here, which is taken from Pharmaceutical Manufacturing and Packing Sourcer May 2017, pages 19 – 23. © Samedan Ltd

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

ASC Presentation at PCSC Conference 2017 GDP and Supply Chain Security

Thoughts on the PCSC Conference 2017

Well what can I say? Another year passes and another PCSC conference delivers (again). Honestly, this educational conference gets better and better every time. The PCSC is a non-profit organisation made up of all the stakeholders in the Pharmaceutical Supply Chain. Its key goal is preventing theft of pharmaceuticals product whilst in transit.

This year’s conference was hosted by Novartis at their beautiful East Hanover site, New Jersey, and was chaired by PCSC Chairman and industry guru Chuck Forsaith. Chuck put together a stellar programme of presentations that encapsulated why this event is so well respected within the industry. With over 300 professionals in attendance, this event excels over and above any other is its open, honest and challenging discussion.

The standards were high with regards to presenters, however there are no titles on name badges, and there’s absolutely no “speaker” hierarchy; at this conference everyone’s knowledge and experience is valued equally. The warmth and openness that Chuck himself portrays was evident in those he selected to share information, and the strict codes of conduct that prohibit solicitation or selling meant that everyone felt at ease.

The focus of the entire event is on sharing insight and expertise, and we had passionate presentations from all four corners of the globe, with a strong theme of the public/private partnership joining forces to reduce theft within the Pharmaceutical Industry.

ASC Presentation at PCSC Conference 2017 GDP and Supply Chain Security Case Study

ASC were privileged to be asked to present at the conference, and our presentation was warmly received. We highlighted the similarities between GDP and Supply Chain Security, providing insight into how the EU, America, and the rest of the world implement GDP and security practices. Amy Shortman, CEO of ASC says:

“the focus within the US is predominately within Supply Chain Security, whereas the EU has been focusing on Temperature. Both of these are covered within GDP, and so creating a global standard that includes all aspects required to keep products safe and effective is important”.

A shout out must go to Chuck and Carmen who organise, administer, and execute the event without even breaking a sweat! We’re already looking forward to 2018….

Silica Vaccines Cool Chain

How silica could change the way we ship vaccines

Earlier this week, Bath University announced the results of research into ensilication, a process which involves encasing a protein in silica, which could have far-reaching effects on the transport of vaccines.

The research, which was carried out by teams at both Bath University and Newcastle University, found that vaccines treated in this way could be heated to 100°C or stored at 22°C for at least six months without loss of function.

Currently, vaccines have to be transported using cool-chain logistics, because a small change in temperature can render them useless. Despite advances in both technology and regulation aimed at making cool chain management more reliable, millions of doses are still lost each year.

The researchers trialled ensilication with three different proteins – one from a tetanus vaccine, horse haemoglobin, and an enzyme from egg white, all with great success. It is hoped that this technology could be expanded to other biopharmaceuticals, such as antibodies, anti-virals, and anti-venom drugs.

Such advances in technology are changing the shape of logistics at an increasing rate, and it fascinating to watch how the numerous challenges faced by the healthcare and life-science logistics industry are gradually being reduced. However it is important to remember that the challenges we face are both numerous and varied – temperature regulation is only one part of the puzzle.

Pharmaceutical cargo is often the target of both thieves and those who deal in counterfeit drugs, and so Supply Chain Security must remain a high priority. For instance, in 2009, a truck carrying vaccines in Wisconsin, US, was reportedly left unattended with the engine running at a delivery point. The truck was stolen and later abandoned, with the cargo seemingly untouched, however the vaccines had to be returned to the manufacturer as a precautionary measure.

Technology cannot prevent user error, and so we must always remain aware of best practice at every stage of the supply chain. However it is exciting to see such promising technological advances being made, and we shall be watching for further news on this research to see how it develops.


PCSC Annual Education Summit 2017

ASC to Present at PCSC Annual Education Summit 2017

In just a few short days, our CEO Amy Shortman and COO Henry Moran will be heading to the US ready for the PCSC Annual Education Summit 2017. This event, which brings together some of the world’s leading experts in supply chain security, is being held in New Jersey on 11th – 13th April, and has a specific focus on Pharmaceutical Logistics.

Amy and Henry will be presenting a session on Good Distribution Practice (GDP) and supply chain security on the second day of the summit, sharing their specialist knowledge in these areas and advice on potential benefits of combining GDP with (SVA) Supply Chain Vulnerability Assessments. Our video, created last year to offer an introduction to the importance of GDP, will also be shown at the conference.

If you’re heading to the PCSC Conference as well, do get in touch with us either via the comments below or on Twitter, so that we know to look out for you there.

If you want to know more about the Pharmaceutical Cargo Security Coalition (PCSC), which has organised the Annual Education Summit, you can do so here.

Plane Over Docklands

Feedback from the IQPC Temperature Controlled Logistics Conference 2017

ASC were delighted to be part of this year’s IQPC Temperature Controlled Logistics Conference 2017. Hosted for the first time in London, the stage was set within the historic London dockland at ExCel. Our CEO Amy Shortman was honoured to be Chairwoman for the conference, saying, “IQPC believe that this is the first time this conference has been Chaired by a woman and I am thrilled to take part”.

Amy’s opening remarks as Chairwoman drew parallels between the Historic Docklands and the challenges we find ourselves dealing with today. The Docklands, which were once a major part of the supply chain, are no longer used since containerized sea freight needs larger vessels and in turn deep sea docks.  Similar changes in the way we handle freight can be seen today, with greater regulatory pressure creating more complex supply chains and sensitive products increasing the need for greater emphasis on temperature controlled logistics and supply chain security.

Amy Shortman ASC CEO Chairwoman of IQPC Temperature Controlled Logistics Conference 2017

As the conference progressed, a key theme began to emerge, that of the need for greater collaboration combined with outsourcing of key activities to those with the best skills and expertise. Pharmaceutical companies are slowly realising the cost and strategic benefits of doing so whilst focusing on their own strengths.

The modal shift from air to ocean was another trend highlighted at the conference, with more companies altering their stock and inventory management to accommodate the longer supply chains involved with sea freight. Technology was abundant and the continuing development of cloud based temperature monitoring systems demonstrated how the data can be utilised for continual improvements.

ASC Amy Shortman Henry Moran Conference Supply Chain Security

ASC’s Henry Moran and Amy Shortman jointly presented on Key Considerations for Supply Chain Security for Temperature Sensitive Medicinal Products, API’s and Excipients.  Their message was that whilst adhering to Good Distribution Practice (GDP) is imperative, there should be equal importance placed upon the Falsified Medicines Directive. This helps ensure that counterfeit materials don’t enter the legal supply chain, that products are not tampered with, and that supply chains protect products from theft for sale on the black market.

Henry Moran, COO stated “The sharing of case studies and best practice was exemplary and it is testament to the industry as a whole and IQPC specifically that an educational approach was taken in development of the two days”.

For a more in depth report please read the official IQPC report.