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Case study

Big things come in small packages

Global materials producer benefits from sample fulfillment solution

Client background

A global science-based materials producer partners with Odyssey for sample fulfillment and logistics solutions.

We are set up for handling large quantities for shipment to our customers, but we didn’t have an effective sample program in place. We needed a customer-focused, cost-effective and safe solution.


When you are a global leader in developing innovative and sustainable solutions for today’s health and life challenges, you value expertise and technology. Those same assets contribute to this company’s strong market position.

Like many suppliers, the company used in-house resources for the shipping and handling of its sample products—a large portion of which were hazardous chemicals and materials requiring special care. Management discovered, however, that they had neither the knowledge nor the infrastructure required to package and ship hazardous material in the small sizes its customers need for their product testing.  They found both the expertise and technology they required at Odyssey.

Many of our customers are not going to purchase products without first testing a sample. We knew we had to find an easier way to meet that demand.

Odyssey’s experience in handling hazardous and non-hazardous materials, complying with regulations for ground and air shipping, and managing warehouse and distribution sites throughout the U.S., Europe and Asia has produced more than 4 million successful sample shipments.

The true cost of an in-house sample program

For suppliers handling their own sample fulfillment, the true cost of an in-house program quickly becomes apparent.

Labor – Sample fulfillment is labor-intensive, and when companies like this supplier ship hazardous material, special handling adds to the cost. To lower salary, benefits and other employer-related expenses, the company was seeking an alternative to their internal program.

Packaging and freight – The drums this supplier used for its regular shipments would not work for smaller sample sizes. Unfortunately, purchasing appropriately sized containers and packaging supplies for smaller units, plus hefty freight expenses for smaller shipments added huge costs.

One drum had the capacity for five years worth of samples. Add to that the special packaging and freight costs, and it became clear that handling sample fulfillment in-house was a real problem.

Odyssey is built for sample fulfillment and small package sales. From innovative technology to expert staff, they represent the logical solution to manufacturers looking for a partner that will extend their capabilities into that space without bringing operations in-house.

Technology is a major power source

Like many of Odyssey’s customers, this supplier’s Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system did not have the flexibility to handle the unique features of an efficient sampling program. What they needed was additional functionality without having to add IT resources or headcount. From robust order entry that tracks and creates processes, to quality control and distribution logistics, this supplier was looking to augment its own network capabilities.

Taking sample fulfillment to the next level

Using a proprietary data matrix bar code system and comprehensive inventory control that includes hazmat requirements and customized packaging and handling, Odyssey’s software systems integrate seamlessly with client platforms to deliver transparent services and capture valuable data.

Additional functionality produces customized smaller packaging and labeling with the client’s name, logo and message when products are ready to ship. Sample Guide technology provides detailed handling, packaging, and shipping instructions for each product.

More than software: It’s people

While successful businesses recognize technology enhances customer service, it’s people that make the real difference.  Odyssey trains its employees in chemical handling, safety, packaging, hazardous material shipping, and regulatory compliance.

Shared Resources –This supplier also benefits from access to Odyssey’s toll-free customer service lines for help with orders or other services. Inventory specialists use forecasting tools to produce reports, monitor product shelf life, and to order new stock. Product set-up specialists ensure the most current catalog products are always on hand.

Every step of the way, Odyssey’s deep bench expertise and leading-edge technology deliver better customer service, not only for this client, but for this client’s customers.

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