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UPS seeks to disrupt implantable medical device supply chain

But without manufacturer buy-in, uptake appears to be slow

UPS is rolling out several new tools in an attempt to broaden its business in the implantable medical device supply chain — a play that will require convincing device companies to move away from a sales representative delivery model.

The tools, part of a partnership with logistics companies WebOps and Baxter Planning, seek to allow better insight into surgery schedules, physician preferences and inventory management to streamline logistics planning and “final-mile” services.

The goal is to move the transport of implantable medical devices to a model where specialized fulfillment centers can coordinate delivery of surgical kits and implantable medical devices to multiple hospitals to cut down on idle inventory. But buy-in from device manufacturers appears to still be a question mark, with the existing sales representative model deeply ingrained.

UPS first announced in 2015 that it would be investing in a healthcare-compliant network of 36 cGMP-compliant field stocking locations to support implantable medical device deliveries to expand its healthcare footprint, which one company executive said is one of the company’s five core areas of focus.

David O’Leary, vice president of operations, UPS global logistics and distribution, told Healthcare Dive the goal of the distribution network was to be able to service 80% of hospitals within four hours.

“Today, in those field stocking locations, what we typically do is store these implantable medical devices for a delivery to hospitals for surgeries; it could be a one or two hour delivery for trauma surgery, or it could be a planned surgery where we are going to put it into a routed network and get it to the hospital in time,” O’Leary said.


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