Beating the clock on pharmacy deliveries

FAST FACTS:

Freight: Pharmaceuticals
Route: Brisbane to rural Queensland & Northern NSW
Years with Followmont: 15

“Followmont is the only transport provider in rural Queensland that can support our needs.”

 Pharmaceutical wholesaler Sigma partners with Followmont to deliver vital medicines across Queensland within a 24 hour window.

It’s the 2.30pm cutoff. Thousands of pharmacies across Queensland and Northern NSW have logged their daily orders with Sigma’s Brisbane distribution centre. Its manager, Nathan Roylance, has precisely 24 hours to ensure that 10,000 cartons reach their destination. And he has an area to cover that’s more than seven times the size of Great Britain.

The time pressure is part of Sigma’s obligation as a wholesaler under the Pharmaceutical Benefit Scheme to provide all Australians with access to medicines within 24 hours, regardless of where they live.

The industry runs on tight margins, so road transport is the only option. The scale of this challenge becomes apparent when you consider that Sigma routinely delivers to Weipa, which is 2,400 kilometres from the depot.

So it’s not surprising that Sigma relies on a transport provider that specialises in servicing regional Queensland. “Followmont’s superior network allows us to get where we need to be,” explains Nathan. “But it’s not just about coverage. Security is also a high priority, given what we’re transporting. We need traceability of freight at all times, real-time scanning, and the use of accredited agents. Followmont is the only transport provider in rural Queensland that can support our needs.”

Nathan credits compatible company values as a key part of this successful partnership. “Even though Followmont is a large company, it’s a family business and this shows with the level of personalised service we receive. The people we talk to can make decisions, and they’ve been highly adaptable in finding solutions to unusual challenges.”

One such challenge occurred in a regional area, when a small transport provider of Sigma’s went out of business one Friday. Followmont stepped in to fill the gap. “By that afternoon, Followmont had found a way to deliver to this new location, and the first delivery arrived the next day. It’s the flexibility to make things work, and doing what it takes to get the job done that you just don’t find elsewhere,” Nathan said. “Our biggest challenge is meeting supply deadlines, and we couldn’t do it without Followmont.”