Photo: Drew Hays
Efficient route planning is very important for laboratories
With over 50 locations in Germany, Sonic Healthcare Germany is one of the largest providers of medical laboratory services in Germany. Around 7,000 employees are working to support medical care in practices and clinics with careful laboratory diagnostics. This is not only ensured by doctors and scientists - the punctual collection of the samples and the transmission of laboratory values is also a basic requirement for the well-being of the patients and for smooth processes in the practices and clinics.
For this purpose, medical samples are collected daily in the practices of general practitioners and specialists, hospitals and health facilities. The top priority here is punctuality and reliability. Another important quality criterion is maximum transport times so that the samples are not on the road for too long. Not only because the goods are sensitive, but above all so that doctors can inform their patients promptly. The faster the sample arrives in the laboratory, the sooner the evaluated laboratory data can be transmitted. “Nowadays, doctors expect that the diagnoses of urgent values are available a few hours later,” explains Stefan Rosenthal. “So the challenge lies in adapting the pick-up service to the respective practice or clinic procedures. For us, professional logistics means that we serve every customer as requested and adhere to promised times and services. "
Last but not least, it is important to act as efficiently as possible - there are detailed, timed processes in the practices and clinics as well as in the laboratories. This requires a large network and sophisticated route planning. Sonic Healthcare relies on TransIT and has been working with gts for 7 years. “It worked right from the start, because gts understood our specific requirements for laboratory diagnostics and adapted the software accordingly for us. Personal advice and individual services give us tailor-made software solutions, ”says Stefan Rosenthal. From the logistics manager's point of view, the route planning software plays a large part in the reliable logistics of his company: “We plan and optimize all routes with TransIT, it works very well. If, for example, orders change, this is smoothly incorporated into the tours. "
TransIT plays a large part in the reliable logistics of our company.
Stefan Rosenthal, Logistik Manager Sonic Healthcare Germany
Regular, spontaneous, on call
In most practices and clinics, samples are picked up one or more times a day at previously agreed times, so that the pick-up is planned as a fixed tour. “Almost 90% are the same tours. Planning is relatively easy here, ”says Stefan Rosenthal, describing the processes. A second tour category are special trips with unplanned orders. If an order is added spontaneously, it is checked which route it best fits on and then appropriately scheduled.
A special feature are so-called call-off customers. These pick-ups are not permanently commissioned, but they are so regular that they are included in the tour. "On-call customers are integrated into the tours. It is more efficient to include them in the planning than to spontaneously schedule them and then change the current tours. Of course, they are regularly evaluated to check whether the call-off customers are really so frequent that it is worth taking them on the tour," explains Stefan Rosenthal.
TransIT also helps with "free route planning" as part of strategic route planning . "We regularly check whether our tours are still economical and whether the promised service level is being maintained. This also includes, for example, the analysis of entire areas. Depending on the data situation, the tours in an area are rescheduled or sometimes completely rearranged," says Stefan Rosenthal.
As a future challenge, Stefan Rosenthal mentions that the traffic is getting denser. This cannot be influenced. All the more you need intelligent route planning. Another new aspect of tour optimization is that the previously classic pick-up in the morning is increasingly shifting to the evening and thus to rush hour traffic. “Don't forget digitization. We are currently working on a driver app to facilitate scheduling and communication with the drivers, ”said Logistics Manager Stefan Rosenthal.
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