Phillip Milling, General Manager of Toll Healthcare, talks to MHD about the company’s new facility in QLD, the intricacies of healthcare logistics – and what sets Toll apart.
Toll Healthcare, a leading provider of healthcare logistics solutions, is set to open a new state-of-the-art facility in Richlands, QLD. Phillip Milling, General Manager of Toll Healthcare, explains the significance of healthcare logistics and how it sets itself apart from other forms of logistics.
“Healthcare logistics is important because everyone uses it, from babies to people in their 90s,” Phillip says. “The range of products we typically handle on behalf of customers ranges from vaccines, medical devices, to a whole range of different pharmaceutical drugs,” Phillip says.
Phillip says key differences for healthcare logistics – aside from the challenges of other logistics operations – lie in the high level of licensing and compliance, as well as the precision required in handling the goods. “We’re going to be licensed by the Therapeutic Goods Association (TGA) and have what’s called GMP (Good Manufacturing Practice) licensing. Some of our customers require us to have that to receive products before we distribute them,” he adds.
Phillip emphasises the importance of accuracy in healthcare logistics. “A lot of things you order online are about speed to market, whereas ours is all about accuracy. We work on 100 per cent accuracy in everything we do. We tell people, ‘Don’t rush it, just get it right.’ The last thing you want to do is send something like a vaccine or a medical implant out, and someone’s on an operating table, or critically ill, and they get the wrong drug or the wrong implant.”
To ensure accuracy and compliance, Toll Healthcare employs a dedicated team of quality assurance professionals. “We have a team of seven quality assurance people, purely focused on our quality assurance processes.
Toll Healthcare, is a distinct operation within the larger Toll Group, and has come a long way since its inception in 2017. The Healthcare Logistics for Toll expanded significantly when Toll acquired CSL’s distribution business, which had warehouses for distributing their products in each major capital city. This acquisition laid the foundation for the healthcare logistics business that Toll Healthcare is today.
Toll Healthcare is currently in a growth phase, with plans to commission new warehouses not only in Brisbane but also in Melbourne and Perth. They already moved to a large warehouse in Sydney a few years ago. Phillip emphasises the importance of having state-of-the-art facilities to meet the demands of their customers and grow the business in the healthcare sector.
The ongoing investment in new facilities reflects the company’s dedication to meeting customer demands and providing the highest level of service in the industry.
The new Richlands facility in Queensland is poised to further strengthen Toll Healthcare’s logistics capabilities in the face of ongoing challenges and opportunities.
The new facility at 262 Orchard Road, Richlands is conveniently located just 24km from the Brisbane CBD and within proximity to some of Brisbane’s busiest and most crucial linkways.
With 4,600 sqm capacity across mixed storage, ambient and cool-room facilities, this significantly increases the Toll Healthcare footprint in Brisbane from their existing facility at Mansfield (QLD) into this much larger custom-built facility at Richlands.
The construction of this custom-built Healthcare facility is a first for Toll in QLD and is a strategic decision to enable and facilitate growth from existing and new clients. Some of the key features being, air-conditioned pallet storage allowing for over 2,800 pallets, cool-room storage for over 500 pallets, Freezer storage. The site will have a 315W solar system providing green energy and supporting a “5 Green Star Rating” as well as redundant power and refrigeration systems allowing for ongoing operations.
The new facility will provide increased capacity for cold chain and frozen products, which are key growth areas in the healthcare logistics sector, says Phillip. This additional capacity will cater to both existing and future business, ensuring Toll Healthcare remains competitive and responsive to market demands.
THE CHANGING LANDSCAPE
It’s a competitive and dynamic sector, healthcare logistics. Phillip says Toll Healthcare stands out by zeroing in on customer requirements.
“Our focus is on tailoring solutions to meet customers’ requirements,” he says. “We’re very flexible in the way that we deal with our customers and meet their needs. We have some basic underlying technology and warehouses, but we very much tailor our solutions around our customers.”
Reflecting on the challenges and opportunities faced during the COVID-19 pandemic, Phillip recognises the importance of early engagement with logistics providers and adapting to new challenges. “The major thing that came out of COVID was really just how everyone was a little bit unprepared. The Pharmaceutical Logistics Industry were handling vaccines at minus 80 degrees on a commercial scale, which had never done before. That was certainly a challenge to the industry.”
Despite these challenges, Australia’s distribution network proved reliable, allowing delivery of vaccines to remote locations. The most significant impediment during the pandemic was the limited availability of planes and flights, which restricted the distribution network. However, the distribution of the vaccine remained efficient as we were able to leverage Toll’s broader transport network which included access to cargo planes and trucks.
Toll Healthcare operates primarily within the country, while Toll Group has healthcare operations in other parts of Asia, such as Singapore, China & India.
As the healthcare market continues to grow, so too do the demands on logistics providers. The ageing population and the increasing trend of at-home patient care are driving changes in the way healthcare products are distributed. Phillip highlights this shift, stating, “We see a trend now with people leaving hospitals early, so there’s a lot more at-home patient care. We now deliver our customers’ products to the patient’s home or pharmacy.”
This growing trend towards at-home care necessitates a distribution network that can cater to not just business-to-business transactions, but also business-to-consumer. By investing in state-of-the-art facilities like the one in Richlands and focusing on tailored solutions for their customers, the company is well-positioned to adapt to the evolving needs of the healthcare logistics market.
Toll Healthcare is poised for continued growth and success in the healthcare logistics space, driven by a commitment to customer-focused solutions, investment in cutting-edge facilities, and an agile approach to the ever-changing landscape of healthcare distribution. The new Richlands facility is yet another testament to their dedication to addressing the challenges and opportunities of the healthcare logistics sector, both now and in the years to come.
For more information on Toll Healthcare, click here.