Collaborative Supplying Networks: Reducing Materials Management Costs in Healthcare
Materials and inventories management is becoming a more and more important subject in the health care sector, because of its impact on efficiency, and quality of services provided. This study is focused on the inventory management and the service of surgical instruments reprocessing related to the operating room. The aim is to analyse which benefits may produce the combination of two different factors: the implementation of the RFId technology along the supply chain and the cooperation thorough a long-term collaborative-networked organization of the supplying companies. The first factor, named ‘RFId effect’, allows implementing a Continuous Review policy, instead of the Periodic Review policy normally utilized. The second factor, named ‘Network effect’, gives to supplying companies the possibility to share transportation costs. The model is inspired by a real case study of a long-term collaborative network of supplying companies in the health care sector that operates in central Italy. A numerical experiment shows that combining the RFId and Network effects may bring to a relevant reduction of expected costs.