CASE STUDY: Real-Time Tracking Helps Save Time-Critical, Temperature-Sensitive Shipments
Since its founding in 1984, Mercury has made great strides to simplify the shipping process for Healthcare & Life Sciences, Professional Services, and Technology companies. Today, its flexible, comprehensive solutions—notably in express package and specialty cold chain services—bridge the gap to deliver time-critical shipments to end customers in 236 countries and territories. That kind of growth and success is achieved via stellar management, access to personal customer service through a single point of contact, and innovative supply chain partnerships—such as the one Mercury has with Tive. The partnership’s roots can be traced to 2021, when Mercury CEO Josh Medow reached out to Tive to discuss improving the end-to-end visibility of time-critical shipments—and how to do so safely. Unable to track shipment locations in real time, Mercury could not help its clients prevent the delay of patient surgeries; it needed real-time tracking and a temperature monitoring solution.
From a diagnostic kit, surgical implant, or a legal document shipped via priority overnight to a crated prosthetic device shipped via air freight, clients rely on Mercury to serve as or complement their shipping department. Because the shipments are time-critical and customer-specific, providing a flexible, single solution presented several challenges:
The Mercury team relied on tracking information provided by carriers and could not pinpoint the exact location and condition of shipments in real-time. It was not easy to ensure deliveries were made to the right person or building. Furthermore, there were no guarantees that shipments would arrive intact and usable without the ability to monitor temperatures, exposure to humidity and light, or an impact/shock event.
Members of Mercury’s staff were constantly trying to keep in touch with carriers, with much of their time spent trying to get updates on shipments, but often going hours without any feedback. The constant need to chase the status of shipments took staff away from other business-related tasks.
A lack of real-time visibility hindered Mercury’s ability to attract and retain clients with critical shipments because of concerns over meeting deadlines—especially when delivering medical devices. Approximately 6–10% of shipments by major carriers aren’t delivered on time, and 10–20% of shipments experience problems. Mercury is there to help its clients but needed access to more specific information about a package’s location.
Mercury considered four potential partners and ultimately chose Tive for several reasons:
Its GPS trackers are compact, affordable, available for single or multi-use, and feature a one-button interface that makes them easy to use.
The trackers stay attached to time-critical shipments until their destination, providing shipment data directly to customers at every step.
Tive’s cloud application sends custom notifications when issues arise.
Many of Mercury’s shipments use dry ice or phase change materials (PCMs). Mercury attaches Tive trackers to the outside of a box to monitor temperature changes. In the event of a temperature excursion, team members can quickly identify a problem with the dry ice or PCM.
Mercury is using Tive trackers for its most time-critical customer shipments. As many as 15 Mercury team members know how to set up the trackers and send a link to customers so they can monitor their shipments in real-time.
“Tive trackers on time-critical packages, particularly medical devices going to a hospital or university, have helped Mercury direct carriers to the right building and the right floor when they are on hospital or university grounds. This means we can ensure packages get to their exact location on time.”
Josh Medow CEO, Mercury
Tive trackers are widely used by Mercury for NFO (Next Flight Out) time-critical airfreight shipments. For instance, surgical implants often are needed the next day. The sensors on Tive trackers monitor temperature, humidity, shock absorption, and light exposure. That final piece—light exposure—is vital, as it helps provide confirmation that the package arrived and opened at its intended destination.
Tive Tracker Saves the Day
A medical implant needed for surgery the following day did not arrive as scheduled. A Tive tracker immediately identified the real-time location, a building across the street from the hospital. A medical device salesperson retrieved the package and brought it to the hospital in time for the surgery. This technology resulted in a favorable outcome for the patient and helped Mercury retain a customer they may have otherwise lost.
“Tive has helped Mercury attract and retain companies that have critical shipments.”