Normally, we devote our blog to information about our marking, coding, and packaging materials. But as we all know, the times we are living in are anything but “normal.” As the world waits anxiously for the Covid-19 vaccine, we thought we’d take a moment to address the question that’s weighing on everyone’s minds: Why is this taking so long?
Now, just to be clear, we are not handling any part of the vaccine rollout (although we can dream that one of our boxes or rolls of tape might make contact, somehow). However, as a supplier for some of the biggest distribution chains in the country, we feel that it’s not too off-topic to discuss this particular rollout. With no further ado, here are some of the top factors that are coming between you and your Covid vaccine.
Ingredient & equipment shortages
One of the main bottlenecks slowing the vaccine distribution happens at the very start of the process: a simple lack of ingredients. At the time of this writing, the FDA has approved three vaccines for emergency use, and two of the three (the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines) require tough-to-source ingredients like mRNA-building plasmids, nucleotides, and enzymes. While it was easy for researchers to procure these components for their trial studies, the amount required to create millions of vaccines just isn’t in ready supply.
Another rather simple issue affecting production is a lack of equipment. According to Glenn Richey of Auburn University, many manufacturing facilities aren’t stocked with the amount of vials, syringes, and machinery they’ll need to create and move millions of vaccine doses. Like everyone else in what you will see is a very lengthy supply chain, vaccine manufacturers have no choice but to “build the airplane as it flies,” so to speak.
Challenges in making, storing, & shipping the vaccine
Even if a plant has everything it needs to make a vaccine, doing so isn’t as easy as mixing up a pot of soup on the stove. All three currently-authorized vaccines have long, complex, and risk-abundant manufacturing processes, with lots of potential for missteps (and therefore, wastage). The Pfizer vaccine, for instance, must be created in three separate phases at three different facilities, a process which takes several weeks to complete.
Once a batch of vaccines is made, distribution is complicated by their stringent refrigeration requirements. The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine must be stored at -70 degrees Celsius—colder than winter in Antarctica—while the Moderna and J&J vaccines must be stored at -20 degrees Celsius, the temperature of a normal freezer. Assembling the materials necessary for shipping this kind of product (like dry ice and specialized stay-cold containers) is a supply chain in and of itself, and executing a prompt delivery presents another hurdle.
If all this is starting to feel kind of depressing, keep in mind that things might not be as bad as they appear—literally. Some experts have noted that there can be a big delay in the time it takes for a vaccine to leave a distribution center and the time it takes for its use to be recorded, creating the false impression that huge amounts of vaccines are being wasted. Julie Swann, head of the Department of the Industrial and Systems Engineering at NC State University, told Scientific American, “If you think, ‘Two days to ship, three days to give it out, and another two days to record that,’ there can easily be a week between when the government says it has been distributed, and when you can really expect to see that number [of administered doses] change correspondingly.” She added that internal issues like this are impeding distribution much more than factors like transportation.
Bottom line: The vaccines are coming
Again, learning about the complexities involved with distributing the Covid-19 vaccine may leave you feeling a bit overwhelmed—but it’s important to stay hopeful. Remember that everyone involved in this massive supply chain—from the manufacturers, to the shipping and delivery personnel, to the medical administrators—have a vested interest in executing the rollout as efficiently and safely as possible. The longer the rollout continues, the more experienced everyone in the supply chain will become, and the more smoothly everything will flow—an effect which you have surely experienced in your own working life. In the meantime, all we can do is sit back, remain positive, and trust that one day we’ll all be able to live mask-free once again.
Earth Day 2020 is something we will all remember, even if we're a little confused on which day today is. With most of the world's population observing stay-at-home orders, we're seeing an amazing impact on the environment. The canals in Venice, Italy are crystal clear, toxic gas levels have had a sharp decline, and pollution in major cities and remote villages have been replaced with clear skies. In a way, the corona-shutdown has given the Earth a much needed reset.
While the environmental impacts of the corona-shutdown is great for Mother Nature, it has also had major impacts on businesses and global economies. Some companies have closed and may never open again while others are thriving like never before. The thing about the American economy is that challenging times often give birth to innovative solutions from entrepreneurs and business leaders. We are already seeing factories pivot from things like clothing production and car manufacturing to high-volume mask and ventilator production. New innovations are already on the market like gadgets that let you open doors and use ATMs without actually touching anything to new methods of supply-chair production and delivery.
As new innovations develop, SSI Packaging is here to help solve your packaging and shipping needs while providing eco-friendly solutions that help protect the environment. Our eco-friendly packaging supplies can help continue the healing of the Earth while delivering the much needed goods and services needed around the globe. For example, our boxes are 100% recyclable and, even better, reusable. We have bubble wrap, loose fill (packing peanuts), kraft paper, and shredded paper solutions that can protect your products in shipping and transportation while being environmentally conscience.
If your business needs reliable eco-friendly packaging and shipping supplies, we're here to help. Our Richmond, VA warehouse is stocked with thousands of eco-friendly packaging supplies that are ready for curbside pickup. Just call one of our packaging specialists at 804.649.1111 for curbside pickup or order online at www.ssipackaging.net and we will ship it to you right away.
If you’ve ever had to make a big move you know how stressful planning, packing and shipping your things can be. Making sure that your items arrive to their destination in one piece can be difficult when there are so many unknown variables involved in the process. When shipping glassware, factors like clumsy movers or bumpy highways can have a big impact on delicate items. Learning how to pack up your glassware correctly can prevent any nasty surprises when you’re unboxing after your move.
To begin, you’re going to need to select some boxes. Make sure you pick at least double layer corrugated cardboard boxes because the additional layers will add stability to your package. You could also go to grocery stores and ask if they have divided boxes, which are like normal cardboard boxes but the inside is segmented into sections. The layers of cardboard will separate your items, protecting them even further. You should also take the size of the box into consideration. If you pack a big box with lots of glassware, it will become pretty heavy which increases the risk of bumps and drops. Choose medium sized boxes instead to make sure you’re using space efficiently, but not overdoing it.
Before packing your box cover the bottom with a thick layer of material. You can use Kraft paper, sheets, newspaper or dishrags; the key to this step is making sure the layer is thick enough to cushion your glassware. If you decide to use fabric to cushion the bottom of the box it can work well, as long as you make sure it is layered enough. And if you use old newspapers for this purpose keep in mind that you’ll have to wash the glasses after they arrive at your new home because oftentimes the print can transfer onto glassware.
To wrap your items, use alternating layer of packing paper and bubble wrap. Wrap the item in a layer of paper and then one to two layers of bubble wrap and secure the wrapping with a piece of tape. If you have glasses with fragile stems like wine glasses you should always wrap the stem first, and wrap the glasses one at a time rather than in pairs. This helps to make sure that the most easily breakable part of the glass is sufficiently protected. Your most breakable glasses should be packed on top, meaning they are placed into the box last.
Now you should fill the spaces in between your items with filling, whether it is packing peanuts (loose fill) or more layers of paper. After adding extra cushioning to the top layer of your box, you are all set to seal it. It would be a good idea to try to shake the box to make sure there are no big gaps left to fill. You can choose to tape the box closed, or to place it in an entirely different and larger box, which will give it even more reinforcement. Just make sure to fill the extra space with more materials if this is your desired option.
Whether you are shipping family heirlooms or the wine glasses that you used at your wedding ceremony, it’s sure that you want your items to arrive in one piece. For all of your shipping needs you can turn to SSI Packaging Group. We are dedicated experts in packaging, specializing in personalized service. Call us at (804) 649-1111 to speak with a representative or view our products to find out more.
Keeping your shipments safe from damage during transport is extremely important. According to recent studies the number one complaint among transportation managers was damaged goods. Although you might hope that the people in charge of shipping your cargo will treat it very carefully, the reality is that many times deliveries are rushed and corners are cut- incurring damages. To make sure that your shipments arrive intact, try these methods to fortify your packaging process.
Block and Brace Shipping
Block and brace shipping is a way to keep goods secured during transit, reducing the risk of excessive movement and damaged cargo. Packages that have been placed into shipping containers can slide around if they are unsecured. Blocking and bracing is a process that reduces the shifting of packages from the front of the shipping container to the back. To do this, metal or wooden beams are placed at strategic points within the shipping container in order to hold items in place. If you are shipping a product with wheels you need to first keep the wheels stabilized and prevent them from spinning. You need to make sure these bracing systems are locked to the container as securely as possible and ensure that the braving systems do not allow for any movement of the cargo they hold.
Void fill is any type of cushioning that is added to your package with the intention of protecting your goods while they are in transit. Void fill should be used in cases when your products are fragile, if there is excess space in the package, if they heavy, or if your product has sharp corners that could be bent or broken during shipment. Typically used in corrugated boxes, void fill has many different options that serve a variety of functions. Some examples of void fill options would be packaging paper, inflatables, loose fill or newsprint paper. Packaging paper is used to fill empty space, protect edges or corners, or to fully protect the product. The protective qualities vary depending on the thickness, strength and resilience of the type of paper that you select. Similar to packaging paper is newsprint paper, which is thinner and generally well suited to provide light protection. Loose fill is convenient and very easy to use; these components are made from expanded polystyrene and can be added to a box to fill in any extra spaces.
Surface protection can be used to protect a wide variety of products, such as painted car parts, mirrors, or anything else with a delicate surface. Surface protectors generally are designed to protect edges, and prevent shock or compression. Bubble wrap, packing foam and protective film are all types of surface protection that work in several different ways. Bubble wrap is a light film that can be supplied in sheeted forms, in pouches, or in rolls. Packing foam is elastic, flexible and water repellent material that offers very good cushioning properties. Protective film is generally used to prevent scuffs and scratches, and can be removed without leaving a residue even after long-term use.
These products and techniques are sure to help your shipments arrive safely to their destination. Having been in the packaging business for over 40 years, SSI Packaging Group understands the need for cost effective and quality packaging. Our premium products help your shipments get from point A to point B. For more information or assistance on how to protect your items in transit feel free to contact us at 804.649.1111.