When Proof of Delivery Becomes More than Added Value
Shipments that arrive late or get lost are disappointing by any means. But when it comes to sensitive materials, the situation can become quite serious—and in some cases even life-threatening. In shipping, chain of custody is the process used to track a package from its original sender to its recipient. Generally, however, the shipping process isn’t as simple as getting something from point A to point B; it’s more like point A to point B, then to point C before it crosses a border and reaches point D and beyond. With so many checkpoints, a chain of custody ensures each package is accounted for at each checkpoint, which can help locate any packages unaccounted for in the proof of delivery.
There may be times throughout the year where online shopping spikes, Christmas being the major contributor, and chain of custody and proof of delivery become desirable luxuries. However, in many cases these processes are essential and need consistently accurate data records. Here are a few examples:
According to the National Kidney Foundation, there are currently 122,403 people waiting for lifesaving organ transplants in the U.S. Perhaps the most sensitive shipment there is, organs that are being transported from donor to patient must be handled with the utmost care. The need for chain of custody in this area was perhaps best laid out by Roger Brown, Organ Centre Manager for the United Network for Organ Sharing when he said, “You can be many things in the critical shipments field, but you can’t be late or wrong.”
Perishable goods are defined by the International Air Transport Association as, “…items [that deteriorate] with time or exposition to adverse temperature and humidity.” We most commonly see these items at grocery stores, in the form of meat, dairy, seafood and plants. Proof of delivery for perishable items not only helps retailers ensure their inventory is accounted for, but also that the product that has arrived is on time and not expired or been tainted.
Pharmaceuticals need to be shipped in many stages to get from raw material to the end consumer. Chain of custody helps ensure the materials do not become tainted, lost, or
expired along the way and proof of delivery helps reduce the risk of counterfeit drugs entering the market—or controlled substances finding their way to underground markets. Without these processes in place you run the risk of poor deliverables, which in the pharmaceutical industry can be the difference between life and death.
The importance of chain of custody and proof of delivery is not reserved for retailers and manufacturers; in many ways they impact each and every consumer. Though these processes are what will help ensure your presents are under the tree Christmas morning, their role in shipping sensitive materials is unsurpassed.