“We aligned the two brands to say, ‘Let’s focus No. 1 on what’s best for the patient,” recalls Billy Abrams of Medline. “It was groundbreaking for the industry, to say that. But 3M leadership was as committed to this strategic initiative as we were.” Abrams admits that the strategy is slightly non-traditional. But once the two companies committed to putting patients first, team members began to see the benefits of having a strategic, capable partner who could deliver innovative solutions for their customers, he says.
“It’s very easy for us in our role to say we are a distributor and the other players in healthcare are competitors, it’s why we’d want to limit their exposure with our customers,” Abrams says. “In truth, that’s bad. We need to make sure we’re thinking strategically in a way that is laser-focused on customers 100 percent of the time. Because at the end of the day, if our customers do well and they serve their patients, we’ll all be stronger in the marketplace.”
Creating shared responsibility between manufacturer and distributor with a focus on the patient is why our partnership with 3M continues to work so well today. And the collaboration around 3M’s patient warming gowns is a prime example.