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Even my mother understands it

By Steve Geary | 02/04/2018 | 4:32 PM

Watch what happens in any Emergency Room.  Patients arrive.  Medical professionals examine, categorize, and route to treatment.  That routing may be to a bed in that facility, perhaps an operating table, or a transfer to a more appropriate facility.

That same description would work for any cross-dock operation in the world.  Go to any cross-dock facility, or even a break bulk location, and you will see the same process flow.  Goods arrive.  They are identified, categorized, and routed.  That routing may be to points of use, a queue, or matched to another facility.  Top notch distribution centers move through this process at the speed of light.

This weekend, my mother and I experienced the full spectrum of logistics in health care.  We rode an ambulance to one facility, spent a couple of hours in an examination process, then routed to another facility 10 miles down the road, where we went through the examination, categorization process  all over again.

Let’s say it didn’t feel like we were running through the medical analogue to a Wal-Mart DC.

Good logistics practice applies where ever there is flow.  What’s moving can be a physical item, or a logical concept, or even person.  Everything fits in a flow, and best-in-class logistics principles are universal.

Maybe somebody should ask the insurance companies, who seem to have distorted good logistics principles when it comes to patients in hospitals. Or maybe we should ask the government folks who write the regulations.  But, given what we saw,  I think I understand why medical costs are spiraling out of control.

As we were idling in one of the stops along the way, my mother looked at me and said, “What is so hard about this?” 

All I could do was smile, and then go hunt down somebody to expedite.



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About Steve Geary

Steve Geary

Steve Geary is an adjunct faculty member at the University of Tennessee's College of Business Administration, and is on the faculty at The Gordon Institute at Tufts University, where he teaches supply chain management. He is the President of the Supply Chain Visions family of companies, and Chief Operating Officer at ROSE Solutions, consultancies that work across the government sector. Steve is a contributing editor at DC Velocity, and editor-at-large for CSCMP's Supply Chain Quarterly. He is listed in Who's Who in America, Who's Who in the World, Who's Who in Science and Engineering, and Who's Who in Executives and Professionals. In November of 2007, Steve was recognized for "Selfless Service to Our Nation and the People of Iraq" by the Deputy Secretary of Defense.


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