Managing Shipments When Inventories Are Uncertain

by Brian Burkett

When difficult times arise, one of the first things that often goes by the wayside is innovation. Over 4,000 blood drives have been cancelled to date — which means suppliers have received 130,000 fewer blood donations than expected — and cancellations are only expected to climb in the coming weeks.

A common reaction in any emergency is to stock up on scarce resources.  Blood is no exception. Anecdotal evidence suggests that some blood banks may be ordering more than normal.  However, over-ordering, while understandable, could create a crisis of its own. The downsides are predictable: patients in need may not have access to blood they need, while idle inventory has a higher likelihood of outdating.

To head off this crisis and mitigate its downsides, BloodHub reached out to multiple blood centers for ideas.  The goal was to find a highly effective, reliable, equitable and easy-to-implement process that was simple to explain and understand.  To succeed, hospital customers had to rest assured that distribution decisions remain equitable and needs-based.

The partnership worked!  In less than a week, BloodHub developed, tested, and deployed a simple process that allows blood centers to control ordering and outbound shipments.  Hospital Services staff can now make rational inventory allocation choices. Most importantly, hospitals will receive blood products based on need, historical demand and available inventory.

“Balancing code reliability, functional simplicity, and a fast rollout with quick adoption can be a challenge, especially during an ongoing emergency,” said Michael Pandelakis, Founder & CEO of BloodHub.  “Ultimately, there is no substitute for healthy donors stepping up and donating.  Until the US blood supply returns to normal levels, BloodHub remains committed to helping our blood center partners adapt and respond with rapid, creative and impactful innovation that maximizes the life-saving potential of available inventory.”

BloodHub’s solution will not prohibit or prevent hospitals from getting life-saving blood products. Instead, it encourages responsible ordering and discourages over-ordering, thereby preserving our nation’s supply, all while empowering suppliers with the information they need to appropriately fill orders.

Our thoughts are with each of you at this time, and as always, do not hesitate to reach out to us. We are here to help in every way possible.