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Medical supplies distributor sees eCommerce sales surge

21 August 2013

Henry Schein has seen eCommerce sales rise rapidly in the last two years with sundry item sales surging from 10% of total to 60% in that period.

Simon Gambold, managing director of Dental in the UK said its customer base was initially slow to move to eCommerce.

"Our customers are typically small businesses run by clinicians and they weren’t ready for it. For reasons, such as security, they didn’t want internet in their offices. People are now more confident about it and in last the last two years it has gone from 10% of sundry sales to 60%.”

As Henry Schein customers are already accustomed to next-day deliveries (except for orders on Friday where customers are prepared to wait until Monday), the impact of greater eCommerce on the company’s logistics operation was not as profound as it might have been.

Simon continues: "The main difference is that, as more orders come in by e-commerce, the later in the day we receive them and thus have had to move an evening shift to ensure same-day dispatch.” 

Peter Dodd, head of supply chain operations at the company’s Gillingham distribution centre added: "We can carry on as late as needed. We currently have the flexibility to work from 6.00am to 10.00pm, with the core pick midday till 7.00pm.” 

"The ultimate barrier is the carrier’s ability to route back to central hubs and deliver.” 

"The internet allows us to better meet the special needs of our customers.  It is about deciding what is right for which customer. One size does not fit all.”