Wednesday, September 18, 2013

RFID Technology and Lean Implementation help to decrease labor costs in the Healthcare Supply Chain

Recently the University of Cinncinatti has been researching how RFID technology and Toyota Lean methodologies are affecting the healthcare supply chain. This study specifically looks at how three hospitals are using Toyota Kanban system that is integrated with RFID technology to make a "learner hospital supply chain."

Research has shown that using the Kanban system gives visual cues to those who replenish the system. By integrating the RFID technology in the Kanban system these hospitals can use RFID as a replacement "visual cue" to inform the system that supplies need to be ordered and resupplied. This system allows system to order the supplies needed and provide the supplies for continuous replacement. This research has shown that with the implementation of the this system in hospitals that they were able to decrease labor costs by up to 18% which were associated with resupplying products.

Will healthcare systems make the initial investment in RFID technology after finding out about studies like this one? Will companies begin to use other forms of RFID technology to integrate with Lean methodologies? How cost effective do these technologies need to be in order to be implemented?

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