Skip to main content

Improving the logistics of pharmaceutical goods

24 March 2023

Academics are working to improve the logistics of pharmaceutical goods, such as vaccines, as part of a new Knowledge Transfer Project (KTP) between Cardiff University and Tower Cold Chain.

The project involves academics from the Logistics and Operations Management section at Cardiff Business School, designing a decision support system (DSS) for the distribution network at Tower Cold Chain, a pharmaceutical logistics specialist.

The DSS will allow for a more effective and efficient flow of temperature-controlled reusable containers that transport pharmaceutical goods, such as vaccine vials, to health care providers, for the benefit of their patients.

Aligning to Cardiff Business School’s public value purpose, the KTP will deliver social, economic and environmental value to all stakeholders. The project aims to reduce total logistics costs, minimise COe2 emissions and maximise availability for the transportation of medical products to pharmacies and hospitals.

On the specialist knowledge Cardiff University will provide to Tower Cold Chain, Professor Mohamed Naim said:

“The DSS design requires knowledge of operations research and considerable expertise and experience in business analytics, optimisation and simulation. The DSS will inform senior managers at Tower Cold Chain as to how many hubs and/or transport lanes are needed in the network. Solving such complex problems requires a knowledge of specific algorithms and skills for mathematical model formulation.”
Professor Mohamed Naim Head of the Logistics and Operations Management Section, Professor in Logistics and Operations Management, Co-Director of CAMSAC

“This is an extremely exciting project, bringing together academic expertise to provide solutions to enable Tower's Cold Chain’s network to deal with uncertainties and growing market share.”
Dr Dnyaneshwar Mogale Lecturer in Logistics and Operations Management

“The outcomes of the project will ensure the medical products that Tower's temperature insulated containers transport will get to the end patients in good order. It will provide a great opportunity to translate fundamental research we have undertaken over a number of years into practical and impactful implementations."
Dr Irina Harris Reader in Logistics and Operations Modelling, Deputy Section Head - Research, Innovation and Engagement

Kevin Doran, Tower’s Global Head of Supply Chain, commented: “this study reflects Tower’s commitment to exploring innovated solutions to make a real-world impact on the consumption of resources of its operations and offer sustainable solutions to its customers.”

Natalie Robinson, Tower’s Global Head of Operations, said: “the movement of containers across our global footprint of hubs is extremely complex. The ability to model this and create a decision support system will democratise decision-making on fleet movements and significantly reduce waste”

The project, funded by Innovate UK, is an outcome of a successful ESRC Impact Accelerator Account study that ran from February 2022 to January 2023. This study involved creating a model to optimise global stock location strategies and minimise COe2 emissions caused by superfluous movements.

Share this story