Westfield Medical

Partnership between Fortec's member Parker Transport and Westfield Medical is the complete package

INTRODUCTION

Westfield Medical is the leading UK manufacturer of single use sterilisation barrier systems. It specialises in the production of hospital sterilisation packaging and medical packaging accessories. The company’s products include a comprehensive range of bags, pouches, reels, wraps and accessories for use in hospital sterile service departments and medical device manufacturers.

With more than 40 years’ experience and exports to over 90 countries around the world, Westfield Medical has gained a reputation for excellent customer service.

Located in Midsomer Norton, near Bath, in Southwest England, Westfield Medical’s dedicated manufacturing unit benefits from good access to motorways and airports for prompt distribution worldwide. Within its warehousing facilities Westfield Medical stores both finished products and buffer stocks of raw materials, as back up to its JIT manufacturing systems, providing safe margins against unpredictable demand.

Westfield Medical’s distribution partner is family-owned Parker Transport, part of the Fortec Distribution Network.

THE CHALLENGE

The nature of Westfield Medical’s deliveries means that the company requires a delivery solution with the ability to be flexible and to offer urgent same-day and next-day delivery if necessary.

The company, faced with stringent cost pressures in the NHS, also needs its medical delivery partner to adopt strategies aimed at reducing cost in the delivery part of the operation and to be extremely competitive when it comes to pricing.

THE SOLUTION

Parker – through the Fortec Distribution Network – handles the vast majority of Westfield Medical’s deliveries, mainly to hospitals throughout the UK. Every hospital of a significant size that requires packaging is a potential customer.

“Parker deals with most of our UK business. In fact they probably deal with over 95% of anything we ship in the UK that’s under our control,” says Patrick Sparkes, Managing Director at Westfield Medical.

Parker Transport and Westfield Medical have a close, long-standing relationship. The other notable fact is that their sites are in close proximity. These two factors enable the companies to communicate easily and honestly with each other.

“Proximity is a big factor,” says Sparkes. ”It is easier to organise the transport with them – we know everybody, including Kelvin Parker, Parker Transport’s managing director.”

In 2013 Westfield Medical decided to occupy half of Parker’s multimodal warehouse facility on a long-term agreement. Although Westfield Medical has its own staff running its storage there have been occasions when the companies have helped each other out, for example with unloading goods into their warehouse. “It’s a mutually supportive relationship,” says Sparkes.

Kelvin Parker adds: “They have their own racking in their half of the warehouse – they pick and pack it and then it’s moved down to our part of the warehouse where we then label it for distribution through the Fortec Distribution Network.”

“We simply put them on a double deck trailer, label them, they then go to the Fortec hub and are distributed to whatever postcode is necessary via the other member partners.

Being part of a pallet network such as Fortec, Parker Transport could treat the job as completed once the goods leave the warehouse. But Kelvin believes it is important to follow-up properly so his staff make checks the following day via the Fortec system to ensure that deliveries have been made and that there are no problems.

“They are very pleased with the service – we have a very good follow up service and check up on pallets going in – it would be very easy to put them in and forget them but we make sure everything been signed off so we don’t get any nasty surprises three days later. The other delivering Fortec members are very good.”

According to Kelvin, the challenges for other depots are making sure that the product gets to the correct section of the hospital.

At the beginning of the partnership Parker was only moving a few pallets per day throughout the UK. However, with the continued expansion of Westfield Medical, the volumes have increased considerably and Parker now moves around five times more due to Westfield Medical’s growth.

THE BENEFITS

The value of using a pallet network such as Fortec means that Westfield’s products can be distributed by pallet at any given time up to 5pm in the evening for next-day 9am delivery anywhere in the UK if required. That is the type of flexibility that Westfield needs.

“I have been in transport for the last 32 years however it’s only been in the last 10-15 years since pallet networks have been introduced, that we have had the flexibility to be able to do that,” adds Kelvin.

Patrick Sparkes believes that the flexibility and speed of Fortec’s network as well as the long-standing relationship between Westfield and Parker Transport is the key to the partnership’s success.

“At the end of the day everybody that works for Westfield knows who they’re talking to on the phone at Parkers. So we get more honesty and there’s trust between ourselves.”

Westfield also reap the benefits of using the Fortec network; a very reliable next-day delivery, the ability to be able to track and find approximate delivery times, Customers

are informed about late deliveries in good time, third party collections for return are dealt with safely and returned when expected and network members are long standing, so the same drivers know which delivery points to go to.

Cost will continue to be a feature in the next few years. Sparkes says that Westfield’s costs over the last few years have risen by average 3 and 5% a year but its prices haven’t increased over the last few years.

“We intend to keep growing and expanding – for example our medical device manufacturing customer business is probably an area where we hope to grow further – so as long as Kelvin can keep growing and expanding with us!”

“There’s no reason to move away. Everything we manufacture has to be shipped by someone and 95% of that in UK goes through Parker Transport and the Fortec network. We have no problem using them and we’ve used them for years and they’ve provided very good service.”

  • “We intend to keep growing and expanding – for example our medical device manufacturing customer business is probably an area where we hope to grow further - so as long as Kelvin can keep growing and expanding with us!”

    “There’s no reason to move away. Everything we manufacture has to be shipped by someone and 95% of that in UK goes through Parker Transport and the Fortec network. We have no problem using them and we’ve used them for years and they’ve provided very good service.”

    Patrick Sparkes, Managing Director at Westfield.

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