DHL is using its global supply chain infrastructure to consolidate medical devices into a centralized distribution center to provide just-in-time shipments to hospitals.
The final-mile service, DHL said, helps reduce costs associated with transport between, and storage at, facilities managed by third-party vendors and hospitals. “With typically over half of their inventory in the field, this represents a significant company asset that could be better managed,” the express giant said.
Tim Slater, CEO of DHL Supply Chain Life Sciences, explained that DHL’s medical device final mile service eliminated the requirement for “just-in-case storage of medical devices.”
The new service, based largely on short-haul trucks, places consignment stocks outside of hospitals, at DHL’s facilities, and provides mission-critical availability of inventory on a same-day basis. By handing off storage, delivery and inventory to DHL, hospitals and their vendors are able to cut costs and focus on their strengths, which DHL says translates into better treatment and customer service.
“Sales reps can often spend 25 to 35 percent of their time on logistics tasks, such as replenishing surgery kits or receiving deliveries,” DHL said. “This is not the most effective use of a high-cost direct sales force.” In addition, DHL says that procurement departments are increasingly influential in buying decisions, which is decreasing the role of sales representatives.