Arvato takes over Stok, supply chain specialist in medical technology
Arvato has acquired Stok UK Limited, a logistics and fulfilment specialist providing hospitals and medical product manufacturers with high-quality services. As a partner to leading medical technology companies, Stok optimises the stock levels and the availability of products from different manufacturers within Hospitals, taking the pressure off nursing staff and Suppliers. As of 1 July 2014, Stok will be incorporated into the Healthcare business of Bertelsmann subsidiary, Arvato. Following the integration, the services will be successively expanded to the European market under the management of Stok’s founder, Paul Wilkinson. The purchase price is not being disclosed.
Keeping accurate records of consignment stock in hospitals has been a challence for the medical device sector for many years. According to estimates of GHX Research, around 25 per cent of all stocks, particularly of highly specialised products, are stored in hospitals’ consignment warehouses – with the daily pressure of Hospital staff concentrating on patient care as opposed to record keeping, even Manufacturers are finding it hard to keep track of stock locations and product usage. In addition, there are the products that manufacturers distribute to their field service teams so these can provide hospitals with essential supplies on short notice.
Dr Thorsten Winkelmann, CEO of Arvato Healthcare, is pleased about the business expansion: “With the acquisition of Stok, Arvato’s distribution solutions for medical technology manufacturers will reach beyond the goods-in department. We also will be able to offer solutions right up to the point-of-care stage, which includes surgical wings and individual wards. Furthermore, we can set up our very own reverse logistics service, meaning that we will be able to offer specialist, on-site services directly from the hospitals. Market demand for such solutions is increasing.”
As a partner to the leading medical technology manufacturers, Stok’s experienced staff visit the hospitals regularly and carry out stocktaking in all storage locations – for example, in the stock rooms, individual wards or in the surgical wing - using Stok’s own stocktaking system as well as the manufacturers’ own scanner solutions. Consumption is documented and correct billing by the manufacturer is ensured. It is possible to expand these services to a Vendor Managed Inventory (VMI), where Stok is also responsible for additional deliveries and making sure that the relevant sites are well stocked. Products are delivered from Stok’s various forward stocking locations, from the manufacturers’ central warehouses or via Arvato’s distribution network.
Whilst inventory management optimises consignment stocks, ‘implant kits’ go one step further. Implant kits contain all the necessary products and components for an implantation (for example, implanting a pacemaker), are tailor-made to the relevant operation and are delivered to and collected from the hospitals by Stok using its own delivery service. This makes sure that all of the products required are in the right place at the right time, that the hospital staff can concentrate entirely on its patients and that hospitals are only billed for the products they have actually used. Implant kits are already used within the field of cardiovascular medical technology and for orthopaedics.
Increased product availability and decreased stock volume, a reduction in the number of stock discrepancies caused by products past their sell-by dates or lost products and more efficient billing are just some of the services provided by Stok which medical technology companies can profit from. Through standardised processes and a reduction in interfaces, Stok also helps manufacturers increase satisfaction amongst hospital staff. The key to this success is Stok’s manufacturer-independent approach, which allows numerous synergy effects to be utilised, facilitating a one-of-a-kind collaboration between several companies. Stok’s solutions therefore ensure that patients receive just the product they need.
Stok’s solution for hospitals in the UK is used successfully by international Cardiac market leaders. As it expands these services to the European healthcare market and further product groups, Stok can now rely on the extensive Europe-wide network and the expertise of the Arvato Healthcare specialists.
“Following Stok’s success in recent years, it was essential for us to expand our services to other European countries,” says Stok’s CEO, Paul Wilkinson. “arvato’s Healthcare network in Europe is the ideal platform for us to continue to stay one step ahead of our customers’ needs in the future. I am certain that because of our shared goal of putting the patient’s needs first, we will be able to combine our strengths and skills successfully.” Pilot projects are already being implemented in Germany and The Netherlands, in close cooperation with existing customers from the medical technology industry.