Kuehne+Nagel and FFF Enterprises Tackle Gaps in Frozen Storage and Distribution; successfully deliver millions of COVID-19 vaccines doses nationwide

January 5, 2024

What started as simply an agreement to provide support for the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, unveiled a new option for manufacturers and customers to benefit from the combined advantages of a partnership between a co-located third-party logistics provider and a specialty pharmaceutical distributor.

In August 2023, Kuehne+Nagel's Contract Logistics team entered into an agreement with specialty pharmaceutical distributor FFF Enterprises, Inc. (FFF) to establish and provide a specialized and dedicated cold-chain distribution network that could meet the stringent storage and handling demands of COVID-19 vaccines.

In support of this effort, Kuehne+Nagel's Contract Logistics team designated its Memphis, Tennessee site, known for its expertise and experience in maintaining the integrity of pharmaceutical products. Strategically positioned within proximity to carrier hubs, the GxP-compliant, Memphis site features low temperature freezers, refrigeration units, and advanced systems that ensure COVID-19 vaccines standards are maintained throughout the entire distribution process.

Upon FDA approval for the 2023-2024 COVID-19 vaccine on September 11, Kuehne+Nagel and FFF rapidly combined their resources and began operations on September 16, securing FFF Enterprises the distinction of being one of the first to market with the vaccine.

During the first week, the joint operation successfully packed and quickly delivered vaccines not only to FFF's existing large customer base, but also to thousands of new customer locations that were unable to get vaccines from other sources.

"Within days of Go-Live, we began to receive calls from health providers in immediate need of vaccines," said Patrick M. Schmidt, chief executive officer of FFF Enterprises, Inc. "Many asked how we were able to do it when other distributors were not ready. Our answer was simple. The collective expertise and capabilities of the strategic partnership between Kuehne+Nagel and FFF made it possible."

The subsequent events were nothing short of impressive as the newly formed partnership tripled the output rate from the initial week, resulting in high-capacity throughput and ultimately ensuring patients across the country had access to the vaccine in a timely manner. Kuehne+Nagel and FFF turned pallets into parcels, fulfilling customer orders by distributing millions of COVID-19 vaccines to healthcare providers across the country.

Schmidt added, "FFF's mission is Helping Healthcare Care®. Without our cherished partnership with Kuehne+Nagel, with whom we share the same values, sense of urgency, and mission, it would have been impossible to scale as quickly as our teams did."

According to Eduardo Razuck, SVP Americas for Contract Logistics, that this was truly a team effort. "In the face of this challenge, Kuehne+Nagel Contract Logistics was able to step in when others could not make it happen," said Razuck. "Not only did we have the right space, but we also had the right team, and we were able to quickly set up a complex system to ramp up high-capacity throughput of millions of COVID-19 doses in a matter of weeks. We knew it had to be done, and we did not do it alone -- this was a true collaborative effort."

This strategic partnership combining the technical, operational, and engineering expertise of Kuehne+Nagel and FFF, successfully fulfilled a shared commitment to create a scalable, high-capacity flow of COVID-19 vaccines within the U.S. market, serving the urgent needs of patients and the healthcare community. But even more so, this unique partnership between the Kuehne+Nagel, FFF and the vaccine manufacturers, has created a new and differentiated offering in the marketplace that allows for a flexible, cost-effective, and resilient supply chain for unique, controlled channel pharmaceutical distribution.

Razuck added, "Our goal is to deliver drugs and medications safely and swiftly around the world, and to contribute to changing people's lives for the better. By stepping in to help, not only have we had an impact on our customer's ability to serve its customers, but together with FFF we have tackled one of the most pressing challenges for controlled pharmaceutical distribution, all while collectively making an impressive positive impact on patient outcomes and on the entire US healthcare supply chain."

About Kuehne+Nagel

With over 80,000 employees at almost 1,300 sites in close to 100 countries, the Kuehne+Nagel Group is one of the world's leading logistics providers. Headquartered in Switzerland, Kuehne+Nagel is listed in the Swiss blue-chip stock market index, the SMI. The Group is the global number one in air and sea logistics and has strong market positions in road and contract logistics

Kuehne+Nagel is the logistics partner of choice for 400,000 customers worldwide. Using its global network, logistics expertise and data-based insights, the Group provides end-to-end supply chain solutions for global companies and industries. As a member of the Science Based Target Initiative (SBTi), Kuehne+Nagel is committed to sustainable logistics by reducing its own environmental footprint and by supporting its customers with low-carbon logistics solutions.

Kuehne+Nagel and FFF Enterprises tackle gaps in frozen storage and distribution; successfully deliver millions of COVID-19 vaccines doses nationwide | Newsroom https://newsroom.kuehne-nagel.com/kuehnenagel-and-fff-enterprises-tackle-gaps-in-frozen-storage-and-distribution-successfully-deliver-millions-of-covid-19-vaccines-doses-nationwide/.