Never have I ever, in my decade and a half long career in cold chain industry; seen such volatile business micros like I have in the past three years. In 2023, personally. I prefer to see trends-current rather than current-trends as the big picture. The coming year will invariably demand from everyone, to have adaptive abilities on the go sans the privilege of preparing for the change. Rather adapting to the cold chain variables in order of their occurrence or may be not. 2023 in my opinion will most likely be a semblance of disruptive balance and order.
Mettcover Global R&D & Manufacturing Unit.
As somebody who is responsible for management of a manufacturing unit of passive cold chain packaging, we are continually adapting to the milieu of front and back-end integration and resource management whilst ensuring that innovation remains our full time job.
In the past year, I finally got ample chances to travel for business. As an ambassador of Mettcover Global, we were well received to forge important relationships with our global partners. You should know that cold chain people talk about pharmaceuticals like the British talk about football. So naturally, the topic of mitigating risks in the cold logistic especially in the Pharmaceuticals Cold-Chain was a common discussion point with most associates I met.
Almost everyone was gung-ho about broader demand but utterly worried about the fear of the unknown. The new normal is constantly getting morphed and nobody knows what normal would look like in the next quarter. Even most liberals will agree that 2023 is a complete unchartered territory with geo political upheaval and mutant viruses lurking around every corner. Yet, based on my experiences, observations and exhaustive conversations with the industry players, I see that these trends may find prominence in 2023 with in the Supply Chain Industry in general and Cold-Chain in particular.
Pharmaceuticals Industry continues to be the biggest stakeholder in Cold-Chain.
Most Governments are in a vigilant mode about new COVID variants. A possibility of a new infection wave cannot be ruled out which brings the world’s focus on pharmaceuticals industry. Further, the general public interest in preventive health has brilliantly boosted Pharma Sector’s growth projection.
The continent of North America should be able to maintain its dominance on the Pharma Cold Chain but may also see increased participation of perishables.
A bigger chunk of growth for thermal pallet covers should come from emerging economies especially India which is pacing to fill in the gap left by the Chinese companies. Most will agree to have witnessed the Indian government’s impetus on developing ancillary services such as ports, trade compliances etc. to the imperative of making India as the world’s pharmacy.
I will limit my insights into the Pharma Cold Chain that moves shipment of a specific temperature profile of 15 – 25 degree Celsius. Primarily because I conduct a lot of research in this area considering that our primary offering; Thermal Pallet Cover, is an excellent supplement to this’ whether medicines or health supplements.
As single offerings, and for shipments requiring to maintain lower temperatures, the reusable pre-qualified shippers for Pharmaceuticals may gather popularity in 2023.
The leasing trend of pre-qualified and re-usable ULDs made under the purview of stringent ISTDA 7 testing norms should also see growing demand.
Cold Chain and the Workforce Disruptions.
The bigger spoiler for the cold chain industry in 2023 can be very well the skilled work force or rather its scarcity. As inflation looms, people are switching jobs more than often and over all the attrition in most industries was very high throughout last year.
This may not change overnight. A happy workplace is easier said than done.
The mandate of retaining talent will force all organizations to upgrade working conditions, work policies and enable a holistic quality of life for their work force. This is definitely a much awaited correction to the way Cold Chain Industry has operated in the last decade. Nevertheless, overhauling work systems may hit the bottom-line for many us unless executed under the astute guidance of Change Management and Design Thinking Process. Of course, technology and humanity will both play a major role.