Kanban - An "Old" System Becoming the Way of the Future

By Sophie Rutherford

Every day, hospital supply chain leaders approach us, asking about Kanban as a way to improve inventory management.

Kanban is a lean inventory control system that enables efficient, low-cost inventory management and replenishment using a simple approach with high visibility.  The Japanese word “Kanban” means “sign” or “billboard” – it’s a signal system designed in manufacturing, which easily triggers replenishment for supplies, without overstocking or stocking-out. It can be implemented in several different ways, using shelves and trays, watermarks and two bin systems.
There are a lot of good reasons that healthcare is now considering Kanban – in fact, working with hospitals that have made the move, the results include:

  1. Improved nursing satisfaction
  2. Reduced labor costs – for both supply chain team members and clinicians
  3. Maximized storage areas and creating a more efficient use of space
  4. Elimination of cabinet investments
  5. Reduced on-hand inventory
  6. Accurate velocity for every item
  7. Reduced line charges
  8. Elimination of stock-outs
  9. Faster, easier access to supplies
  10. Cost reductions achieved with this less-expensive, more accurate way to manage supplies

If this list gives you a few more reasons to consider Kanban for your inventory management, there are resources available to help you assess your current state and get started. Though Kanban is an incredibly easy approach to inventory management, your organization can benefit from experts who can help you set it up and get started to gain greatest efficiency.  Talking with hospital supply chain leaders, we often hear comments about strangely shaped store rooms or limited storage space, a lack of confidence in knowing the “right” amount of supplies to begin with, and how to create a layout for the best possible placement of supplies for efficient clinical access. It’s helpful to have expertise to get the right approach in place.
We’ve seen that Kanban inventory management and solid technology brings a lot of benefit to provider organizations and we’re working to bring together even more expertise and support healthcare inventory efficiencies. Recently, JumpTech teamed with Pegasus Medical Concepts to offer hospitals an end-to-end inventory management solution using Kanban with JumpStock™ inventory management.
Pegasus Medical provides turn-key installations of Kanban inventory storage systems. They have a nationwide team of logistics experts and deliver services including:

  • Initial strategic data analysis
  • Design layouts
  • Planning and placement of all supplies, with proper categorization and labeling of storage units
  • Physical set up and installation of the complete system