Answering Critical Need
Team Medical Supplies (TMS) is driven by the goal of helping those who need it by delivering healthcare consumables and equipment to medical institutions across the vast footprint of Australia. We speak to the company’s executive team to learn more
Writer: Marcus Kääpä | Project Manager: Callam Waller
“COVID-19 has forced everyone to adapt, and although parts have been challenging, the pandemic has allowed us the opportunity of anticipating industry needs and acting accordingly.”
Team Medical Supplies (TMS) is one of Australia’s top medical consumables and equipment suppliers for medical centres. They also provide a wide variety of medical accessories, pharmaceuticals, surgical instruments and more to medical institutions across the country.
For Marijke Vriens, founder and Creative Director of the company – and orator of the opening statement – the onset of COVID-19 has allowed TMS to show its client base what it can achieve.
“We saw the logistical challenges posed by the pandemic before they were properly apparent, and as such, we were prepared to combat these issues effectively for our customers,” she explains. “Operating in Australia is always challenging because you must cover vast distances when delivering goods. You can’t really compare it to Europe, where you can effectively transport a package from Portugal to Finland with ease. In Australia, transporting medical items such as vaccines, that require a consistent cold storage environment, becomes a task in itself.
“With already challenging distances, trying storage requirements and then those further issues caused by COVID-19 – namely restrictions and the shortage of PPE across Australia – we had foreseen the need to change its operation to suit a new environment.”
Since the onset of the pandemic, TMS has been answering the demands of the high-pressure and concerning period through supplying rapid antigen tests and more to medical facilities across the nation. In the face of an uncertain future and opposed to the conservative choice of reducing operations as to see what was to come next, the company took pre-emptive action to invest in securing stock early on during the pandemic. This played to TMS’ advantage when it came round to facilitating institutions and the spike in demand for medical stock; a service that made the company stand out from its competitors in the space and amplified TMS’ name as a reliable partner in the healthcare logistics sector.
“Product reliability, product quality, service and experience are all things that our clients know we have and bring to the market,” Tom Vriens, General Manager of TMS continues. “We partner with major brands to ensure the most stable supply chains. Larger manufacturers and brands have greater pull when there are limited resources. We only stock quality products with clinical support. This ensures better patient outcomes by providing quality to our GPs.”
TMS’ service is industry leading and is a significant contributor to the reason the company has grown from nothing to a business that has yielded over $500 million in sales across the span of 10 years.
“Our team goes above and beyond for customers,” Matt Vreins, Head of Procurement at TMS adds. “Flexibility and adaptability are key to making sure our GPs have a seamless experience, meaning they can spend more time with patients. The same can be said for our online capabilities that have made ease of orders paramount.
“We also have vast amounts of experience in our team. Many staff have worked in our specific industry (supplying GPs) for more than 20 years. This allows us to pass the knowledge onto our customers, so they make the most informed decisions.”
Client focused operation
The high level of the company’s service as well as its proven adaptability throughout the COVID-19 period are two contributors to TMS’ place at the forefront of the Australian healthcare supplier space. However, there is an additional, and very much humbling, aspect of the company that drives a human-to-human approach to business, allowing the development of trust, understanding and reliability between TMS and the institutions it serves.
“At heart this is a family business,” explains Pieter Vriens, CEO. “We have many decades of collective experience in the business and have built a very good culture among our staff; we care for everybody and acknowledge their hard work and dedication to our customers.
“When people reach out and work with our team, they gain a sense of care and respect that is genuine, and we see to it that if there are any problems that we will fix the problem. TMS has always provided its customers full solutions and this human approach to customer-centricity is what makes us stand out from our larger corporate competition.”
The company’s focus on its customer and client base is intertwined in TMS’ past, present and upcoming projects.
Within the recent past, during the start of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout across Australia, TMS worked alongside one of the first providers of the vaccine who were at the time immunising those in aged care facilities across New South Wales and Victoria. TMS was asked, and immediately accepted, the all-important task of supplying consumable products required for the vaccinations, involving many urgent and rural deliveries spanning every day of the week.
“We have also recently integrated our ERP with one of our major customers,” Tom Vriens tells us. “This bespoke integration allows them to leverage the unique website that we have built, including order approvals, while having full transparency of their orders in their own ERP. For larger organisations this is becoming more important, as they can have the best of our purpose-built website without losing visibility of spending within their system.
“We are also currently investing heavily into our digital marketing capabilities,” Marijke Vriens continues. “TMS has partnered with the Salesforce platform to do this. We want to better understand our customers so we can bring them more relevant content. This ranges from product information to education, industry news and operational updates.
“By improving our data and better understanding our customers, we can ensure they only see what they need to out of their very busy days. It’s all about improving the customer’s overall experience with TMS.”
This focus on digitalisation is key to unlocking TMS’ continued success and potential into the future. On top of this, the company is very aware of the uncertainty that the COVID-19 period has caused. In light of this, the company has the shorter-term goal of continuing to support its customers as much as possible across its services.
“I see the main goal of TMS as simply making sure that we do right by our customer base,” Marijke Vriens elaborates. “Prioritising and supplying the right people and maintaining the stability that we have is our number one goal, especially into the next six to 12 months.
“We are also moving to a new distribution centre to provide a better service for our customers, as well as other investments within our digital marketing strategy; effectively keeping up-to-date with the latest methods of operation. In the next five to 10 years as the business grows, expansion plans will be on the table, but throughout this period we will be sticking to our core values of being customer-centric and transparent; we are in the business of supplying health and help.”