Sealed Air Product Care Division

Building the Cold Chain Business[1]: Materials > Solutions > Assurance

Plan Outline Preparation


1.  Overall: Create a Team. 

It will require more than one or two people to build the cold chain business for Product Care.  A development team must be built consisting of an increasing number of people that understand and are motivated by the vision.  

2.  Moving to Solutions: Managing Channel Conflict Potential[2]

a.      Establish a Breakout Unit.  This is a good solution for this type of situation.  See Attachment 4.

b.     Seek a Large Acquisition.  Evaluate possibilities of of buying companies active in the cold chain space whose size would dwarf the concern about channel conflict with Kevothermal, while creating a “home” for that business. 

c.      Recruit Private Equity Firms.  Develop a deal with one, or preferably more, private equity firms to assemble cold chain solutions companies ultimately on Product Care’s behalf. 

d.     Organic Growth.  Explore “big bite” growth of Kevothermal. 

e.      Explore Joint Ventures.  I realize these are hard to do well, but I think it would be a mistake not to consider them.  Just exploring them often yields useful market information. 

3.  Moving to Assurance: Role of Data. 

a.      Definition.  Develop the ability to assure clients that their cold-chain-dependent products will arrive within the required tolerances of all conditions specified. 

b.     Importance of Data.  This will require significant data and a well-refined ability to process, understand and communicate it.  

c.      Goal.  A detailed goal statement may be found as Attachment 1, which if it is deemed appropriate, will be the object of a contingency-rich strategy to be developed.

d.     Strategy.  The strategy for the data aspect of the plan would be similar to, and to some extent overlapping with, that enumerated above.

e.      Revenue-Led.  I will propose to develop revenue sources to accommodate the likely length of time to gather, analyze and communicate the data needed while “solutions” are developing.  Priorities of revenue generation sources would be (1) eventual (tie with “Demand Site, #4, below) and existing customers, (2) others in the cold chain, and (3) all others. 

f.      Existing Pieces.  The key issue with Ken, in addition to gaining his thoughts on this point, is to establish where pieces of the plan (i.e, sources of data) may already exist within the Division.  

4.  Demand Side: Developing Potential Customer Relationships. 

a.      Asking Questions.  It will almost certainly be important not to merely assume we know what problems our ultimate customers face; it will be important to develop relationships in the context of which we can ask good questions. 

b.     Surveys and Other Methods.  Attachment 2 outlines some ideas for developing such relationships. 

c.      Existing Pieces.  The key issue with Ken, in addition to gaining his thoughts on this point, is to know if this will be a “greenfield” effort or if there are people to whom Ken can introduce me to get started. 

5.  Resources / Contacts.  

a.      Efficiency.  To use time efficiently (I have no interest in empire-building!), I am interested in discussing resources that may be available. 

b.     Structure.  If a consultant, I would want to propose a budget for paying others to assist and if an employee, I would inquire as to what resources I would have at my disposal to take work direction. 

c.      Inside Contacts.  In either case, I will also need a map of sources of information Ken suggests within the Division and if applicable, the Company.  

d.     Key Relationships.  I understand Sealed Air has a close relationship with DHL and UPS.  Would Ken recommend that I speak to the person within the company responsible for those relationships? 

6.  Other

a.      Team Building.  As the first step in helping Ken build the team, (#1, above), I would need either or both of (a) you and/or Ken to provide an assessment of the personnel in Kevothermal, (b) an opportunity to meet first hand with Kevothermal to understand their strengths and weaknesses. 

b.     R&D.  Is there a systematic way of understanding the current and ongoing state of R&D of the relevant materials both internal to the company and externally (eg; Ken mentioned a dial-up version of a packaging product)? 

c.      Constituency Perception.  I will propose using CalibraxKPI™ to help manage the perceptions of the company as it makes progress in developing the cold chain business.  See Attachment 3. 

7.  Administrative

g.     Investment Authorization.  What will be the process for capital budgeting and acquisitions?

h.     Spending Authorization.  What is the process for expense authorization such as travel, studies, etc?

i.      Relationship Governance.  Will our relationship be governed by a contract? 



W. Barker




Attachment 1: Goal Statement for Data Business in Conjunction with Cold Chain Development

Attachment 2: Demand Side: Developing Potential Customer Relationships

Attachment 3: CalibraxKPI™

Attachment 4: Breakout Units



Attachment 1: Goal Statement for Data Business in Conjunction with Cold Chain Development

1.  Assurance.  Ultimately, we want to provide assurance:

a.      Conditions.  With respect to temperature, humidity, vibration, security, light, shock, pressure (“Conditions”)

b.     Service Level Assurance.  The objective would be to understand the overall risks sufficiently such that Sealed Air can assign -- on the basis of a rational economic risk sharing -- both to itself and others with which it is partnering, the management responsibilities and rewards of the cold chain of the future. 

c.      Requirements.  To do this, we will need certain detailed knowledge and access. 

2.  Knowledge.

a.      Statistics.  We would need statistics with respect to each element of each shipping lane (i.e., geography and mode of transport) around the world:

·       Frequency distributions pertaining to Conditions,

·       Protection characteristics with respect to the Conditions of each packing option available (recognizing that not all packing options are available yet for all transit lanes)

b.     Protection Need.  We would need protection need of each product to be shipped, which is a function of:

·       Intrinsic value of each product,

·       Risks tolerance for each (in terms of acceptable ranges for each of the Conditions), and,

·       The regulatory regimes in shipping lane destinations

c.      Costs.  We would need costs of various levels of protection and security:

·       Protection relative to the environment in which the product is shipped), and, security: relative to theft and counterfeiting)

·       Includes overt and covert possibilities

·       Subject to currency fluctuations

3.  Reliable Access

Reliable access required either through ownership or contractual agreements to companies/individuals that can:

–      Packing Optimization.  Optimize the packing solution for any shipping lane, risk tolerance and cost,

–      Pricing Options.  Provide that optimal packing solution at the prescribed cost, place and time and absorb the risk that the solution does not perform as prescribed, and,

–      Transport Options.  Transport the packed goods from origination to destination within the prescribed Conditions and absorb the risk that the transportation allows the goods being transported to vary from the prescribed Conditions. 

4.  Next Step: Strategy

We’ll gain such knowledge and access through a series of make, buy or rent agreements in the context of a contingency – rich strategy.   


Attachment 2: Demand Side: Developing Potential Customer Relationships[3]


Fact-Finding for Information-Intensive Businesses


This brief addresses the idea of surveys and other forms of gathering and assessing information for use in information-intensive businesses, all of which should be considered as a means of gathering information upon which to make business decisions.  The particular application is the survey that we have designed for Sealed Air’s use with the procurement departments of pharmaceutical companies[4]



While one could argue that all businesses today are information-intensive, the Sealed Air vision for its cold chain business requires particular sensitivity to information development and flow.  A good example of information needed is the price that procurement departments are willing to pay for offloading to a reliable vendor the costs and risks associated with the cold chain. 



Sealed Air’s objective with respect to pharmaceutical companies should be to develop a relationship whereby such information may be thoroughly understood.  This information is fundamental to being able to price “assurance” in a way to insure a reasonable profit for Sealed Air. 

Role of the Survey


Surveys are not well suited to develop all the information needed in general and in particular to meet this objective.  Accordingly, the survey we have designed for Sealed Air is intended to delve into administrative and third party related information, but more importantly, give Sealed Air the context in which to begin to develop a relationship that eventually may yield the more sensitive information (eg pricing) that Sealed Air needs. 

Survey Follow-ons and Alternatives


Surveys are the most common form of gathering information, which accounts for why there are several commercial formats for conducting them beyond the one we used (Google).  However, some argue that they are overused and that there are alternatives.  I’ve indicated with a “Cx” where our CalibraxKPI (see Attachment 3) has proven a cost-effective substitute or augmentation:





1.     Journey Mapping – Collaborative documentation of customer / vendor processes.

2.     Social Media – Third party platforms to solicit views of highly engaged online customers (Cx).

3.     Online Communities – Standing platform(s) for solicitation of views from highly engaged online customers.

4.     Online panels – Platforms developed episodically for solicitation of views from highly engaged online customers (Cx).

5.     Advisory Boards – Groups of senior customer personnel used to advise vendors regarding service development and provision.

6.     Ethnographic Research – Formal observation and analysis of customers using vendor products and services.

7.     Voice of the Customer Through Employees – Solicitation, organization and analysis of the views of customer-facing employees regarding vendor performance.

8.     Company Metrics – Insights secured through the correlation of known customer data with vendor’s financial and operational reports.

9.     Predictive Analytics – The use of statistical analysis to anticipate customer needs, reactions and behaviors (Cx).

10.  Text Analysis – Attempts to make sense of unstructured customer feedback whether online or otherwise (Cx). 


I have experience with 1, 2, 4, 5, 8, 9, 10.





[1] I will refer to the “cold chain” business because it is the informal standard.  The more formal standard refers to “Good Distribution Practices”. 

[2] We may be able to develop other options.  Not all will work, but that is the idea behind a contingency-rich strategy. 

[3] Framework provided by Walker Information; description and analysis by Barker Consulting Partners.

[4] I have identified via LinkedIn 28 procurement contacts at 22 pharmaceutical companies who are within my second-degree network and 325 procurement contacts in 132 pharmaceutical companies in my 3rd degree network(of many) itute or aureements.  s through a series