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Case Study: How Dedicated Drivers Optimized a Lab's STAT Deliveries

Case Study: How Dedicated Drivers Optimized a Lab's STAT Deliveries
Audio_Case Study_How Dedicated Drivers Optimized a Lab's STAT Deliveries


Optimizing Lab Specimen Delivery With Dedicated Drivers



A global life sciences company with a national laboratory network optimized its lab specimen delivery operations using a dedicated medical courier service fleet-replacement model alongside its existing fleet and drivers.  

The pandemic caused surging demand and time-sensitive deliveries that the original vendor couldn't meet. The case study details implementing a multi-layered dedicated delivery solution with a new courier service provider, significantly improving efficiency, on-time delivery rates, and overall service quality.



During the surge of the COVID-19 pandemic, a national laboratory's vendor struggled to maintain service levels, resulting in delays exceeding their critical STAT 2-hour window for specimen pick-up and delivery. This jeopardized the integrity of samples and the accuracy of diagnoses, especially when the volume was unprecedented and quick turnarounds were expected.



Excel Courier augmented the laboratory's existing in-house fleet using a multi-pronged implementation approach:

  • Trial One Dedicated Driver: For a trial period, a dedicated driver was assigned to manage the high-volume weekday pickups, nine hours a day, to ensure the deliveries were met within the STAT's 2-hour window.

    By assigning a single driver exclusively to the lab for extended periods, instead of relying on an on-call system with uncertain driver availability, the dedicated approach ensured a consistent and well-acquainted presence on the routes, ultimately optimizing efficiency.

    During the trial period, Excel had the opportunity to carefully assess the client's specific requirements, iron out any issues, and make recommendations to enhance efficiency before expanding to more routes.

  • Establish Flexible Back-up Support: With a highly trained driver in place, they could also serve as a training mentor for new drivers joining the client's team. Additional drivers were readily available for backup during peak hours or unforeseen circumstances, ensuring uninterrupted coverage throughout the 8-hour workday.

  • Expanding Additional Routes and Weekend Coverage: Additional dedicated drivers were assigned eight- and six-hour weekend routes to ensure consistent weekend service.

    By starting with a trial route and gradually expanding, we gained insights into the daily operations. This allowed the laboratory to acclimate to our services and team and built trust and collaboration along the way.

  • Relay System with Secure Lockboxes: A relay system was implemented for longer routes. Drivers met at designated drop-off points within the lab facility, categorized by temperature requirements (ambient, frozen, refrigerated) and irreplaceable specimens. Secure lockboxes with barcodes facilitated efficient specimen exchange while maintaining the chain of custody.

  • Comprehensive Driver Training: Drivers underwent a rigorous training program mirroring the Client's existing protocols. This included:

    • Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) review
    • Phone, scanner, and dry run training
    • Familiarization with pick-up procedures
    • Location- and specimen-level scanning practices
    • Secure lockbox management
    • Protocol for handling will-call pickups during routes
    • Specimen sorting and irreplaceable specimen logging
  • Designated Client Account Manager: Excel Courier provides a 24/7/365 trained operations team as the standard mode of communication for all clients. However, opting for a dedicated model offered the laboratory access to a Client Account Manager. 

    This individual is specifically tasked with overseeing metrics, operations, and laboratory delivery protocols, ensuring proactive solutions and quick escalation if necessary. This tailored approach guarantees that the lab has a dedicated point of contact for seamless communication and efficient problem-solving.




  • Improved On-Time Rates: The dedicated drivers and backup system ensured consistent on-time pick-up and delivery, meeting the critical 2-hour window for specimen collection.
  • Enhanced Efficiency: Familiarization with routes and procedures through dedicated drivers and comprehensive training streamlined operations and minimized delays.
  • Increased Flexibility: The relay system facilitated efficient delivery for longer routes, and separate weekend drivers offered continued service beyond weekdays.
  • Streamlined Communication: Dedicated account management and clear communication channels ensured seamless collaboration between the Client and service provider.
  • Maintained Chain of Custody: Secure lockboxes and thorough training ensured the integrity and security of specimens throughout the delivery process.

Key Learnings
  • The Importance of Diversification: Partnering with a reputable courier service provider can provide valuable redundancy and ensure uninterrupted service during peak times or unforeseen circumstances.
  • Dedicated Teams Drive Efficiency: Assigning dedicated drivers to specific routes fosters familiarity and streamlines operations, leading to improved on-time rates and overall efficiency.
  • Flexibility is Key: A multi-layered approach to fleet management allows for adaptability. Back-up drivers, weekend coverage, and relay systems can address fluctuations in demand and ensure consistent service delivery.
  • Comprehensive Training is Paramount: Thorough training for all drivers involved in specimen delivery is crucial. Understanding protocols, chain of custody procedures, and secure handling practices safeguards the integrity of specimens and the accuracy of diagnoses.
  • Clear Communication is Essential: Establishing dedicated communication channels between the healthcare provider and courier service fosters seamless collaboration and facilitates the resolution of any issues that may arise.

By augmenting their existing fleet with a dedicated and well-trained courier service provider, the national healthcare network successfully navigated the challenges presented by the pandemic. This demonstrates the value of a multi-layered approach to fleet management, ensuring on-time delivery, efficient operations, and, ultimately, the accuracy of diagnoses for critical healthcare services.

Contact Excel Courier today to discover how we can help you achieve similar successful outcomes in Medical Logistics.




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