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Medline retools to leverage opportunities

Medline retools to leverage opportunities

NORTHFIELD, Ill. – Medline, backed by private equity for the first time, spent much of 2021 on “self-improvement” projects, says Paul Miller, better equipping the company for expansion into additional product offerings and other growth this year. 

The company received outside investment in October from private equity firms Blackstone, Carlyle and Hellman & Friedman in a deal worth a reported $30-plus billion. 

“I’m excited to see where the opportunities lie for us in the HME space,” said Miller, director of business development for HME. “There are areas where new product introductions could open up some new doors for us, but I think its starts with self-improvement and that’s really what the investment has helped us to do.” 

A big focus of Medline’s self-improvement in 2021 was five newly constructed distribution centers, with two more scheduled to be completed in 2022, part of the company’s $1.5 billion Healthcare Resilience Initiative. Its footprint now sits at more than 50 distribution centers in the United States with more than 27 million square feet. 

The expanded footprint allows Medline to stockpile supplies and better serve customers during everything from a natural disaster to a pandemic to a supply chain crisis, Miller says. 

“It helps us be faster,” he said. “If we have a center that’s a day closer, it results in better service and better patient care, and less chance of a readmit to the hospital – these are all very important things in health care, not just HME.” 

Part of Medline’s self-improvement has also been investing in third-party logistics capabilities and technology like robotics in its distribution facilities. 

“We have robotics in distribution facilities across the United States in different forms,” he said. “There’s always a human element but having robotics to pick products reduces the risk of errors and results in a ton of efficiencies. That’s also handed down to the customer.” 

While there is more attention on home care than ever – Miller estimates the market is growing at 14%, much higher than in the past – Medline has always been focused on the entire continuum of care, he said. 

“We’ve been in the post-acute care arena for 40 years,” he said. “When you look at the pioneers of home delivery, we’re there. We’re continuing to find the best ways to help our customers.”


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