Medical logistics during the pandemic: ‘We went from a few parcels a day to several full pallets’

During the lockdown, when hospitals were under pressure and could only carry out only emergency operations, the turnover of distributor Medical Logistics (MedLog) in Mechelen quickly plummeted by up to 90%. With the arrival of a new client, the service provider managed to recover from this low point at the middle of the crisis and even headed towards a new high point.

Warehouse with robots
Filip's company focuses on serving B2B suppliers in the medical sector. Their slogan is Your customer, our care. “We ensure that companies can focus entirely on their products,” he explains. “They can leave everything else to us, including storage, order intake, distribution of goods, and even the entirety of their customer communication. As an example, we deliver pacemakers, stents, and catheters to hospitals – even to their surgeries. That is why we handle everything in our warehouse down to the finest details. Our intake zone is hermetically sealed, the ambient temperature is continually monitored, and our cleaning robots disinfect the area on a daily basis.”

All hands on deck during the coronavirus crisis
In 2019, Medical Logistics was growing at a rapid pace after operating for a number of years. “We were growing so rapidly that my wife quit her job to manage this operation.” We also relocated to a larger building in Mechelen. That upward development kept going, until the end of February. Due to the increasing pressure placed on care, surgeries were limited to emergency operations. We were suddenly confronted with nothing to do on four out of five weekdays. The remaining deliveries in that period mostly ensured that urgent vascular operations could take place. While this was of the utmost importance, it wasn't enough to ensure we could make a living.”

We were saved when a prospect contacted us: an importer from Israel was looking for a company in the Benelux to distribute face masks and gloves made of nitrile or latex. The specialist services that Medical Logistics offered were seen as too expensive. “We offer ‘white glove service’.” It's pricey, but it means that – together with DHL Parcel – we can deliver within 24 hours. This was what closed the deal with the client.”

DHL Parcel's flexibility helped us in a big way. I am very proud of this story.
Filip Wautelet - CEO Medical Logistics MedLog

One truck, please
The demand for face masks increased exponentially. “It was difficult to predict precise volumes at the outset,” explains Filip. “Companies first cautiously ordered a few boxed. The large orders followed later on. For a while our demand was effectively too large for the panel truck, but too small for a heavy truck. Logistically speaking, it was an interesting challenge.”

“In these kinds of situations, we are happy to offer advice,” explains Gerry Hoefs – DHL Parcel's personal account manager for Medical Logistics. “We had to maintain a close partnership to ensure all deliveries were made on time.” Filip approved of that approach. “Thanks to Gerry, we were able to quickly adapt. We were in contact every day to submit the expected numbers and to coordinate which vehicle to use. This meant that we were able to arrange a solution in no time at all, every time.”

Perfect logistics partnership
For Filip, it's only natural that DHL Parcel has been the transporter of choice for Medical Logistics. “They offer fantastic service at great shipping rates, what else could you want? The couriers always come for the daily pick-up, in the good times and the bad. Additionally, flexibility is a core part of our own service. Companies that have that same mentality are a good match for us. This restart was hugely important for us. It is fantastic to see that we managed to achieve this together. This is what being partners is all about.”

Meanwhile, MedLog has also started distributing test kits to hospitals, pharmacies, general practitioners and residential care centers. With the logistics support of DHL of course.

Do you need smart transport as well?
Companies operating in healthcare know that every delivery could save lives. Non-emergency shipments also have to get to their destinations without issue as well. DHL Parcel would be happy to advise you on how you can quickly deliver to your business or consumer customers, whether for a number of parcels or for several pallets. Read more about our logistics for the healthcare industry.


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