ETOBICOKE, Ont. — ATS boss Michael Andlauer might find it fitting that penicillin comes from bread. True, he had nothing to do with discovering the miracle mold, but — if you’ll pardon the spin on this old cliché — his company’s loaf is buttered by it.
Over a third of ATS business comes from the pharmaceutical sector, and considering Canada’s aging population, that revenue stream is going to continue to grow. Even more importantly, the industry just loves ATS.
The carrier has a long-standing relationship with the segment, but it really became an A-lister in 2005, when new Health Canada rules demanded pharma companies and their providers be more diligent in product handling and documentation and reporting of temperature during storage and transport.
ATS stepped to the plate with the custom-developed Ambient Shipping Program and the Temperature Management Program (TMP), which ensure and qualify products are kept in the required range. ATS’ $100,000 reefer units have custom insulation, heating and cooling systems as well as fitted sensors throughout the entire trailer to monitor temperature. Both dispatch and ATS’ customers can see the ranges online at any time.
Even when products are unloaded and sorted at ATS’ facilities, they aren’t affected by the weather outside. For example, when the trailer backs up, the doors swing inwards and a custom insulating curtain inflates to cover the open gaps between trailer and doors. Inside the facility, ambient temperature is controlled and verified by calibrated sensors and is constantly audited by trained staff.
Readings are transmitted to dispatch every six minutes by cellular codes. If the temperature rises to 23C or falls to 17C an automatic alert is sounded and the driver, dockworker, and dispatcher are notified.
The investment was extensive, but it certainly got the attention of an entire industry. And it’s paying off big-time. Says RBC’s Walter Spracklin: “We consider ATS’ ability to promptly react to unique customer demands to be a key competitive advantage, which we expect will allow that company to capture increased volumes at attractive rates.”
— (FOR MORE on how ATS is weathering the current trucking market storm by positioning itself on top of niche sectors, be sure to check out this week’s online feature “Have a Niche Day” on our website homepage.)
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