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How SCI Helped Launch Cepheid’s Direct-to-Consumer Healthcare Operations in Canada – Case Study

About Cepheid

Cepheid Canada is a division of the global health sciences company, Danaher. As a world leader in diagnostic tests and test systems, Cepheid helps hospitals, clinics and long-term care facilities save lives with fast, accurate tests to diagnose COVID-19, influenza, tuberculosis, and other life-threatening infections.

Scaling fast in a new market

As part of the company’s strategy to shift sales from a distributor model to a direct-to-customer healthcare approach, Cepheid planned to launch its Canadian operations in Fall of 2021 with localized healthcare logistics. To get into the market quickly with its COVID-19 test, Cepheid needed a healthcare logistics partner to localize their Canadian inventory in country, support their coast-to-coast distribution requirements, and meet complex Health Canada compliance regulations.

direct to consumer diagnostics test covid-19

In the Spring of 2021, the team began its search for a 3PL partner with a North American footprint and extensive supply chain compliance experience in the direct-to-consumer healthcare sector. “Our top priority is always serving our patients. We knew we needed a logistics partner who shared that commitment and had the experience and expertise to execute,” recalls Tom Healy, Global Director of Strategy, Technology and Asset Management at Cepheid.

Direct-to-Consumer Healthcare Logistics Ready in Record Time

The company was impressed with SCI’s end-to-end healthcare specific 3PL services, including GMP-compliant warehouses, pick, pack and ship services and sophisticated inventory control. In addition, SCI’s experience carefully handling direct-to-consumer healthcare related products was a big plus.

Cepheid also needed a 3PL partner that could support the repackaging and labelling of products as well as shifting customer requirements during critical infection outbreaks. SCI’s experience with managing medical devices and their adherence to supply chain compliance requirements demonstrated they were up to the task. SCI also had recent experience managing critical personal protective equipment and diagnostic devices supply chain compliance for both the Canadian government and a large social services organization during the COVID-19 pandemic.

SCI offered an experienced project team and proven processes to support the complex EDI implementation and back-end integration with Cepheid’s ERP system. “SCI not only understood our business but helped us navigate local requirements and had the warehouse solution and IT capable systems ready to go two weeks ahead of schedule,” recalls Prasanna Havinal Global ERP Manager for Cepheid.

Supporting explosive growth

In late 2021, demand for Cepheid’s diagnostic kits exploded, and SCI’s operations were immediately mobilized to scale quickly and meet the unforeseen order volumes.

As a new business in Canada, Cepheid staff depended on SCI to help it confront start-up challenges with flexible support. For example, global supply chain conditions meant a shifting mix of inbound parcel and pallet shipments, while outbound shipping windows were changing by the hour and a large pending Canadian Government contract was being booked for COVID – 19 test kits.

“Cepheid and SCI worked together to deliver a direct-to-patient supply chain solution and executed a flawless implementation in a very short development cycle.”

- Tom Healy, Global Director of Strategy, Technology and Asset Management, Cepheid

In addition to managing the fluid logistics situation, the SCI operations team built and integrated a custom performance management solution that let Cepheid’s supply chain and executive teams manage critical performance metrics in real time.

“Cepheid was very clear about their needs and worked side by side with our team to find new ways to continuously improve processes”, remembers Peter Tostevin, Vice President of SCI’s healthcare division. “They constantly challenged our team to align with their mission of finding ‘a better way’ to get these important products to end users.”

Teaming up for success

Thanks to a smooth implementation, Cepheid was able to meet the growing demand for its COVID-19 tests and other diagnostic products.

Direct to consumer healthcare Cepheid

Another key success factor was the strong relationships between SCI’s IT, account management, operations and executive teams and their counterparts at Cepheid. These relationships were crucial for helping the company navigate Health Canada compliance requirements and to continuously streamline processes while keeping the project on track.

“We were racing against time to get our solutions into the hands of healthcare workers so they could keep Canadian patients safe.” Recalls Tom Healy Global Director of Strategy, Technology and Asset Management at Cepheid.  “The SCI healthcare logistics team was responsive and flexible and supported us throughout this incredibly successful operational launch.”

“We also can confirm in many cases that SCI’s ability to execute warehouse services for the
shipment of COVID-19 test kits provided the critical diagnosis required to save patients. SCI
should be very proud that the solution they have put in place has made a real difference within the Canadian market.”

- Tom Healy, Global Director of Strategy, Technology and Asset Management, Cepheid
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Supporting Saysh’s D2C Fulfillment with the Section 321 Exemption

E-commerce sales continue to soar globally as online shopping becomes faster, more accessible, and more convenient. Alongside this growth, smart direct to consumer retailers are looking for ways to take additional costs out of the supply chain without sacrificing customer experience. One strategy where brands are seeing strong results is cross-border shipping using the Section 321 exemption in the Canada-US-Mexico free trade agreement. This agreement allows small consumer orders to enter the US from Canada duty free.

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At SCI Our People Make Us, and Our Clients, Even Better

At SCI, we’ve been putting people first for over 30 years. Our 3,000+ employees are the reason why we are Canada’s leading business to consumer supply chain partner.

We make our clients even better by working as an extension of their organization to successfully fulfill their promises to their customers.

Watch the full video below to see how we empower our employees to shape our award-winning culture, whether by sending a recognition kudos card, celebrating each other’s culture through employee driven engagement activities, or submitting ideas for continuous improvement.

Our employees show up every day exemplifying our culture pillars of:

  • Building trust
  • Embracing change
  • Achieving goals, together

In this video you’ll hear directly from employees about SCI’s collaborative spirit that helps us achieve amazing results for our clients, as well as the opportunities given to our employees to learn and grow.

At SCI you’ll be seen and heard, develop as an individual, and make an impact. We’ll let you shine. Work with us and we’ll make you even better!

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Webinar: What does Section 321 Mean for D2C Brands?

Section 321 is a legislation that provides customs duty and tariff exemptions for shipments of merchandise imported from Canada or Mexico into the United States that is worth less than $800 USD per day. In this webinar experts from SCI, ChannelApe, and Darnit share unique strategies on how your e-commerce retail brand can leverage Section 321 to maximize your margins.

You will learn:

  • What Section 321 is and what kind of companies can benefit from duty elimination
  • How brands can save money on import taxes by using the Section 321 exemption
  • How using Section 321 can maximize your customer reach
  • How Section 321 can strengthen your logistics and supply chain management as well as boost your customer order efficiency
  • How the Section 321 end-to-end process works

Watch the full webinar below.

At SCI, our team of Section 321 North American supply chain consultants will support you from start to finish to help reduce import duty tariff costs and comply with non-resident trade regulations. Reach out to a Section 321 consultant today to learn more about the process and where to begin.

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Tips on How to Manage Different Levels of Supply Chain Crises

Over the past few years nearly everyone has felt the effects of widespread supply chain disruptions happening on a global and local scale. News reports of container shortages were soon followed by empty shelves at grocery stores. The micro-chip shortage has resulted in a back-log in automobile manufacturing and a scarcity of available cars. These scenarios, among many others, have shown just how dependent the world is on efficient and robust supply chains.

The primary cause for several of the supply chain disruptions the world is seeing is the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, however there are many other contributing factors. These include continuing labour issues, reduced availability of commercial real estate, increased tariffs, and damaged infrastructure caused by natural disasters. This is in addition to the everyday localized problems supply chain teams are regularly dealing with such as technology issues, or inclement weather.

Fortunately, there are ways to plan against differing levels of crises, according to SCI’s VP of Technology, Peter Collier. At the Canadian Rural & Remote Broadband (CRRB) Community Conference, Peter breaks down three levels of crises a company may experience relating to their supply chain and provides suggestions on how to minimize the impacts of each level, with recommendations your business can use the next time you face a supply chain crisis.

Watch the full keynote address below.

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One Million Masks Coalition – Case Study

As the COVID-19 pandemic tightened its grip on British Columbia in early 2021, the BC government implemented a mandatory face-covering policy to access both travel systems and all public spaces throughout the province. Many low-income people were faced with a dilemma: They relied on public transit to get to work, school and access essential services, but found it difficult to afford or obtain the face masks needed to travel safely.

United Way, Deloitte, TransLink, OEC, YVR, BC Ferries, BCAA, SCI and BC Transit recognized that they all had a part to play in using the resources available to them to come together to help those in need.

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