College of Engineering Unit:
Three industrial engineering students (Khalid Ben Awadh, Ben Chapman, and Thomas Harvison) are working on a project to help develop an invenotry system for Samaritan Health Services. Sam Health currently operates and maintains over 6000 different pieces of medical equipment, all of which require some kind of parts to be kept on-site. Currently, there is no system in place for storing, inventorying, or ordering parts.
The team's initial strategy was to use HEMS (Health Equipment Management System) to develop an automatic ordering system based on re-order points for each part. HEMS is a software that manages the maintenance of health equipment, but Sam Health has not been using it to its full potential. However, delays in student onboarding prevented the team from getting hands on the HEMS system with enough time to learn and improve it.
The team then shifted its focus on the physical inventory itself. Upon the first site visit, the team learned that there was no dedicated storage space and that parts were stored where they fit. The room in which the parts were kept was also the room in which the clinical engineers would work on the equipment. The team was met with a small, cluttered office with shelves of parts and manuals taking up the majority of the space and engineers confined to tiny desks. After seeing the current state of the problem, the team decided to take two approaches: safety stock and layout design.
For the safety stock approach, the team was given data on the demand for each part kept on site. This data will be used to find the optimal number of parts to keep on hand at any time, as well as at what inventory level a reorder will need to be initiated. For the layout design, the team made a model of the workspace, as well as the shelves to be used as inventory storage. An algorithm was then performed to find the optimal placement within the office of each part so that it is closest to the engineer that will be using it the most. The combination of these two approaches should have a large effect on the workflow within that workspace. The inventory levels should be at a point in which they are not taking up too much space with extra stock, and the engineers should be able to put in the minimum amount of effort to find and retrieve the parts they need.