To further support the long-term needs of healthcare providers, Medline opened five newly constructed distribution centers in 2021, and two more are slated for completion in 2022. The newest LEED-certified distribution center, set to be fully operational during the first quarter of 2022, is located in Richmond Hill, Georgia, less than 30 miles from the Port of Savannah, the single largest and fastest growing container terminal in America.
The new distribution center in Richmond Hill is the latest in a larger transship center strategy and part of Medline’s Healthcare Resilience Initiative, a national capital expenditure campaign that included $1.5 billion in new distribution centers, manufacturing capabilities and information technology (IT) upgrades to further their commitment to delivering superior customer service. Since 2018, the Medline Healthcare Resilience Initiative has delivered approximately 8,500 new jobs, eight new distribution centers, nearly 150 manufacturing expansion projects and a new global digital customer ordering platform.
Richmond Hill location hedges risk
“There has been a lot of talk about how supply chain shortages are impacting the retail industry, but you aren’t hearing as much about the risk they place on the healthcare industry,” said Bill Abington, president of operations for Medline. “The reality is, hospitals, surgery centers, nursing homes, and providers across the entire continuum of care are feeling these disruptions, and Medline is continuing to invest to mitigate any impacts felt today and ensure product availability for the long-term.”
Medline’s strategy to build long-term resilience in the supply chain includes hedging future port disruption risks by expanding their distribution options to have transship operations located at all of the largest ports across the U.S. The company already has transship centers close to ports in Northern and Southern California, as well as the Northeast in New York and New Jersey. The expansion of the transship center near the Port of Savannah will provide more options to support customers in key cities throughout the Southeast and Midwest, and the Port’s advanced capabilities and automation will allow Medline to triple its import volume into the region.
Enabling strategic stockpiling
Due to industry-wide supply chain disruptions, stockpiling has become essential for healthcare resilience. Richmond Hill’s facility will provide an additional 1.2 million square feet of space to stockpile needed supplies for customer distribution centers throughout the region – bringing Medline’s total medical-grade U.S. warehousing footprint to more than 27 million square feet. This enables Medline’s nationwide disaster preparedness capacity, allowing the company to provide inventory management services, expand customized third-party logistics (3PL) capabilities, and further support Medline’s CERT™ (Customer Emergency Response Tools) program – a subscription-based service to store and manage critical emergency inventory.
Speedy delivery key to success
A portion of the new distribution center will be leased to FedEx Ground, an integral partner in Medline’s logistics operations, expanding service to a growing customer base for both companies along the eastern seaboard. With access to I-16 (East/West) and I-95 (North/South), the Richmond Hill location will provide the ability to reach key cities throughout the U.S. Southeast and Midwest within a one- to two-day drive.
“Not only will FedEx Ground’s space within the building help enable Medline deliveries to regional customer distribution centers, but the Port of Savannah terminal also provides direct access to two Class I railroads for our intermodal cargo,” said Mike Collins, vice president of operations for Medline. “In addition, the Port of Savannah’s Mid-American Arc initiative will further expand their intermodal capabilities throughout the Midwest and East Coast, and with access to 63% of the U.S. population in under three days, the Port of Savannah offers us even more choices for reaching inland markets.”
Anticipating future state
The company plans to make additional investments in 2022 as part of Medline’s Healthcare Resilience Initiative, which includes continued work on distribution center projects underway, supply-and-demand planning technology, and additional manufacturing expansions and upgrades.
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