Rick Campbell

What are the benefits of using a shipment provider to deliver equipment?

May 22, 2014
By Rick Campbell

When you are a director of customer service for an innovator and manufacturer of medical equipment, such as heart pumps, you understand the importance of your equipment arriving on time, and you know that when it doesn't, people's lives are on the line.

Most hospitals utilize the just-in-time method of inventory control. This means at any one time, they may only have two or three heart pumps in stock. If the hospital has a higher than expected demand, the additional supply needs to reach them immediately. This calls for reliable courier service or next flight out.

One real world example took place in a Newark, New Jersey hospital. Three patients were on support at the same time. The hospital needed a heart pump unit immediately to ensure all three patients would receive the necessary care. The service provider was able to have a courier at the heart pump manufacturing company in an hour to pick up a unit and make it to the hospital without delay.

Besides regulating inventory levels, when a unit fails in the hospital, it needs to be replaced quickly. This also calls for superior turnaround delivery times.

In addition to reliable delivery, companies such as these need a logistics company that would actually go into the hospitals, uncrate the new equipment, crate the old equipment, and deliver the old unit back to the company regardless of the time of day-- or night.

A solution
The solution to both issues- reliability and inside deliveries, is working with an urgent shipment provider. A system needs to be put into place that allows for immediate courier service, for local and regional pickup and delivery. For national shipping needs, being able to utilize next flight out options ensure units arrive at hospitals as quickly as possible. In both cases, delivery times will decrease and customer satisfaction will increase.

By maintaining a close relationship with an urgent shipment provider, medical device manufactures can increase shipping reliability and provide their customers with inside delivery.

In addition, this should have a positive impact on customer service, shipping costs, and the customer base.

Inside delivery:
When working with an urgent shipment provider it is important to ensure that their team is trained on inside delivery, so they have the skills to take the heart pump units into the hospitals, uncrate them and crate the old or failed units and return them immediately back to the company.

This will improve customer relations because the units are arriving at the hospitals faster.

Increase sales and customer base:
When you are able to provide inside deliveries, there is a coordinating increase in sales. This is due to the fact that the transactions - from ordering of the unit to delivery for emergencies to removal of old units -becomes easier for the customer.

One urgent shipment user had this to say, "Over the years, our monthly revenue has increased from $50,000 a month to $1.5 million per month." While there are many factors that go into this increase, "The shipping process is vital to our business. Orders must be processed quickly and out the door. It is all very time sensitive."

New opportunities for field team:
Not all emergencies happen during business hours. That means the companies need access to logistic services after hours. The field team needs to be able to reach out to the shipping company regardless of the time of day to get a unit to the hospital that needs it without delay.

Rick Campbell is the Chief Executive Officer and President of ICAT Logistics which he founded in October 1993. His career started in 1982 with CF Airfreight. From there he assumed four different leadership roles over the next 5 years, and was also positioned as the Northeast Regional Cargo Manager at American Airlines.