Sunrise offers container option

Saturday, May 31, 2003

LONGMONT, Colo. — The accelerating importance of China as a supply source for home medical equipment has not been lost on Sunrise Medical, which quietly launched a container program for HME providers several months ago.

The reason Sunrise hasn’t trumpeted the program is simple: the company believes the just-in-time supply option is the most cost-effective and attractive option for dealers. At the same time, Sunrise is now in a position to leverage some of the benefits that accrue from direct-sourcing in the Far East.

“If we have a dealer who can carry inventories on a monthly basis and doesn’t need us to store inventories for him, then clearly we need to pass that efficiency savings to our dealers,” said Mark Ludwig, senior vice president of standard homecare products.

A year ago, according to Ludwig, Sunrise wasn’t in a position to provide direct sourcing. Six months ago, Sunrise hired a director of import operations to enhance its competency in sourcing management. Three months ago, for those dealers that want it, Sunrise began offering the option of equipment shipments direct from factory to dealer.

Medline said dealers will likely save 10-15% through its ‘Container Direct’ program. Ludwig is less explicit about the percentage savings, but admits that the savings are of that scale.

“It’s difficult to say it’s a 15%-off program because of our customers’ different discount levels,” he said. “But we have taken containers directly from Asia and passed the savings associated with all of the storage and handling to our dealer.” HME