MedTrans: A healthcare supply chain differentiator
By Medline Newsroom Staff | October 6, 2022
In 2002, Medline began delivering products in the Chicagoland area with a single truck. Today, Medline’s MedTrans transportation fleet has grown to more than 1,500 vehicles, delivering nearly 80% of Medline U.S. product sales and providing consistent, exceptional end-to-end supply chain service.
“MedTrans is a differentiator for us,” said Jeff Brennan, Medline senior vice president of outbound transportation. “Within the healthcare supply chain, delivery is the last critical piece in getting much-needed products to our customers. And what Medline has found is that when we have more direct control over all aspects of our supply chain, we see better results.”
“One thing we talk about all the time with our customers is how valuable it is that Medline owns the entire start to finish as far as the supply chain goes,” said Brooke Duval, Medline account executive, Acute Care. “And a big piece of that is MedTrans. For customers, knowing that we’re in control of product deliveries, and the trucks that they’re being put on, is a huge value add that Medline is able to provide.”
Growing to meet evolving customer needs
Medline has the largest owned transportation fleet of any healthcare product distributor in the U.S. And MedTrans has grown along with Medline over the past two decades, doubling the size of its fleet every five years, and continuing to diversify its vehicles and strategies to meet the company’s evolving portfolio of more than 300,000 products.
“Medline’s ability to contact its MedTrans counterpart to adjust on the fly, or address a potential challenge, is a differentiator in its own right.”
Medline Executive Account Director, Acute Care
The current MedTrans fleet is comprised of semitrucks, box trucks and cargo vans to accommodate large and small deliveries. MedTrans delivers supplies to major hospital and healthcare systems, as well as ambulatory surgery centers, long-term care facilities, clinics, physician offices and more recently, residential homes.
“As Medline continues to evolve, the types of products that we’re delivering are changing as well,” said Casey Guth, Medline executive account director, Acute Care.
Twenty years ago, Medline products were “the essential items used day in and day out,” said Guth. Today, Medline’s portfolio has expanded to include “more clinically sensitive” products, including surgical supplies that may be needed “the same day as delivery, or within a few hours.”
And having a private delivery fleet allows Medline to pivot as needed, providing customers with timely and innovative solutions.
of Medline U.S. product sales are delivered by MedTrans
“Medline’s ability to contact its MedTrans counterpart to adjust on the fly, or address a potential challenge, is a differentiator in its own right,” said Guth.
The resiliency of Medline drivers
Medline employs more than 1,500 MedTrans drivers, who are responsible for day-to-day medical supply deliveries, said Brennan. These drivers also are “the face of Medline” at loading docks throughout the U.S.
“MedTrans drivers are focused on taking care of the customers, and ultimately, the patients,” Brennan continued, often requiring them to meet a broad range of challenges and “variables” while on the road.
“In the Midwest, when there’s a snowstorm and there’s six or 12 inches of snow on the ground, our MedTrans drivers tend to rally together,” said Guth. “They know they’re not delivering pizzas. They’re delivering medical supplies that support our families, our friends. They know they need to get the product to our customers so clinicians have what they need to deliver care.”
The importance and dedication of MedTrans drivers were never more evident than during the pandemic.
Medline has the largest owned transportation fleet of any U.S. healthcare product distributor
“Our MedTrans drivers had to go out into a world that was completely locked down and still try to function as normally as possible,” said Brennan. “They didn’t skip a beat. It was quite amazing to see how they reacted and responded, and it wasn’t easy.”
“It was tough, but we got the job done,” said MedTrans Lead Driver Julio Hernandez. “We work for a medical supplier, and it’s a source of pride for us to make sure that everyone gets their deliveries on time.”
Safety and sustainability
In addition to providing accurate and timely medical supply delivery, MedTrans is committed to safety and sustainability.
“We need to protect the assets we have, we need to protect our team members, and we need to protect the communities we serve,” said Brennan. “I appreciate our drivers and how safe they are in our communities. They have a big responsibility with the heavy equipment that they’re driving, and the safety aspect is fundamental for us.”
“There’s no challenge that we won’t face, and there’s no goals that we won’t go after. And that speaks a lot to the organization and our MedTrans team.”
Medline Sr. Vice President of Outbound Transportation
MedTrans also seeks to minimize the impact of its deliveries on the environment. This includes implementing across-the-board fuel and emissions-reduction standards and practices: utilizing Dynamic Route Planning to reduce miles and improve trailer utilization; purchasing the most efficient diesel-fueled trucks; and incentivizing all drivers to avoid hard stops, heavy acceleration, high speeds and long periods of idling. Medline also has served as an Environmental Protection Agency SmartWay® Transport partner for the past 10 years, tracking and sharing information on the company’s fuel use and freight emissions.
In 2021, as part of a pilot program with Volvo Trucks, MedTrans began utilizing a fully electric semitruck to make deliveries to hospital systems in Southern California.
Brennan says the growth and success of MedTrans is a reflection of the “entrepreneurial spirit” at Medline.
“What’s been so nice about this past 20 years is the entrepreneurial spirit here; it never stops. There’s no challenge that we won’t face, and there’s no goals that we won’t go after. And that speaks a lot to the organization and our MedTrans team.”
Learn more about how Medline provides end-to-end supply chain ownership.
Medline Newsroom Staff
Medline Newsroom Staff
Medline's newsroom staff researches and reports on the latest news and trends in healthcare.