Health Systems Move to Creative Warehousing Solutions in Response to COVID-19

NORTHFIELD, Ill., April 13, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Medline today announced preliminary results of a supply chain and advanced logistics solution…

NORTHFIELD, Ill., April 13, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Medline today announced preliminary results of a supply chain and advanced logistics solution created during the pandemic for the many customers working to improve their ability to handle future emergencies. Shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE) during the initial COVID-19 outbreak put a spotlight on the need for health systems to have large reserves of gear available, often more than they know how to manage.

Buying and stockpiling

After initial shortages, 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

In response to this complication, Medline’s supply chain optimization (SCO) and logistics team worked closely with individual healthcare facilities to create a new way to manage, store and deliver customer-owned inventory. Medline’s investments in over 23 million square feet of medical-grade distribution space have allowed for the handling of more than 300,000 square feet of customer-owned inventory.

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

In the case of one system based in Ohio, 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

Leaders of post-acute facilities have begun investing in 3PL solutions as well. Encompass Health, a network of 137 inpatient rehabilitation hospitals across 35 states, found itself in a similar conundrum 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. 

Ready to respond

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. 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.  

“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 at https://www.medline.com/pages/supply-chain.

About Medline

Medline is a healthcare company: a manufacturer, distributor and solutions provider focused on improving the overall operating performance of healthcare. Medline works with both the country’s largest healthcare systems and independent facilities across the continuum of care to provide the clinical and supply chain resources required for long-term financial viability in delivering high quality care. With the size of one of the country’s largest companies and the agility of a family-owned business, Medline is able to invest in its customers for the long-term and rapidly respond with customized solutions. Headquartered in Northfield, Ill., Medline has 27,000+ employees worldwide, a fleet of more than 1,200 trucks and does business in over 90 countries. Learn more about Medline at www.medline.com.

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SOURCE Medline