40+ health systems benefit from advanced logistics solution created during pandemic

Medline program offers flexibility, minimizes vulnerability

By Medline Newsroom Staff | April 15, 2021

Healthcare decision makers looking to improve their ability to handle future emergencies are seeing promising results of a Medline advanced logistics solution. The healthcare company this week shared preliminary results of the creative warehousing solution and how it’s designed to help keep things like personal protective equipment (PPE) available in large reserves.

Secure and stockpile

After initial shortages during the initial outbreak, systems went into a wave of buying and stockpiling, which subsequently put pressure on their supply chain. Some organizations found themselves with more than 5,000 pallets of PPE with little to no way to store it. This immediate reaction created a new challenge: identifying where it would all go.

3rd Party Logistics (3PL) storage solutions

Medline supply chain optimization (SCO) and logistics teams worked closely with individual facilities to create a new way to manage, store and deliver customer-owned inventory after hearing directly from healthcare provider partners. As part of the company’s investment to strengthen the healthcare supply chain to drive greater resilience, its footprint now encompasses more than 23 million square feet of medical-grade distribution space. This makes it possible to handle more than 300,000 square feet of customer-owned inventory.

More than 40 health systems across the United States are participating in the program which enables organizations to internally allocate and accurately forecast based on specific supply needs.

For one Ohio-based system, Medline’s 3PL solution helped it navigate physical space and distribution challenges brought on by COVID-19. Like many early on during the pandemic, the organization looked at any and all available market options for critical PPE and respiratory supplies resulting in overwhelmingly large pallet quantities.

Medline provided warehouse space to alleviate the issue. This freed system teams up to coordinate bulk buys on behalf of its entire system and deliver them to a single location. As individual facilities needed product, they could draw from that centralized inventory utilizing Medline’s distribution network. Supply chain leaders could once again focus on responding to immediate demands and spend less time organizing the procurement of constrained goods.

Effective across the continuum of care

Post-acute facility leaders are also seeing the value of a 3PL solution. Encompass Health, a network of 137 inpatient rehabilitation hospitals across 35 states, faced a similar dilemma early on in the pandemic.

They supplemented their PPE stockpiles by sourcing additional supply through non-traditional suppliers.  Medline stepped in and provided the support necessary to receive, store, break down, and ship out this critical inventory, ensuring hospitals had the products they needed when they needed them.

“Encompass Health has the freedom to continue sourcing from multiple suppliers, while also being able to quickly and easily change allocations by hospital when needs change. This program has been critical to building reserves to avoid future disruptions, and is designed to make sure we can keep our employees and patients safe,” said Elaine Prince, vice president of operations support, Encompass Health.

Responsive and agile

PPE stockpile and storage programs help facilities maintain the levels of inventory necessary to support hospital networks as well as prepare for the potential increase in COVID-19 cases this fall and winter. This program is the latest example of how Medline works to ensure essential equipment gets into the hands of clinicians and patients when they need it most.

“Medline’s advanced logistics programs are providing customers in all types of care settings the ability to maintain stocking levels of critical supplies. Even more importantly, due to the company’s investment in infrastructure, the supplies are located in close proximity to the customer, further strengthening the healthcare supply chain,” said Peter Saviola, vice president of supply chain optimization, Medline.

Read how Medline works with customers to support emergency preparedness goals.

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Medline Newsroom Staff

Medline Newsroom Staff

Medline's newsroom staff researches and reports on the latest news and trends in healthcare.

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