KTA - Materials Management For HSDU In NHS

Project: Research

Project Details


This project will be lead by DMEM on behalf of Strathclyde Institute for Operations Management with involvement of colleagues from the Business School. Working with one of five of the HSDU specialist sterilising units in Scotland, they specialise in the serialising of medical instruments after an operation which serves a number of major hospitals. After each operation medical devices and instruments are collected and delivered to the HSDU for subsequent sterilisation, inspection, maintenance/replacement, where necessary, and consequent supply back to the operating theatres. It plays a critical role in the delivery of the surgery services of NHS as without correct and properly functioning medical devices operations can be postponed or cancelled.
The current state is that, whilst the sterilisation process operates effectively and efficiently, there are no formal and integrated materials and maintenance management processes or systems in existence. For example, they know that 8 million devices are processed per year but they do not know how many devices there are in the system in total, and what their maintenance status and history are. Therefore, the objective of the proposed engagement is to provide generic business process management expertise in the context of materials, supply chain and maintenance management to develop a blueprint as to how the medical devices sterilisation and maintenance process should be managed in the future within the NHS.

Key findings

Key findings are:
• There is a lot of complexity in the materials management but this can be reduced by combining current principle of ‘families’ with focus on Runners / Repeaters / Strangers
• Current stock levels mismatch numbers of trays to demand i.e. some tray types have too few copies for demand and some have too many. Improving this gives the opportunity for better service levels with less stock holding
• There is no information on service life and maintenance held on individual items meaning any service requirements need to be reacted to when arising rather than anticipated. This decreases service reliability
• While the current materials management system has fields to hold relevant data it is not set-up to provide asset management functions. No current system customers use it for this purpose
• Historical throughput times for individual trays are longer than desirable. Likely causes include the impact on queue times when some items are expedited through the system.

A Service Blueprint is provided covering both a process blueprint and an asset model. Requirements for additional IT are identified and a road map for implementation outlined.
Effective start/end date1/12/1130/06/12


  • NHS Lothian: £1,000.00


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