Cold storage is a top investment priority for those in pharmaceutical and biotech research. But those looking to improve their cold supply chains should consider repurposing existing space for freezer storage warehouse before building or leasing new.
Temperature-controlled pharmaceuticals are on the rise. These products are being manufactured at more than double the rate of non-temperature controlled products, according to Pharmaceutical Commerce.
With this growth comes new challenges:
- Increased SKUs require more storage
- Pressure to comply with FIFO inventory practices and reduce expiration waste
- Demand to manage product and inventory logistics with end-to-end transparency.
This pharma trend also makes cold chain logistics a lucrative market. Pharmaceutical Commerce’s 2017 Biopharma Cold Chain Sourcebook estimated that managing the transportation of temperature-controlled products (refrigerated and frozen) would total $13.4 billion that year. It further projected growth of 38% between 2015 and 2021.
In cold storage warehouse management there are many cost considerations:
- Operating temperature-controlled storage
- Variable product temperature requirements
- Energy consumption
- Labor needs — 70% of overall costs go to warehousing labor
Already grappling with these cost factors, many in the pharmaceutical storage space are inclined to look at building or leasing warehouse freezer storage as the simple solution. Yet, repurposing existing, under-utilized warehouse space can bring a better rate of return.
Repurposing Pharmaceutical Storage Space
Considering that most freezer/cooler environments cost $200/square foot to construct, it makes sense to do more with what you have. Construction or outfitting a leased space can interrupt daily activities. A customized refit of existing space, however, can provide added capacity and streamline worker capabilities.
By optimizing warehouse freezer storage with high-density mobile storage, pharmaceutical manufacturers or biotech research companies can reap costs savings for energy and labor.
Densely-packed coolers decrease energy consumption. With high-density mobile storage you can double the number of pallet positions in the same footprint. This compaction can also reduce air escape and lower a cold storage warehouse’s utility costs by as much as 50%.
There are also labor advantages. An average warehouse order-picker walks anywhere from seven to 13 miles per shift. Yet with compact, mobile storage there is greater accessibility and visibility into products and shorter travel times. Reducing unnecessary touches can also promote warehouse efforts to be lean in sorting, straightening, shining, standardizing, and sustaining.
The Right Storage Prescription
Today’s mobile carriage and rail systems are engineered to withstand temperatures -4 degrees F to -20 degrees F. Additionally, systems available today are developed to be used in conjunction with your existing pallet and heavy-duty racking.
For one aerospace customer, Patterson Pope’s team worked directly with Spacesaver to design a “cold package” to keep its carbon fiber composites at the right temperature. “If you want to increase shelf life, it has to be cooled to -10 degrees F. Very cold temperatures,” said Bob Scott, process engineer for Web Industries.
By re-engineering the electronics and wirings for the standard ActivRac carriages, shelving, wheels and motors, a system was insulated for the temperatures and readied for heavy duty work. The 16,000-pound system (16P) helped Web Industries double its capacity in the receiving freezer and add 660 pallet positions.
Looking for a cost-effective and space-efficient freezer storage warehouse solution? Patterson Pope won’t give you the cold shoulder. Reach out to our experts today.