Healthcare, Med/Lab, Pharmaceutical

Longer, larger retail peak season forces healthcare shippers to seek alternatives to parcel delivery

Peak season is longer this year than it’s ever been and it’s not because the holiday season is any longer. Due to persistent pandemic-induced labor and supply shortages, what used to be a manageable four to six week-long seasonal period of high parcel volume has ballooned into 12 to 16 weeks. This leaves an entire third of the year with retailers and manufacturers jockeying for critical delivery capacity—and no industry is hurt more by this reality than healthcare, where a daily timeliness affects patients’ well-being no matter what “season”.

When looking for peak season shipping solutions to maintain the required level of patient care and service needed throughout the year, it’s best to expand and diversify your vendor lineup. Final mile delivery providers, such as USPack, provide swing capacity for delivering reoccurring parcels. When capacity is constrained during the busiest, and most stressful, time of the year, expanding your relationship with a known and trusted final mile delivery company can be just what the doctor ordered.

Stretching peak season strains the pharma and medical device sectors

In the world of retail, a disproportionately high percentage of sales occur  in the last six weeks of the year. According to the National Retail Federation,Retail sales during 2020’s November-December holiday season grew an unexpectedly high 8.3 percent over 2019.” Conversely, the demand for medicines and devices remains consistent year-round.

Another downstream effect of COVID on shipping and logistics has been the massive influx of late adopters into the ecommerce marketplace. Roughly two to three years of new ecommerce activity has been compressed into just 18 months—so not only is peak season longer, each month also sees more retail sales that require shipping. 

Pharmaceutical and medical device producers and distributors that require shipping to patients, pharmacies, and healthcare facilities aren’t contributors to this newfound explosive peak-season pressure—quite the opposite: they’re victims of it’s rippling effects. The first pain point producers will very likely feel is having their volume capacity capped by the large carriers due to retail capturing much of the shipping and delivery capacity – and paying top-dollar in fees to secure those seasonal volumes. The affect of this large parcel carrier volume cap trickles down to the sick and chronically ill end-users, and the medical professionals who administer these drugs, who are now at risk of receiving prescriptions late or not at all. The stakes couldn’t be higher: risk to people’s health, damage to trusted relationships, and the potential loss of customers. 

As a final mile carrier with capabilities within a 125-mile radius of the country’s most active metropolitan areas, USPack’s multi-carrier network works with pharma and medical companies so parcels get where they need to be, when they need to be there all through this year’s elongated peak season. Here are three reasons final mile logistics services are especially important for companies in the healthcare sector during holiday shopping season or Peak 2021: 

Covering expedited and volume needs

Many of our healthcare clients view final mile delivery companies like USPack as an expediter, and that’s true. We are the company that ensures same-day or next-day delivery for chemotherapy drugs, infusions, controlled substances, compound pharmaceuticals, and so much more. But expediting is only part of USPack’s final mile delivery capabilities. We also offer volume parcel delivery for your routine prescription refill business. Our flexible network enables us to quickly scale up when there’s an increase in client volume.

Serving refill volume cost-effectively

If you use an expediter, you know that the per unit cost generally runs higher than that charged by volume shippers. But when you shift some of your reoccurring refill business to a final mile shipper, thereby increasing your volume, that unit cost decreases. 

But there’s also another factor at work that helps make final mile services more cost-effective—and that takes place in your warehouse. The behemoth shipping companies have pick-up time strict cut-offs, usually 4pm. To meet this afternoon deadline, generally requires heavily front-loading your warehouse staff for the mornings and early afternoons. The downside to this scheduling scenario is that once the 4 o’clock bell rings you have an excess of employees hanging around to work on your much smaller expedite volume. 

What would happen if you extended the time you need to get all your packages on trucks, both the expedited and the reoccurring refill? You’d smooth out your labor workload, so you’d need to hire less people and your payroll costs would go down.

A final mile company, like USPack, is there whenever it’s convenient for you. If that’s 5pm or 8pm, our carriers are at your facility.  The net-net for your bottom line: marginal increases in unit costs are offset by savings in labor. 

Protecting the integrity of your parcels

The hub-sorting model employed by the major shipping companies equates to multiple hands on your parcels, introducing more opportunities for breakage and missorts. This model may be fine for tee shirts and gummy bears, but it introduces risk for high-value medicines.

Final mile delivery services take prescription parcels from your warehouse and brings them straight to your customers’ doors. USPack only interacts with parcels once, thereby radically reducing the chance for damage and ensuring the integrity of the contents.

Efficient healthcare deliveries from a logistics leader

Whether you’re an independent pharmacy, a regional pharmacy, or corporate operations overseeing enterprise logistics, peak season for retail translates into peak worry season for you. 

As a national final mile logistics provider with a multi-carrier network, USPack can facilitate your critical volume, expedited and reoccurring. Packages will arrive on-time, within budget, and intact this peak season—and all year-round.