Automated system cures storage problem

Children’s Hospital Colorado installs horizontal carousels to ease growing pain in its stockroom.

By ·

From private patient rooms to progressive medical technology to organized material and process flow, every detail of the new Children’s Hospital Colorado in Denver was designed and built to maximize the patient experience—helping kids get better faster while reducing stress on the whole family. Reducing stress on the stockroom is also mission-critical to the overall experience.

The hospital’s stockroom inventories more than 17,000 SKUs and is responsible for three types of orders: automated supply cabinet restock orders, clinician orders and ambulatory cabinet restock orders. With the help of three 52-foot-long horizontal carousels (Kardex Remstar, http://www.kardexremstar.com), integrated with pick-to-light technology and order processing software, inventory is received, stored, processed, picked and delivered on time.

The entire horizontal carousel system occupies just 1,690 square feet and is operated by one orderpicker. Traditional shelving would need 4,131 more square feet and more orderpickers. “Without the horizontal carousels we’d have at least eight more orderpickers running around and searching shelving for items and it would take 10 times longer,” says Richard Hire, director of materials management. 

As the hospital network grows to meet the needs of its patients, so does its need for storage. The hospital is building a 10-story patient tower that will increase the number of beds to nearly 500. And, the stockroom is slated to add new SKUs and increase the minimum inventory level of some existing SKUs. To accommodate the increased inventory, the hospital will install two additional horizontal carousels.

“Expansion isn’t a problem for us,” says Chris Houk, logistics and distribution manager. “One of the reasons we bought the horizontal carousel system is that it’s scalable and easy to expand as the hospital grows.”

With the expansion, the stockroom will run the five horizontal carousels still using one orderpicker.


About the Author

Lorie King Rogers
Lorie King Rogers, associate editor, joined Modern in 2009 after working as a freelance writer for the Casebook issue and show daily at tradeshows. A graduate of Emerson College, she has also worked as an editor on Stock Car Racing Magazine.

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From the October 2017 Modern Materials Handling Issue
An early adopter, Rochester Drug Cooperative is using robotic piece-picking technology to complement picking of slow-moving items. System report for Rochester Drug Cooperative, Robotic picking and inventory management, Innovative distribution center robotics solutions , IAM Robotics case study
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