Kanban for HospitalsDavid Inbar
The Kanban System
Kanban is the Japanese term for Just in Time Replenishment. This is a visual tool to refill inventory when and only when needed. As the refill is done only when necessary, there is no excess or shortage. As a result, inventory is always kept lean.
Kanban System and Health Care Industry
The kanban system has been used successfully since 1940 in various manufacturing industries, and super markets. It is a common sight to see long racks where bakery items and milk are kept in the super markets. Items are stocked from the back as it is consumed from the front. This same process can also be adopted within hospitals and the health care industry.
Two Bin Ordering System in Hospitals
Vital items such as medicines, syringes, and cleaning supplies can be put on a two bin in the rack. While the front bin is being used, there is a full bin waiting at the back. As soon as the first bin becomes empty, it will be pushed to the back. The full bin that was in the back will come to the front for usage.
When the bins are consumed, it is necessary to reorder the material from the suppliers. This requires reliable communication that the bin has become empty and need to be refilled. In a traditional Kanban system, an employee manually takes note of all the empty bins and then issue orders from their accounting system. This is a slow and error prone process.
Electronic Kanban (E-Kanban) System
An electronic kanban system automates this process of ordering. When the bin becomes empty, whoever consumed the last item and moved the bin to the back will scan a bar code with a mobile app or a mobile card reader. This will trigger the signal to the suppliers to start the refill process. Suppliers will get an email or a text message that the bin needs to be re stocked.
Blanket Orders in Kanban Process
To cover the replenishment, issue a blanket order to the supplier authorizing them to deliver the supplies as and when they get the signal. This will avoid the need to issue many purchase orders at short intervals. The blanket order can have an agreed rate and will have a validity of a quarter or a year. Every month, supplier will raise an invoice for the quantity delivered. As each transaction is recorded in the system, it will be easy to reconcile the quantity delivered to the quantity invoiced.
TPSynergy E-Kanban system
TPSynergy(www.tpsynergy.com) is an electronic Kanban system that uses mobile apps and cloud technology to improve the process of automating the Kanban process in hospitals. COntact us to learn more.