Hospital employee working in the stockroom
The challenge of hospital logistics is that the goods must be in the right place at the right time without filling up expensive floor space.
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Consulting engineers help Norwegian hospitals keep track of thousands of product numbers

Danish key competencies in goods logistics and distribution at hospitals now benefit the Norwegians.

12. Jan 2018

Beds, clean linen, food and medicine for patients, operating equipment and many other consumables. Large modern hospitals work with thousands of product numbers, which are delivered daily to make day-to-day operations possible. Therefore, logistics must be very precise to ensure that enough storage space is available, and that the departments receive the necessary supplies in due time.

As Denmark's largest consultant to hospitals, NIRAS has experience with product flows in connection with super hospital projects such as Rigshospitalet (The National Hospital of Denmark), the new Hospital Herlev, DNV Gødstrup and the new Odense University Hospital. These experiences are now benefiting the Norwegian hospital services, as NIRAS is logistics consultant for several of these new hospitals.

The University Hospital in Stavanger, Hospital Nordmøre Romsdal and Førde are Norwegian hospitals, which will all benefit from NIRAS' specialist competencies in hospital logistics.

Items on the right shelf 'just in time'

The challenge of hospital logistics is that the goods must be in the right place at the right time without filling up expensive floor space.

"It's easy to deliver a lot of goods which then occupy floor space. The art is to ensure that the goods arrive when needed - just in time," says Head of Department for logistics in NIRAS, Claus Fabricius.

The key to this is a supply system that selects the goods for delivery when needed. The goods are picked up from a central store at night, and lorries deliver the goods in containers early in the morning in the hospitals' goods reception area.  For example, supplies are delivered in time for breakfast at 6 a.m., operations  at 7 a.m., and clean linen as well as other consumables can be stocked in depots during the cause of the day. 

New super hospitals in Norway

The Norwegian hospital market is very similar to the Danish. Norway, like Denmark, is in the process of implementing a major hospital plan involving a number of new super hospitals and hospital expansions for approximately NOK 10 billion a year.

NIRAS has established its foothold in the Norwegian hospital market through the good relations developed over the years due to the hospital conferences on, among other things, logistics, held by NIRAS with Norwegians as participants. Through these conferences, NIRAS has established good contacts in Norway, and these good contacts have since visited Danish hospitals to gain inspiration in the field of hospital logistics.

"Norway and Denmark are very similar as regards hospital logistics challenges. Previously, the Norwegians were more advanced using eg. AGV systems (driverless trucks), but Denmark has caught up. We now have the same logistics challenges, and Danish hospital consultants have some actual experiences that can benefit the Norwegians," says Claus Fabricius.

Danish hospital consultants are at the forefront of new knowledge

Sykehusbygg (Hospital buildings), Norway, which coordinates the building of Norwegian hospitals and acts as project managers for developments, will in the longer term build up their own competences and take over many of the hospital tasks, which is also the purpose of the institution.

"But they will still need sparring and assistance on their tasks because we are further ahead with regard to hospital buildings and more at the forefront within eg. logistics and highly automated sterile centers, another of NIRAS' core competencies," says Claus Fabricius, and continues:

"The plan is of course that advice on hospital logistics and sterilization centers may serve as a door-opener to sell other services to the Norwegian hospitals combined with the general expansion of NIRAS’ consultancy in Norway, and by teaming up with architects on hospital projects."

Read more: Central warehouse frees money and staff in Region Zealand of Denmark