In a conversation in November 2020 with Advisory.com, Alex Gorsky from Johnson & Johnson spoke about global supply chain, a new vaccine, his inheritance of such a global icon and his plan to evolve and refresh the organization. He said this, “It comes down to a few fundamental principles; namely, understand what you are good at.”3
And this is key for Medline, as it speaks to a critical tool for companies today dealing with their supply chains: resiliency. As Peter Saviola says, “What we are good at is building for the future, not just for today.” What does this allow Medline to do?
1. Provide warehouse space for customers to hold supplies—proof of scale
2. Service customers faster and better than competitors—proof of agility
And as Marc Phillips summarizes, COVID has sharpened Medline’s resolve. The organization operates culturally in such a manner that we don’t, by design, pay consultants. Core to our success is a preference to become experts ourselves—to have the independence to make decisions quickly and answer customers’s questions immediately. We endeavor to own the assets that are core to success, giving flexibility in a time that demands that and more.
As Saviola speaks about the new discoveries crucial to supply chain continuity or even supply chain transformation, the early hypothesis was that healthcare supply chains would no longer want JIT inventory, and that everyone would suddenly be thrust back to the 1970s model of inventory holding in bulk (i.e. full cases only). But this is not what seems to be happening. Bulk to LUM is staying pretty consistent.