Medline strengthens domestic healthcare supply chain with $1.5 billion investment
Healthcare Resilience Initiative spread across three years focused on evolving industry, customer needs
By Medline Newsroom Staff | May 3, 2021
Medline today announced the results of a three-year national capital expenditure campaign to support the long-term needs of healthcare providers that included $1.5 billion in new distribution centers, manufacturing capabilities and IT upgrades for an improved ecommerce experience. The Medline Healthcare Resilience Initiative (HRI) spanned dozens of Medline divisions over the course of 2018-2020, culminating in approximately 8,500 new jobs, eight new distribution centers, nearly 150 manufacturing expansion projects and a new global digital customer ordering platform.
“Our ability to be flexible for healthcare providers has been a direct result of our ongoing planning for the future. We know we can make healthcare run better by answering and anticipating the needs of customers,” said Charlie Mills, chief executive officer of Medline. “Our investment initiative lets us plan for the future so we can care for providers and our communities for many years to come.”
Operations: Expanding distribution
The company opened eight newly constructed distribution centers over the past three years that created more than 6,500 jobs in construction and nearly 2,000 jobs in distribution which includes operations and product delivery, referred to as MedTrans. Over the next four years the company plans to add more than 10 million square feet in warehouse space. With seven of the medical-grade distribution centers strategically set to open this year in key markets, the company is on track to be a leading healthcare partner in the new construction landscape in the United States with all buildings designed to meet LEED standards.
The new location in Grayslake, Ill. is estimated to be the largest medical-grade distribution center in the world. Other distribution centers on track to complete in 2021 are:
- Hammond, La.
- Mebane, N.C.
- Montgomery, N.Y.
- Richmond Hill, Ga.
- Southaven, Miss.
- St. Peters, Mo.
By continuing to further control the delivery to customers with Goods-to-Person technologies and expanding its private fleet to more than 1,200 MedTrans trucks, Medline enabled:
- Better overall building utilization
- Pick/pack/ship nearly 2-3 times faster than manual method
- 24-hour turnarounds from order receipt to customer delivery
- Improved accuracy of deliveries to customers by over 20 percent
- Increased resilience with proprietary technology solutions and cybersecurity
“Our entire Operations Team is dedicated to the mission of improving patient care and the quality of people’s lives,” said Bill Abington, executive vice president of Global Operations for Medline. “Every team member, from our distribution center operators and fleet drivers to our leadership team have this same mission, and know they are integral to the success of healthcare. The investments we are making to deliver the supplies healthcare providers need in good times and bad means we can stay even more connected to providers and their patients. With these investments, we can deliver products to 98 percent of U.S. customers within two to four hours.”
20+ manufacturing facilities
Over the past three years, Medline has also expanded manufacturing capabilities across North America. Most recently, Medline expanded its manufacturing facility in Lithia Springs, Ga. as part of its North American Manufacturing Expansion (NAME) initiative to produce face masks with a mix of foreign and domestic materials, its first time manufacturing them in the United States. In 2021, the company plans to install a second line and ultimately anticipates producing more than 36 million face masks per month.
Other HRI investment highlights through 2018-2020 include:
- New manufacturing of hand sanitizer in Hartland, Wisc.
- Expansion of manufacturing of hand sanitizer gel packets during the height of pandemic in Meriden, Conn.
- NAMIC brand of fluid management systems upgrades
- Expansion of Medline ReNewal medical device reprocessing
“We are proud of our vast manufacturing footprint across the country,” said Mills. “When the pandemic hit, we were able to nimbly pivot to modify our plants to manufacture critically needed PPE for healthcare providers. Being a privately-owned business lets us be responsive and take a longer-term view of our investments so we can support near-term and long-term needs of healthcare.”
Medline has made investments to simplify and strengthen how the company works with customers, suppliers and employees. The company reported a 102 percent increase in IT jobs over the past three years with a focus on data integrity. Additionally, teams supported stages of a comprehensive system overhaul to consolidate manufacturing plant systems.
“Resiliency impacts every facet of healthcare from healthcare providers to those in their care. We can better prepare for today and the challenges ahead when we invest in the backbone of healthcare,” said Mills.
Sustainability: Socially responsible capital expenditures
Medline is also focusing on investing in renewable energy to offset its carbon footprint in communities across the country. In 2018, the company installed more than 3,100 solar panels at its Tracy, Calif. distribution center to generate power equivalent to 74 percent of the one million square foot facility’s usage. In 2020, Medline invested more than $1.6 million to install solar panels on the rooftop of its 680,000-square-foot headquarters in Northfield, Illinois.
“Our solar portfolio will triple in size by the middle of 2022 with planned installations in Montgomery, New York and Uxbridge, Massachusetts,” said Hannah Anderson, sustainability specialist at Medline. “We are proud that these sites are expected to be among the largest solar rooftop systems in these states.”
2021-2023: Anticipating future state
The company plans to invest an additional $500 million in 2021 as part of HRI, which includes work on nine new distribution center projects underway, supply-and-demand planning technology and additional manufacturing expansions and upgrades.
Learn more about how Medline makes healthcare run better.