UPS offers holistic healthcare service
Leading companies like UPS think it is crucial to nurture healthcare. Jan Denecker, Healthcare Marketing Director, UPS Europe and Rob Funke, Contract Manager, UPS Healthcare, share their views on this topic.
What brought you to enter healthcare?
Rob Funke: There are different reasons for entering healthcare. The segment has become a strategic priority for UPS, where we continue to invest in. We have invested in this segment with acquisitions, developing strategies, and bringing healthcare expertise.
The healthcare industries in terms of supply chain and logistics is very complex. The main problem that industry is facing today, across the world, is we have to work with fewer resources, be it financial resources or skilled people. On the other hand, need for healthcare is increasing due to several reasons like ageing population or increase of chronic diseases worldwide. Moreover, this significant increase of chronic diseases is expected to increase further over the next 1015 years. In the healthcare industry, everything has to do with logistics, be it stock management, getting the product at the right place and at the right time, all of that needs to be managed. At UPS, we are bringing technology that can benefit healthcare industry and other reliable services to manage the supply chain.
The other trends that are adding to the complexity because of fewer resources and more need for healthcare is more regulatory scrutiny. And, that’s again a trend that is happening everywhere. We see that more pharmaceutical products are temperature sensitive. Hence, this increases the burden of managing controlled temperature through the supply chain. In Europe, we have Goods Distribution Practices that expects all the stakeholders to manage cold chain. The other part is about distribution channels; there is lot of distribution into pharmacies or hospitals often through local distributors or wholesalers. Many healthcare suppliers are also trending towards more direct distribution channels that is either directly from the supplier to the hospitals or from the supplier to the pharmacy and even from the supplier to the patient. All these different distribution channels also need to be properly managed not only from the efficiency perspective but also other aspects because direct delivery to patient requires to overcome supply chain challenges. What is the USP of European Healthcare facility, Netherlands?
Jan Denecker: Its strategic location; the facility is built in close proximity to UPS’s European air hub, allowing for short transit times, including next-day and two-day service to global destinations. Over the last seven to eight years, we have developed our network starting from Netherlands to Cologne. We have further developed our network to Spain, Italy, Central & Eastern Europe, where we complemented the European distribution centre with kind of satellite healthcare facilities and that’s why we have invested in different warehouses through acquisitions. We also include Regulatory Affairs and Quality Assurance experts.
We also have healthcare dedicated UPS vehicle that are temperature controlled to handle and deliver only healthcare products We have invested in this segment with acquisitions, developing strategies, and bringing healthcare expertise
Why UPS has chosen Marken for healthcare segment?
Rob Funke: We have acquired Marken to expand healthcare logistics services on clinical trials side. It has important capabilities and credibility in this space. The company is a provider of global supply chain solutions for the life sciences industry based in Durham, NC and London, England. Clinical trials require strict regulatory compliance, streamlined logistics services, and global reach, which is where Marken’s operations of a global network of clinical supply chain services to meet increasingly complex customer demands, makes it a good fit. What are your recent developments?
Jan Denecker: Our recent development is Packaging Centre. We have a packaging centre in Netherlands also, but that is basically temperature sensitive packaging; most of which is single use that is delivered to hospital or provider. Once the product is unwrapped the packaging is useless. It needs to be disposed of and this is complex because either the healthcare provider is asked to supplier to come and pick it up to dispose or hospital needs to manage it on their own which is again a burden on them. Moreover, that packaging is quite expensive. So, another development that we have launched from UPS perspective is providing solution with re-usable packaging which protect the product with a range of time and temperature requirements and then depending on the situation it will go to the supplier and then to the healthcare provider; he will take out the product and then return or reverse logistics kick in. We also have healthcare dedicated UPS vehicle that are temperature controlled to handle and deliver only healthcare products and these are not only being used to deliver in the UK to pharmacies or hospitals, but also direct to patients where our drivers our trained to go beyond threshold.
In terms of temperature sensitive packaging, we are working with partners who provide different technologies such as gel packs, dry ice and all of that can be managed depending on supplier requirements or expectations on the products. We also have device that correct temperature throughout the delivery process to make the product more customer specific.
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