UPS announced that it has developed “a healthcare-compliant network of Field Stocking Locations (FSLs) to reduce delivery time of medical device shipments and enhance inventory visibility.” According to the press release:
In the U.S., 36 healthcare-capable FSL sites will provide medical device manufacturers access to over 80 percent of U.S. hospital beds within four hours. These facilities will operate under the guidance of UPS’s industry-leading quality assurance and compliance program, feature temperature-controlled or monitored environments and offer same-day delivery services.
“Due to an increasingly complex regulatory environment and significant cost pressures, medical device manufacturers are looking to the supply chain to lower costs through inventory reduction and enhanced visibility,” said John Menna, UPS vice president, global healthcare strategy. “Based on our experience in healthcare distribution and utilizing UPS’s industry-leading global FSL network, we have created a tailored inventory management and distribution solution to meet the unique needs of medical device manufacturers.”
This announcement highlights several important trends in the 3PL industry. First, the ongoing push by 3PLs to develop and expand industry-specific solutions. Second, the growing focus on serving industries beyond the usual suspects of Retail, CPG, Food & Beverage, Automotive, and High Tech (for another example, see Transplace’s announcement this week related to the Oil & Gas industry). And third, how inventory management and enhanced supply chain visibility remain critical elements of a 3PL’s value proposition.