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Important Considerations for Healthcare Warehousing

Healthcare warehousing is an operation that preserves the integrity and quality of drugs, which can affect millions of people. In healthcare warehousing, meticulous attention to various facets is imperative to ensure seamless flow of medical supplies. This article explores critical considerations across different stages of the healthcare warehouse process, shedding light on key factors that contribute to efficiency and reliability. The warehouse must ensure efficiency, safety, temperature-controlled products, and compliance with regulatory requirements of sensitivity. It should be well-equipped with the right technology, processes, and procedures for handling each stage of the supply chain. The process includes receiving, storage, picking, delivery, and product recalls. These are the keys to contributing to the success of the supply chain activities in the healthcare industry.

Quality Management

In healthcare, a comprehensive quality management system comprises service providers, processes, products, activities, principles, practices, and improvement plans for a healthcare facility. The healthcare quality management system helps monitor, evaluate, and improve the working processes to meet advanced international standards for professional patient healthcare. All medical procedures should aim to improve and secure patient health. Therefore, the healthcare quality management system aims to reduce risks and errors in the administration programs. Integrity of healthcare products must be non-negotiable. Rigorous quality inspection procedures must be in place to safeguard against defects or damage. It is crucial to maintain the highest standards for medical supplies that directly impact patient care.The healthcare quality management mission ensures that all patients receive the best possible defined medical services, regardless of their gender, race, or financial status. Moreover, healthcare quality management is built on serving the population without limits or an interpersonal framework.

Product Packaging

The healthcare industry has the most demanding standards for sanitation. This has led to the development of robust processes by manufacturers and distributors that allow for frequent disinfection and thorough cleaning. Proper product packaging is critical, not only for aesthetics but also for complying with regulatory standards. It is also vital to preserve the integrity of sensitive medical equipment and pharmaceuticals. Sustainability is a significant concern in healthcare and medical device packaging. This is due to the need for sterilized products, specialized waste streams, and strict regulatory requirements. There are several initiatives that aim to increase the circularity of healthcare plastics. These initiatives use innovative packaging design, material selection, recovery methods, and recycling technologies. Most healthcare plastic packaging is incinerated or disposed of in landfills, even though most of these polymers can be technically recycled. Hazardous waste accounts for only 15% of packaging waste from healthcare facilities.

Product Storage and Handling

When managing healthcare products in storage facilities, a high level of attention and precision is required to ensure their quality and safety. The healthcare facilities must implement a range of best practices for receiving, storing, and transporting healthcare products. These best practices are designed to minimize the risk of contamination and preserve the integrity of the products. When it comes to healthcare warehousing, strategic storage and handling practices are of utmost importance. Healthcare facilities must prioritize traceability and visibility of inventory, especially since they handle time-sensitive products such as drugs and medicines. The healthcare facilities must ensure the availability of real-time inventory data so as to effectively manage their stock levels and avoid stockouts. The healthcare facilities must select the right racking or shelving systemto optimize the storage and handling of healthcare products. The choice of racking or shelving system can significantly impact the overall efficiency and safety of the healthcare warehouse. For example, selecting a racking or shelving system that is easily disinfected can help reduce the risk of contamination. It is important to implement optimized storage solutions that can minimize the risk of product expiration and ensure timely access to critical medical supplies.These solutions include FEFO (first-expiry, first-out) or FIFO (first-in, first-out).

Temperature Control Facility

In the healthcare industry, temperature and humidity are considered critical factors and it is a part of the regulatory requirements. A healthcare warehouse must select the right temperature recording instrumentation, validate processes, and maintain documentation of records and procedures, including responding to alarm conditions. For warehouses handling temperature-sensitive medical supplies, a state-of-the-art temperature control facility is indispensable. If the temperature deviates from the recommended conditions, it may affect product suitability. It is crucial to maintain appropriate conditions for preserving the efficacy and safety of pharmaceuticals and biotech products. Temperature and humidity control is a part of regulatory requirements for the healthcare warehouse which can with deviation or huge loss to the company. If both temperature and humidity are not managed as per the requirements and guidelines.

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Chew Chee Kien Louis
Chew Chee Kien Louis
Chew Chee Kien Louis has substantive years of experience in leading warehouse and logistics operations, and specifically in manufacturing and logistics industry. He holds the Executive Certificate in Warehouse Management from SIPMM, and is a member of the Singapore Institute of Purchasing and Materials Management (SIPMM). Louis Chew completed the Diploma in Logistics and Supply Management (DLSM) on December 2023 at SIPMM Institute.

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