Medline, USA: Healthcare distribution center automates with AutoStore
Founded in 1966, Medline Industries Inc. is the largest privately held manufacturer and distributor of healthcare supplies in the United States, with more than $7 billion in annual sales. Its distribution centers serve as regional hubs providing next-day service to hospitals, physicians’ offices, surgical centers, care facilities, big box retailers and pharmacies. It chose the Swisslog robot-based AutoStore system to automate its Libertyville, Illinois distribution center.
AutoStore increased storage capacity 25 percent
Since going live, volume in the AutoStore has increased storage by 25 percent, peaking to as much as 12,500 less-than-case lines per day. Medline has also been able to accommodate growth in volume without adding to its head count.
Fluctuating demand for small order
Medline’s own fleet delivers the majority of orders, including tens of thousands of small customers who receive a single parcel daily.
Split case picking, for which AutoStore is ideal, accounts for 60 percent of Medline’s business lines. There can be a wide variation in demand: a nursing home may order something that hadn’t been required for months; or an outbreak of the flu may create a sudden spike in demand for a vaccine.
AutoStore has allowed us to continue to increase our cutoff times, expand our product offering in a temperature-controlled environment and cover our expanding customer base.