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Total Quality Management for Cold Chain: blending strategy, innovation and pragmatism to benefit patients

Total Quality Management for Cold Chain: blending strategy, innovation and pragmatism to benefit patients

Cold chain management is about blending the right things at the right time for the right purpose and at the right costs. For example, an innovative hardware solution can bring an operation to the next level. Also, rethinking the existing processes can lead to solid results.

To address the above, DKSH has developed and implemented a unique method for cold chain management to ensure a high quality of supplied products for patients across Asia: “Total Quality Management (TQM) for Cold Chain”.

What is Total Quality Management for Cold Chain?

A distinctive principle under the DKSH cold chain approach is recognizing the challenges around temperature-sensitive products in Asia, and working openly, quickly and with integrity with our clients to address any potential challenges. ‘TQM for Cold Chain’ has three key pillars:

TQM for Cold Chain is a company-wide systemic program that slices right through the organization: from strategic risk management and life cycle asset management, through to tactical planning and focused operational execution.

The TQM for Cold Chain approach accommodates “best fit” processes, drives continuous improvement, has the right checks and balances in place, and ensures staff is always alerted to changing circumstances.

TQM for Cold Chain approach allows DKSH to continuously scout innovative packaging and hardware solutions for various cold chain functionalities. As different solutions in different markets will require different approaches, TQM for Cold Chain is flexible enough to adapt to these specific needs. The key is to never compromise on compliance and quality management. Product integrity is right at the heart of decision making in the cold chain network and solution design.

How to apply TQM for Cold Chain?

Let’s use a practical example: A facility has temperature alarm settings that are well within standard product alarm limits. Should an alarm go off, our team must treat it as more than just a sound alerting us that something may happen. Any alarm is considered an incident that must be investigated, even if it is still within the product temperature limits. It structures ad-hoc events, which leads to a proactive review of processes, assets and an opportunity to test alertness at any time.

It also contains a thorough structured data based internal review of assets which may lead to asset amendments. A tangible example of such an amendment would be the purchase and deployment of “thermal imagers” for monitoring our installations at all sites across Asia.

What systems have you put in place to ensure your cold chain is not interrupted?

Read more here:

Or watch our introduction video:

Tim Broekhuizen

About the author

Tim Broekhuizen is Regional Manager, Center of Excellence, Supply Chain Management at DKSH. Before this, he was Country Head of Supply Chain Myanmar. Born and educated in The Netherlands, Tim holds a Master’s degree in Operations and Supply Chain Excellence and a Bachelor's degree in Logistics. He has more than 20 years of leadership experience in upstream and downstream perishable supply chains in developed and emerging markets.

Read more here.