Mawdsleys is a global pharmaceutical distributor and service provider offering a wide range of services to the pharmaceutical industry and healthcare sector.
Today it is the largest independent pharmaceutical wholesaler in the UK.
After identifying a neglected area of the industry, the provision of ambient controlled pharmaceutical transportation, they launched their own, dedicated logistics division in 2019 to sit alongside their existing Mawdsleys Pre-Wholesale (MPW) operation.
“Nobody else could do it for us, so we decided we’d do it ourselves”
For what was effectively a start-up company, within 12-months, that division is now processing and delivering up to 2,000 pallets per week.
Plans are in place to expand the operation in the next 12-months with a more diverse range of services and an ambitious turnover growth target of 120%.
At the root of the operation is Stream, a cloud-based transport management system which Mawdsleys Logistics introduced into the operation right from the start.
“The reason we did this project is because Mawdsleys needed a solution that enabled us to deliver pharmaceutical products in ambient controlled conditions at the scale we required. There were ambient services and there was temperature controlled, but the service offered within this temperature banding wasn’t controlled to the point that we, and the industry, needed at 2 to 8° and 15 to 25° Celsius.”
The driver stems from the Good Distribution Practice (GDP) guidelines which were introduced in 2013 and have been gradually pushed all the way down the supply chain.
Mawdsleys Logistics is now one of the only providers in the heavily regulated pharmaceutical industry to provide a day one collection, day two delivery service for ambient temperature-controlled logistics.
They’ve also been responsible for driving efficiency, speed and control over the delivery of goods through their wholesale and 3PL business, where previously third-party carriers were not able to meet all the GDP requirements.
For every MPW pallet shipped via Mawdsleys Logistics, they save the cost of outsourcing, by providing the service to themselves. The costs associated with running the system, the trucks, the drivers, is now revenue kept internally, instead.
Mawdsleys knew they needed a software system to underpin their new operation, one that would have the ability to operate dual business models in a highly controlled manner.
It also needed to provide the agility to quickly meet new customer requirements and add new business models.
GDP guidelines driving greater compliance levels
“Stream, quite simply, was the only one that met everything that we wanted. We looked at a number of different options, and all of them had their drawbacks. There was always a key piece of functionality missing, but Stream ticked every box.”
Any business dealing with pharmaceutical products must comply with GDP guidelines.
Security, traceability, real-time data, integrated customer interfaces and accessibility go hand-in-hand to meet those guidelines.
Having the capability to trace each item, order and delivery has been key to the success for Mawdsleys’ which has also been GDP approved across two separate site audits.
All delivered through the depth and control provided by Stream’s barcode scanning features.
“By putting a dynamic transport management system in place with robust and comprehensive barcode scanning capabilities Mawdsleys has been able to achieve compliance with GDP regulations. We are well positioned to pick up any business from organisations that don’t have those systems in place.
“Digital Track and Trace allows us to see the What, Where, Why, When and Who throughout our operation. It has powered the way we work. The incredible thing with Stream is we can provide our customers with access to that information for their peace of mind and compliance at any point. Plus, we provide the MHRA with complete transparency, so they have faith in that audit trail.”
“Integration and API process, compared to other systems, was a bit of a breeze”
From the finance department to the warehouse floor, data accuracy is essential for every business function – and nowhere more so than in the pharmaceutical sector.
A hugely important part of the project has been Stream’s integration with various business systems within Mawdsleys. For the most part Mawdsleys were able to use Stream’s standardised API documentation, the only exception being with functionality that was outside of the original project scope.
Data across all these systems is synced automatically through the API bringing numerous advantages: users not having to manually enter delivery addresses, labels printed as soon as orders are processed, or users rekeying order information from one system to another.
Information from every ‘event’ in Stream, such as a product scanned onto and off a vehicle, or proof of delivery can be ‘pushed’ back into these systems for instant, real-time updates.
“Over-the-moon” customer service
Customers are “over-the-moon” with the service they’re getting from Mawdsleys Logistics. The value of the service they are getting is the fact that it’s smooth, it’s ergonomic and it saves them time.
They can place an order, and usually within 48 hours, have it picked, delivered (dependent on when their customer wants to receive the delivery) and a POD in Stream without them having to pick up the phone or send an email.
And on top of that, they have full visibility.
Customers can see exactly where the product is all the way throughout the chain. It’s transparent: if things are going wrong or there’s an issue, and everyone knows exactly what’s happening, and it can be resolved very quickly. That means Mawdsleys has been able to build up a high level of trust with customers.
That, ultimately, means repeat business and a strong, mutually beneficial working relationship.
Accelerating business strategy
12-months into the new division, Mawdsleys Logistics is a scalable operation, which fills a particular need within the industry – the numbers and business confidence reflect that.
Through Stream, Mawdsleys has not only been able to build a new part of the business, but to accelerate the business strategy.
Mawdsleys Logistics now has a scalable business model which still has an opportunity to grow to deliver around 5000 pallets a week based on pallet holding capacity. Internal volume (via MPW) is expected to grow as is demand from an ever-growing customer list.
Mawdsleys as a group have been investing in having the right physical infrastructure in place to support that growth including a new fully MRHA approved, purpose-built warehouse facility in Doncaster for storing and processing ambient pallets with additional storage for pallets requiring cold chain storage.
There’s also investment in new liveried vehicles to join the fleet, plus investment in environmental initiatives, for example fitting roof-mounted solar panels on their vehicles and trailers to power, amongst other things, tail lifts and refrigeration units.
“18-months ago, we had a clearly defined strategy which was wholly reliant on the ability of our chosen technology partner. It’s fair to say that Stream has gone beyond our expectations.”
Despite the disruption from the pandemic, the business model Mawdsleys has in place has been proven every day.
They’ve been able to scale quickly and sustainably to meet increased demands from the sector.
Having the right technology systems in place has enabled them to do that.
Driving environmental sustainability
Reducing carbon emissions across Mawdsleys fleet is continually assessed. Reviewing and consolidating orders has led to fewer deliveries to hospitals and lower vehicle emissions across the wholesale delivery fleet.
Similarly, the company’s bulk transport solution is designed to group and merge deliveries geographically to minimise delivery routes and drive efficiency. The vehicle tender process stipulates that solar technology is a requisite and a telematics solution that monitors driver performance to reduce fuel consumption has also positively impacted the carbon footprint.
The company’s membership of The Climate Group’s EV100 initiative demonstrates a commitment to accelerating the transition to electric vehicles.