Transportation & Logistics International - Winter 2017 - 12
Healthcare equipment logistics presents some unique challenges.
- By Cindy Juhas
Whether you're coordinating the
launch of a new healthcare facility or
the renovation of an existing one, it's
important to keep in mind all of the
transportation and logistics challenges
that are unique to the industry.
While coordinating a delivery and ensuring on-time departures and arrivals are
critical for any project, the stakes are even
higher when it comes to healthcare facilities. Hospitals and physician practices can
lose hundreds of thousands of dollars each
day they are not serving patients in the
event of a transportation- or logistics-related delay. If patients are neglected as a
result, then the situation can become dire.
Therefore, it is highly important to
focus on these four challenges when
serving the healthcare space:
Receiving and Unloading
While hospitals and larger healthcare
facilities typically have the necessary
equipment to receive a delivery, off-site
non-acute facilities and brand new acute
facilities often don't have the necessary
tools or personnel. Loading docks may
not be available, and palette jacks, forklifts and other tools may not be on-site.
They won't necessarily have specified
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warehouse personnel to sign for and
help unload the equipment either, so this
needs to be arranged ahead of time.
Keep in mind that the parking lots
of some facilities may be difficult to
navigate in large trucks and space for
parking can be limited or nonexistent.
Storage space can also be a challenge
at smaller facilities that simply don't
have the room or at newly constructed
sites where there is limited access to
the building. Special care needs to be
taken during the delivery not to damage
the equipment, which can be extremely
costly, and any freight damage that does
occur needs to be reported so the products can be replaced and the appropriate
insurance claims filed.
When healthcare facilities order
from multiple vendors, there can be
separate deliveries to manage. Some
may require specialized equipment and
extra staff, while others can be handled
by the facility, so it's important to customize the plan depending on what's
involved in each delivery.
Staging and Assembly
Staging is a key part of ensuring the
deliveries happen in the most efficient
way possible. It is especially important
for new facilities, which typically have
a phase-in schedule by floor or department. The freight needs to be separated
and sorted so it can be delivered to the
appropriate place in the right configuration. Grouping equipment together by delivery phase makes the process of loading
the trucks and tracking the equipment
for each delivery much simpler.
Pre-assembling the equipment during
this staging process is also a critical
step that saves time and prevents lost or
mismatched parts. It is much easier to
track and manage one piece of equipment
than several parts that still need to be
put together. Healthcare equipment, in
particular, needs to be assembled exactly
as intended, which can take time and
sometimes requires specialized tools. The
staging process allows those assembling
the equipment to have the time and space
to do so accurately and without the chaos
and time pressure that comes with putting
together equipment on-site. This is especially important for smaller facilities that
often don't have staff that are trained to
assemble the equipment themselves.
Putting everything together and
organizing it in the appropriate se-