written on 05.04.2012

Interview with Gema Carvajal, General Manager, World Courier Chile

gema-carvajal-general-manager.jpgWhat have been the main milestones and achievements of the company since it established itself in Chile in 1980?

I think our main achievement has been to always be a pioneer in the services that we offer our clients. By being a pioneer we continually provide the best services, such as our premium services, which ensure the timely delivery of documents within one day’s time. We are also unique in that we operate 365 days of the year, 7 days of the week, and 24 hours of the day. World Courier was the first logistics provider to offer support for clinical trials in Chile, including cold chain management, proper storage and distribution of in-vitro materials. Essentially what we offer is fully integrated solutions to our clients. They know that once we have picked up their package they can relax because we guarantee that things will be delivered on time and handled in the proper way, and at the end of the day this provides our clients peace of mind.

You have an impressive portfolio of services for pharmaceutical clients, including advanced cold chain solutions, investigational drug storage depots, and remote tracking services amongst others. Are all of these services available in Chile? What is the breakdown of your revenue according to the different services that you offer?

Our office in Chile offers all of the services that are available in any other World Courier location around the world. The most significant service for us is by far our clinical trial support. Given that World Courier has a complete global network, we are able to offer services to international clients that are conducting clinical trials here in Chile. We already have all the expertise for clinical trial support and are the only logistics provider in the country with this kind of knowledge, so inevitably this has become our most popular service for pharmaceutical companies. Directly related to this is the transportation of clinical trial and biological samples, which is our second-most significant service. In Chile, we also have many industrial clients, for example in the fishing and marine sector, that use our services to transport live cultures.

One of the characteristics of the Chilean pharmaceutical industry is that the local manufacturers are the industry leaders. What is World Courier doing to attract and cater to the local manufacturers? What about public institutions such as CENABAST?

Our strategy consists of pure direct marketing where we meet with potential clients face-to-face to discuss with them the advantages of working with us. We also provide our clients with informational material regarding our services and our expertise, as well as information related to local customs norms and laws that would affect their operations in the country. Furthermore, the Chilean market is one that is very much driven by word-of-mouth and referrals are extremely important for us to continue expanding our list of clients. Mainly, we have been working with clients such as Universities, CROs, Hospitals, Clinics, Laboratories, etc. and other academic institutions that conduct pharmaceutical and medical research. We also work with some public institutions, such as the ISP and the Ministry of Health.

What would you say is World Courier’s comparative advantage versus major global logistics providers such as DHL or even some large local players like Novofarma? What makes you the partner of choice for pharmaceutical clients?

Our comparative advantage is the excellence of our service and the fact that we are able to provide fully integrated solutions to our clients. Due to our vast expertise and our extensive global network, World Courier has the ability to adapt to the demands of all our different clients and to address their needs directly. It is our aim to adjust to the needs of the client and to tailor our offer to the specificities that they may demand. Specifically in Chile, we operate throughout the entire expanse of the country’s national territory every single day of the year, 24/7 through ground and air.

What advanced technologies does World Courier offer their pharmaceutical clients to ensure the most efficient and customized services?

World Courier uses the most advanced software that was developed by our headquarters and is the same software used at all of our offices throughout the world. These software programs are extremely versatile in their ability to track packages and offer up-to-date information to our clients at any time of the day. Each client is assigned a dedicated password to access our website and follow the entire process of transportation and storage of their products. This includes delivery times and location, temperatures of storage facilities, and even the temperature of the packages themselves, and this information is available 24 hours of the day. Our website provides clients with charts and graphs illustrating the temperature variations that their products have experienced, so that they can be assured their sensitive material has not been exposed to adverse conditions. Even further, a client company of ours can have different passwords for a number of employees as a means to control the access to information that each of those employees has. Our program also registers every time an employee accesses the system which allows managers to control who is logging into the system at all times.
Another example of our ability to customize services is our provision of cold chain management services in Chile. As a matter of fact, I believe we might be one of the only logistics providers in the country that offers this kind of services. This is mainly due to the fact that in Chile you cannot find the appropriate packaging for cold chain management, and therefore this kind of material has to be imported. World Courier has all kinds of packaging available for our clients which allows us to tailor our cold chain management to any situation.

When we met with Bomi, one of the largest logistics providers in Brazil, they mentioned that the company’s key to success was in their excellent customer relationship management. How would you characterize World Courier’s CRM efforts?

Along with the high level of service standards that we deliver, we have very positive and close relationships with all of our clients and this is something that we take pride in.

Chile’s unique geographic and physical characteristics, including its extensive length from north to south and an ever-present mountain chain, make it quite a difficult environment for logistics and distribution services. How has World Courier worked in this environment to ensure the timely delivery of your clients’ products?

This has not been so much of a challenge for us as we have managed to establish great partnerships with two local airlines and other transport providers in the country that allow us to conduct our services uninterruptedly. There is also an extensive ground network in Chile that functions efficiently, so in reality the geographical characteristics of the country have not posed an obstacle to us. To give you example of the efficiency of our transportation services, after the major earthquake in February we were able to re-establish our services within 4-5 days, which is quite impressive when you consider the extensive damage that was caused to the highways in the southern part of the country.

What other significant challenges does the Chilean market pose for pharmaceutical logistic providers such as World Courier?

World Courier has to anticipate our client’s needs and to remain one step ahead of the game so that we can maintain our advantage as the best logistics provider to the industry.

A key to succeed in the Chilean market is to have extensive knowledge of the local industry’s specificities in order to remain agile and build a strong local network. Given that World Courier is a large global company, do you find that this might work against you in the Chilean context?

Absolutely not, on the contrary, it represents a great advantage to have the knowledge, expertise, and global network of World Courier available to our local customers.

What is World Courier doing to attract further clients with your clinical trial services considering that almost all innovators conduct trials in Chile?

By maintaining a direct contact with potential clients in the area of clinical trials and related entities, providing them with information about the quality of our services, and the assurance of working with an specialist such as World Courier, with a vast worldwide trajectory, and with more than 40 years in the market, highlighting the advantages of an end-to-end service, with high operational and logistic standards.
By maintaining the lead in the industry, and keeping our excellent reputation in the market.

What is your vision for World Courier Chile for the next 3 to 5 years and what is your final message for our readers of Pharmaceutical Executive who are looking for the best logistics providers in Chile?

I am confident that 5 years from now, the Chilean pharmaceutical industry will have developed and modernized itself enough to acknowledge the need for world-class services that World Courier offers. In this context, I foresee great potential for us to grow together with the industry and continue being the market leaders for the pharmaceutical industry in Chile. The local industry will inevitably recognize the need for the highest standards in their logistics services and we are the best answer to their needs.
World Courier is a company the offers an integrated service of the highest standards of excellence 24/7. We offer immediate responses to any of our clients’ needs and always with the utmost professionalism.

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