James Sunderland image
James Sunderland, Managing Director at Healthcare Distribution Direct

West Yorkshire-based Healthcare Distribution Direct (HDD) provides a nationwide healthcare delivery and installation service for suppliers of mobility equipment direct to consumers. This year, in its 10-year anniversary, the firm has been busy implementing some new changes, including opening offices in Cleckheaton and undergoing a re-brand. THIIS caught up with James Sunderland, Managing Director at Healthcare Distribution Direct, to find out more…

Reflecting on the last 10 years, how have you seen the business evolve since its inception?

“At the start of our business journey, we were mostly focused on staying alive in a very competitive sector. As we started to concentrate on the specialist service for mobility and healthcare suppliers direct to the consumer it quickly became apparent how much of a positive difference this made to people. It could be my mother, my granddad…

“Our purpose as an organisation is now to help these people gain the know-how and confidence to use their medical equipment to stay healthy for longer and to do this with respect from beginning to end.

“Our customers work hard to build their brand, generate sales, and support their customers, especially where they might be older or more vulnerable. Maintaining high customer service levels throughout the complex logistics of delivery, set up, handover, service, and repair, directly with the consumer, can be really challenging. As the only logistics company focused on this critical challenge, HDD grew rapidly, becoming the leading end-to-end distributor of healthcare products to UK consumers.

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“As a business, we continued to invest heavily in both our people and systems as part of a strategy to further improve the service and experience to our customers and their customers. Continued growth resulted in a move to our new offices with increased warehouse capacity, allowing our clients additional stock holding facilities and providing faster order to delivery times for their customers.

“Our greatest achievement over the last 10 years is the personal touch we have managed to maintain with our clients and end-users alike”

“Our focus on customer experience led to further investment in our systems to enhance efficiency and end customer satisfaction, something we take pride in. Our team continued to grow, both in customer support and engineer roles, to ensure we maintain the very highest levels of customer service.

“I genuinely believe our greatest achievement over the last 10 years is the personal touch we have managed to maintain with our clients and end-users alike. We have a phrase printed on our office walls to remind us of the importance of what we are doing day-to-day.

“As Michelle Obama once said: ‘Success isn’t about how much money you make. It’s about the difference you make to people’s lives.’”

Please can you take us through what part of the business you have rebranded and the thinking behind it?

“The re-brand was another aspect of the business we assessed heavily during the Covid 19 pandemic and did grow arms and legs a little.

“Our initial idea was to update our website as all our clients have access to HDD’s online portal (this allows our clients to add and manage their orders) through our website.

“With this in mind, we felt our website needed to showcase exactly what we offer to the market as we believed that there were certain services we could offer that people may not know about yet. While completing the development of the site, we decided we would ‘refresh’ our logo as it had been the same for the last 10 years. I guess a little celebration of the 10-year anniversary with a new tweaked logo. This then evolved into a new look van livery, our first ever HDD brochure and new company stationery.”

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HDD vans have been refreshed with new-look livery

Can you elaborate more on your new office and warehouse space and the motivation behind it?

“Despite the challenges many businesses have faced in 2020, we continued to thrive and grow. This is a testament to the continued dedication of our team and our commitment to providing customers with a stellar level of service.

“As part of this growth, though, we did need to look at the structure of the business and decide how we could future-proof the business moving forward so we would continue to be able to provide the services levels in the long term. This is when, during the COVID 19 pandemic, we decided the business needed a new larger home.

“Towards the end of 2020, HDD was happy to completely move its business to its 35,000 square foot offices in Cleckheaton.  This means we now have a greater capacity and more than 2,000 pallet spaces to provide healthcare distribution logistics that set the benchmark in the industry.

“We are hoping that when the pandemic is over, we will have the opportunity to showcase our new business home to our existing clients and potential new prospects.”

HDD has invested in new barcode technology recently. Can you tell us a little more about this and what difference it will make?

The business has continued to invest heavily in both its people and systems

“HDD’s new barcode technology was implemented to ensure optimal recognition of goods, allowing us to optimise workflow processes and streamline logistics lead times. It is important to us to ensure we manage our clients’ products in the most efficient possible way.

“Any delays in our processes and systems fundamentally mean delays for the end-user and as we all know healthcare products are exceedingly important for the users of this equipment. The new system allows us to track every single parcel and makes sure it runs through HDD’s systems with as little delay as possible and is becoming increasingly effective as we grow as a business.

“We had also seen, in recent times, a lot of our clients were wanting to store their products at HDD’s warehousing facility. It was important to us that if this side of the business was to grow, it would be managed properly which is exactly what the barcoding has done. Each product can now be managed and tracked at any point and reports can be autogenerated and sent to our clients so they can see the exact movements of each item.”

What do you think 2021 holds for HDD Distribution and the industry as a whole?

“This question is something the management team has discussed for some time now and we have found it difficult to answer. We know the industry has been hit in 2020 but we have been lucky enough to navigate the pandemic with an element of positivity. HDD continued to see yearly growth and has also continued to increase the team in all areas. We firmly believe this trend is going to continue for HDD but, more importantly, we believe the industry overall is going to see some very positive results this year.

“We have also been working on increasing our service offering even further and are heavily investing in developing LOLER testing arm to HDD. This is a natural step forward for HDD and are committed to ensuring this side to the business grows over the coming months.”

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