Simulation models how consolidation of blood production and distribution services impacts hospitals
Canadian Blood Services planned to optimize its operations by consolidating blood production and testing centres in the Maritime region of Atlantic Canada. The impact of this consolidation plan on product availability needed to be carefully evaluated to ensure reliable access to blood products for hospitals and minimize the impact on patients.
The consolidation plan involved relocation of production/distribution facilities from Saint John, New Brunswick (NB) and Halifax, Nova Scotia (NS) to a single site in Dartmouth, NS. Canadian Blood Services process engineers compared expected services levels for hospitals in NB under the “current” and “to be” distribution method. Analyses included a physical test comparing 700 bus shipments, 400 air shipments and 500 courier deliveries and a computer simulation model of different logistic arrangements to determine the amount of inventory necessary at a Saint John stock-holding unit. The results showed that consolidation would not adversely affect product availability in hospitals; where blood is processed is less important for availability than where it is stored and how reliable the distribution network is.
The research provided valuable information for Canadian Blood Services to successfully consolidate its centres in the Maritime region. Completed in 2013, the consolidation provided economic benefits to Canadian Blood Services operations without impacting its stakeholders. Post-consolidation data indicate no adverse impact on hospitals’ inventory management. For example, the average age of red blood cell units available at the hospitals remained the same, while the age of platelets actually decreased.
This project was led by Dr. John Blake
Published April 2016