What are Medical Logistics?
Looking at the frontline workers battling against mankind's worst diseases, we often overlook the fact that there are whole industries that provide background support. These can range from the researchers, manufacturing facilities, and the crucial transportation sector formed by a whole industry of logistic professionals. Understanding who and what makes up this industry as well as how they are able to send medical supplies across countries is crucial in times like these.
For the uninitiated, medical logistics can simply be explained as the transportation of medical supplies from the manufacturers to the medical professionals. But is it really so simple? No. In logistics, there are the shippers, carriers, truckers, and more that make up the supply chain. Likewise, the medical supply chain is subject to similar processes and likely has even more middlemen. So to navigate the deep waters of medical logistics, it's in your best interest to contact logistic experts known as freight forwarders.
Providing Medical Logistic Services
All transport companies that intend to provide medical logistic services should have these 3 requirements met before offering medical logistic services:
OSHA stands for Occupational Safety and Health Administration and represents a series of guidelines that must be met for all medical logistic companies. Beyond standard requirements for any company, these guidelines also specifically include a bloodborne-pathogen awareness program for medical couriers in the event of biohazard spillage and exposure. Making sure all OSHA requirements are met is important before providing medical logistic services or hefty penalties may occur.
Making sure your company is properly insured and bonded for any accidents is just standard practice for any medical logistic company. In this line of work, there is always a chance of transport damage or other unfortunate events. So being adequately protected is important.
Coming from either the logistic or healthcare industry, documentation is necessary for all aspects of the transport process. This can include everything from overseas customs clearance documents to delivery confirmations. Everything must be recorded and transparent.
Transporting medical supplies can be an easy or difficult affair depending on the cargo that is transported. For example, transporting scalpels for surgeons may only require careful packaging and handling. However, transporting blood or organs for transplant would require temperature-controlled containers and are also under time constraints. So the services offered by medical supply transporters could require the company to be specialized to provide that specific service.
For the sake of brevity, here are 5 points to keep in mind when choosing a medical logistic company:
One of the first things you want in a medical logistics company is to have a wide network that can reach the hospital and clinics you want. This requirement includes having a wide domestic coverage or even the capability to ship overseas.
You want to be able to have control over your shipments, so this is where tracking comes into play. A logistics company with a clear and sophisticated tracking system is very important because then you can know exactly where your shipment is in the transport process. In extreme cases, this could mean life or death for patients in hospitals and clinics. On a lighter note, you can rest easy with peace of mind knowing your shipment is on its way.
The cost of shipping can be prohibitive depending on the cargo being shipped and current shipping/freight rates. Just like how not every logistics company offers the same services, the same goes for rates. So finding one that is able to provide you with a lower quote can be the dealbreaker.
The technology of the medical logistic company is the barrier to customizing your shipment. Understanding if the company can facilitate temperature-controlled shipping or has specialized packaging for delicate medical equipment are requirements that can make or break your shipments. It's best to ask what services the logistics company can provide and if they have the required expertise and equipment to ship your goods.
Lastly, you want to be aware of a company's reputation. Do they have a proven track record of shipping similar products? Are there any complaints, whether in regards to meeting deadlines or to the right destination? These are legitimate concerns to consider, and why the reputation of the company is truly important.
With all this new knowledge under your belt, providing or choosing medical logistic services should go smoother should you choose to do so. The medical logistic industry is the backbone behind frontline doctors and nurses, so their work is crucial in maintaining a tight and efficient supply chain across the country.
If you're in need of expert advice, come talk to SFI today and we will provide you with the best possible service and quotes for your shipping needs. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at (909) 594-3400.