How does a kit get to the customer?
Given that QIAGEN has customers all around the world, our products sometimes have to travel very long distances. The logistics necessary for this are provided by our partner UPS who, in cooperation with QIAGEN, makes sure that orders arrive at their destinations securely and on time. Using the example of a QIAsymphony Dsp Virus/Pathogen Mini Kit on its way to our customer Paradigm Dx in Phoenix, Arizona, we show the different stages in our global logistics chain.
First stage in the fabrication process of the QIAsymphony DSP Virus/Pathogen Mini Kit is the Production in Hilden, Germany. The Chemical Bulk Department, Process Technologies, manufactures the magnetic beads which are the basis of the QIAsymphony series. About 330 kilograms or 660 pounds of these particles, which are only between 1 and 10 micrometers in size, are produced each year. They are worked into more than 1,800 liters of solution, which is enough for the processing of 1.2 million samples.
In the next step the magnetic beads are packaged and sealed together with other components. Thus, Andreas Nikiel, Director Fill & Finish, and his team produce more than 125,000 QIAsymphony racks per year.
In our Assembly Department, around 90 employees pack up all of the components necessary into complete kits. They assemble a salable, transport secured and ready to ship kit from all the necessary components. “Last year we produced 1.8 million kits,” Frank Dörner, Associate Director Kit Assembly, sums up.
The last stage of the production in Hilden is our Logistic Center. Günter Schwab, Manager Logistics, says: “Every day we ship an average of 100 pallets, which is about 8,000 kits. During production peaks, these figures can even rise up to 150 pallets or 12,000 kits per day.” Two to five UPS trucks with specially customized cooling systems leave our Logistic Center in Hilden every day. These bring the kits to the central UPS warehouse in Roermond in the Netherlands.
UPS warehouse, Roermond
The partnership between QIAGEN and UPS exists since 2010. In 2014 alone, exactly 2,251,972 kits were shipped around the world from Roermond. QIAGEN currently uses a 5,000 square meter or 54,000 square feet space in the UPS warehouse in Roermond. 50 to 60 employees here work solely for QIAGEN.
Once the kits from Hilden arrive (as well as other products from other QIAGEN sites), they are registered electronically: the goods are checked against the order lists via scanner. After this, the kits travel on a conveyor belt to the truck docking bays, from where they are driven to Cologne Bonn Airport in the evening.
Overnight, a freight plane flies the kits to the USA. In February 2015 alone, 185 tons of QIAGEN products were flown to destinations around the world from Cologne Bonn Airport. When it comes to European QIAGEN customers, UPS delivers the products by land.
UPS warehouse, Louisville
With an area of 483,095 square meters or 5,199,991 square feet – which is the equivalent of around 90 American football fields, or almost 70 soccer pitches – the building complex in Kentucky has been UPS’s largest warehouse in the world since it opened in 1996.
UPS operates its own sorting station – Worldport – at Louisville International Airport. This takes delivery of our kits and transports them to the UPS warehouse, which is just under three kilometers or two miles away.
Per day, around 1.6 million packages are shipped in Kentucky. A dedicated department is specifically geared towards the needs of customers from the healthcare sector. From here, our kits are finally shipped to our customers.
Paradigm Dx, Phoenix
Destination reached: our kits have arrived at our customer’s R&D division in Phoenix (Arizona). Paradigm Dx is part of the International Genomics Consortium, which works on transforming novel genetic findings into the clinical practice and better outcomes for patients.