There is probably no other sector that imposes such high demands on the handling of goods as the pharmaceutical sector. Drugs and other medical products are particularly sensitive; even the smallest temperature fluctuation can impair their effectiveness and shelf life. The highest levels of quality, hygiene and safety are therefore crucial when handling pharmaceutical products – and logistics service providers who want to operate in the pharmaceutical sector have to prove that they meet the required EU standards as part of their GDP (Good Distribution Practices) certification.
Militzer & Münch Germany committed to achieving GDP certification in 2021 – with success: Last year, the country organization attained the certificate, with Charlotte Dürr, Group Project Manager Pharmaceuticals at Militzer & Münch, the leading force. We talked to her about the importance of the certification for the logistics provider, what opportunities it opens up, and about her personal passion for and further plans in the field of pharmaceutical logistics.
Ms. Dürr, the GDP certification is an important milestone for Militzer & Münch Germany. Would you please describe what this means for the national subsidiary and also for you personally?
First of all, one has to state that the certification process is very demanding and extensive. The hardest part was to create a basic framework of documentation and standards that covers all areas of the EU GDP directive. In addition, our carriers need to be thoroughly checked and assessed for their quality and compliance with the guidelines on their part.
With our quality system, we can ensure the responsible and competent handling of the sensitive goods – be it from Munich to Nairobi or from Berlin to Ulaanbaatar. This helps us now to continuously certify further locations of the group, as with the successful GDP certification of Militzer & Münch Germany, we have also aroused interest in other country units. As a result, we have a great working group of local GDP managers, sales experts, and quality managers. In Poland, we successfully passed the certification audit in March; in Georgia, we are currently planning the first audit.
Many country organizations already have experience in the various product categories and see great growth potential, especially in Southeastern Europe and Central Asia. The healthcare sector is of great importance for the entire Militzer & Münch Group, and developing this product opens up a whole range of new opportunities for us.
What exactly are the new opportunities for Militzer & Münch Germany that result from the certification?
Worldwide, the healthcare market is booming, and Germany is one of the market leaders. As a GDP-certified logistics service provider, we can now participate in this sector to a wholly different extent, open up new markets, and address a larger clientele.
The first sales initiatives we launched after successful certification showed quick results: We received many requests for quotations both for full truck loads by road, including numerous shipments to Central Asia and as far as Mongolia, and by sea and air to various destinations in Africa, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia, as well as for imports from America. Within the Militzer & Münch Group, M&M air sea cargo GmbH is responsible for GDP compliant transports by air and sea freight, as well as by rail.
Moreover, we can support the medical supply of many war and crisis areas while maintaining quality standards. There is also great interest in refrigerated transports by rail. Here, we benefit above all from an increased interest in reducing emissions.
Can you give us some examples of projects that Militzer & Münch Germany is already handling in the pharmaceutical sector?
At this time, we are handling transports of pharmaceuticals and medical equipment to Africa, Asia, and Europe, as well as shipments within Europe. In addition, we have imports of raw materials, accessories and medical cannabis. The high level of customer demand indicates that certification was exactly the right step to take. We are convinced that it will enable us to significantly expand our activities in the field of pharmaceutical logistics, and we are looking forward to intensifying our cooperation with other Militzer & Münch country units in cross-border transports of pharmaceuticals and medical devices.
With your dedication and commitment, you have been instrumental in driving the pharma project forward. Where does your enthusiasm for this area in particular come from?
After my qualification as a forwarding specialist and subsequent studies in International Transport Management and Marketing, I started at Militzer & Münch in 2018, initially as Sales Coordinator, but then took over product responsibility for Aviation Logistics. With the onset of the pandemic, I was looking for a new task and started to develop the Pharma Logistics division – a decision I have not regretted to this day! The products with their specific requirements and transport conditions are certainly a challenge, but the market is absolutely viable, and working in this field is a journey of discovery for me every day, due to the wide variety of products and customers. And by the way, I have probably always had a penchant for special products: in my bachelor thesis, I devised a strategic market analysis for the transport of horses by air.
What are your plans for the future?
We want to further expand our pharmaceutical logistics network so we can offer our customers worldwide the best possible service and products. Where this is not feasible via our own Militzer & Münch network, we cooperate with local partners who, of course, have to meet our requirements and also the GDP standards. The search for such partners, which is not easy in every country, is currently one of our most important tasks.
We want to further expand our pharmaceutical logistics network so we can offer our customers worldwide the best possible service and products. Where this is not feasible via our own Militzer & Münch network, we cooperate with local partners who, of course, have to meet our requirements and GDP standards as well. The search for such partners, which is not easy in every country, is currently one of our most important tasks.
We generally see great potential in pharmaceutical shipments to Central Asia, as well as to Southeastern Europe and Africa. In Central Asia and Southeastern Europe, we are already operating our own organization in almost every country. And in East and West Africa, for example, we have just successfully found reliable partners. For our activities in the region, I benefit from participating in the Militzer & Münch Talent Development Programme in 2022: As an international team, we had the opportunity to analyze new markets – and with Africa, the focus was on a market that is now emerging as one of our core markets for pharmaceutical transports.
Thank you very much für your time!