There are two main storage options used in sterile processing areas and operating rooms in hospitals. Here in the UK, these are (more often than not) Traditional, rather than automated storage units. Traditional storage requires someone to physically locate and retrieve items, while automated storage units, as the name suggests, brings items to a specific location, whereby an operator needn’t move. This is sometimes referred to as G2P (“goods to person” or “goods to man” (G2M).
In the UK, this is the most common method. Items are placed on racking, either directly sitting on a shelf, or placed inside bins (“totes”) in storage areas. For operating rooms, trays are regularly assembled, by hand, and for Traditional storage, this is accomplished one item at a time by hospital staff. In hospitals, there are of course scores instruments and supplies in storage spaces, a number of which can look virtually identical – and in an environment when time is of the essence, accuracy sometimes takes a backseat. Locating these supplies by searching through racks upon racks and sometimes aisles of space is very time-consuming and inefficient. This is hindered ever more, if bins are marked incorrectly or damaged. Error-prone, slow and unclear.
In our experience, picker-to-part storage results in employees spending roughly 50% of their time walking to storage locations. This means that half the time employees are working, they’re simply walking from one location to another. As well as being a very bad use of time, workplace injuries incurred through lifting, carrying heavy items, tripping, bending and more – especially if using ladders or reaching for items are much more prevalent.
Automated storage and retrieval systems bring items to the operator – and are therefore much more efficient, and of course much safer to the operator. These operations are often carried out by vertical carousels and lifts which deliver supplies and items directly to the picker (G2M/G2P) at a designated retrieval area. The operator does not need to lift, carry, stretch or, use a ladder – saving time, reducing breakages, losses and risk of injury. Industore’s Hänel Rotomat vertical carousels help sterile environment technicians gather much-needed supplies for operations – quickly and efficiently. Swift retrieval and accurate pickings ensure patients get the best level of care, and ensure that staff are freed up to perform more important tasks – perhaps repurposed to other areas of operating rooms, or the hospital more holistically, ensuring talent is delivered to all parts of our NHS.
The Rotomat vertical carousel is a cost-cutting, efficient, and rational solution for any enterprise that employs storage operations.