The Friday Report July 6, 2018

Quick wrap up of a few hot topic newsworthy stories in the supply chain logistics industry

Digital Freight Brokerage, Drones and Last Mile Delivery

According to a report by analysts at Frost & Sullivan, the rising costs of last mile delivery and changing consumer demands will move the market towards use of mobile freight brokerage-type solutions.  This will place more emphasis on enabling on-demand deliveries using autonomous technologies including delivery bots and drones.

Keeping costs under control is a major priority for retailers.  E-commerce retailers are continually looking for more solutions and are working on evolving solutions to fit more scenarios including locker boxes, click-and-collect, autonomous delivery solutions and more.

Digital freight brokerage platforms are reducing empty miles by up to 10%.  To help lower costs, fleet operators have tried to develop urban distribution centers to increase the efficiency of their last mile delivery efforts to population centers. For their part, retailers are developing compact retail stores. This reduces the amount of the capital expenditures and moves the goods closer to the target population for faster, less costly delivery .

Consumers Sour on Milk under LED Lighting

In their zest to reduce operational cost, many grocery stores have shifted dairy case lighting from fluorescent to LED lighting.  According to research by Cornell University reported in the Journal of Dairy Science in January 2018, fresh flavor properties of milk were impaired more frequently by LED lighting than by fluorescent lighting.

Respondents noted that the taste of skim milk was affected more than that of 2 percent fat milk.  Researchers hypothesized that fat provides some form of protection from the LED light.  This may be by making it more difficult for light to reach riboflavin and other photosensitive compounds.  It is also possible that the fat somehow masks the off-note nature of the milk taste. Light-protective packaging was found to provide nearly complete protection from exposure to LED lighting.  When asked about the packaging, however, consumers objected to the appearance as they found it too similar to that used for orange juice jug containers.

Biologic Pharmaceuticals are Transforming the Healthcare Industry

One of the most popular classifications of pharmaceuticals on the market today is that of biologic drugs.  Typical medications including antacids, statins and aspirin are chemical in nature.  Although many were discovered in nature or as a derivative of a naturally occurring substance, these medications are now manufactured non-biologically.  Chemical medications tend to have clearly defined molecular structures, are relatively simple and rely on other chemicals as building blocks. The newer class of biologic pharmaceuticals is vastly different.  Biologics are harvested directly from biology, not synthesized using chemicals or chemical means.  Modern biologic drugs are assembled in large bioreactors that house mammalian cell cultures or genetically engineered microbes.  Whether they include whole cells that are dead or alive, biologic drugs may be produced similarly to the manner in which antibodies are produced, secreted by the human immune system’s B cells or may be internal components of cells much like enzymes.
By size, biologic drugs are usually much larger molecules than those in conventional medications.  Most biologics are found in liquid form due to the delicate nature of their molecules.  Why are biologics one of the fastest growing pharmaceutical categories?  This is because of the way that biologic drugs interact with human biology.  Rather than disrupting only the disease-associated processes in the body, biologic pharmaceuticals tend to be precisely binding onto target molecules to inhibit effects that are damaging to the body. Biologic pharmaceuticals require specific handling, storage and shipping methodologies, typically involving cold chain solutions.
Read more about how biologic pharmaceuticals are impacting human health here.

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