“Logistics automation” is a phrase that some hospitals and healthcare facilities are still resisting. But with the aging population and every hospital’s need to cut costs and improve performance, it’s becoming more and more common. “But wait,” you say, “we don’t want to put anyone out of a job, and automation is the fastest way to do that.” Not necessarily! Automation will never be able to replace actual doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals, but it can save them valuable time so they can get back to treating patients faster. Logistics automation isn’t just a nifty piece of technology to have—in the coming years, it will be absolutely vital.
Why Logistics Automation is Growing
Most of the processes that logistics automation focuses on are things like medication counting and tasks that don’t require much cognitive thought. Automating these tasks not only allows professionals with more clinical work time, but reduces human error and the time and costs associated with it. Don’t know where to start? Here are a few automation technologies that have been popping up in a growing amount of industries, including healthcare. The best part is that they provide multiple solutions: inventory management, logistics flow, and space savings being just a few.
Vertical Lift Modules & Vertical Carousels
Vertical lift modules (VLMs) and vertical carousels are seen in a lot of warehouses, and have also been increasingly used in medical device and pharmaceutical manufacturing because they’re especially suited for high-value items. They offer an all-in-one solution that manages inventory, tracks items and provides audit trails, keeps stored materials secure, efficient dispensing, and integration with refrigeration and fire suppression systems. This is huge, especially when regulations require security and documentation for items like prescription medication. With inventory management technology, it can also manage your stock rotation and distribution so you’re not scrambling with expired medications and products.
Horizontal carousels are great for distribution. When orders need to be filled, people need to move fast, and it’s just impossible to be as efficient as possible when they have to walk and search through aisles of shelving, carts, and other outdated storage systems. Instead, all they need to do is push a button and the requested item is delivered directly to the operator. This also allows more items to be processed with fewer errors and, thus, with less incurred costs.
Of course, these are just a few examples. There are many logistics automation technologies out on the market, but it can be difficult to figure out where to start and decide what would work best for you. Even with these initial difficulties, automation provides substantial benefits in the long run and, usually, a very quick return on investment. Take a look at some of the benefits that come from even light automation:
- Labor savings
- Reduced human errors
- Reduced paper that takes up space and can get lost or misplaced
- Higher throughput and efficiency
- Lowered overhead costs
- Continuous automated feedback, allowing you to identify and further streamline productivity
Contact Us for More Information on Logistics Automation
Southwest Solutions Group® provides design, installation, and implementation services for a wide variety of logistics automation products and software to all types of healthcare facilities. We would also be happy to provide you with a free consultation to determine your exact needs before you commit to buying anything. For more information or to speak with a healthcare specialist, call us at 1-800-803-1083 or send us a message today.