Drop ship movement advances

Monday, June 30, 2008

MURRYSVILLE, Pa.--After several months of ironing out the kinks with select customers, Respironics ramped up marketing in early May for its new direct-to-patient drop ship program, SupplyDirect.

As with other drop ship programs, SupplyDirect offers providers the opportunity to reduce the amount of inventory they purchase and store. While providers often maintain inventory of newer, more widely used masks and other supplies, SupplyDirect minimizes their need to keep older products on the shelf, said Laurie Scott, Respironics U.S. marketing manager for patient interface.

“The balancing act is how much inventory of the older styles do I want to put on my shelves and collect dust when I can use that cash to invest more in my patient care,” Scott said. “This is a way to take away some of the cost of inventory, purchasing, monitoring and then creating individual orders for individual patients.”

To use SupplyDirect, providers log on to My.Respironics.com and place the order. Respironics picks, packs and ships the supplies in a box labeled with the provider’s logo, address and phone. Providers pay for delivery, which goes either by ground or, if needed, overnight. Providers also can log on to My.Respironics.com and check order confirmation and status, package tracking, proof of delivery and obtain a copy of the packing list and invoice.

Respironics isn’t unique among sleep manufacturers in offering customers a drop ship option.

ResMed began offering a drop shipping program for CPAP supplies about two years ago. It’s a “growing and important area,” said Mick Farrell, senior vice president. Fisher & Paykel doesn’t have a formalized drop ship program, but it can drop ship supplies in a HIPPA-compliant fashion if asked to, said Christian Kiely, marketing manager.

“It’s basic supply-chain economics,” Farrell said. “It’s our inventory storage vs. theirs; it’s their inventory carrying cost; rent on their facility; and the shipping cost from their facility to the patient. We take care of all those elements.”

<a target="_blank" href="http://My.Respironics.com">My.Respironics.com</a>