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