We had to think outside of the box, and now we have a Warehouse in a Box™…
This formed part of the speech by the Hon Dr. Agnes Binagwaho, the Rwandan Minister of Health, at the opening of the new warehouse facility of the RBC’s Medical Procurement and Production Division (MPPD) at the beginning of last month. The innovative Warehouse-in-a Box™ (WiB) is a turnkey solution that delivers the infrastructure, equipment and support services to rapidly erect a fully functional, ready-to-use, pharmaceutical warehouse and operational service. This WiB is an extension to the main warehouse, and allows the division to cease renting additional space, generating a cost saving for the MoH.
As the dignitaries and VIPs were given a tour of the warehouse, the rest were treated to a display by the famous national dance troupe. It is traditional Ballet of Rwanda, one of Africa’s longest established. Each dance tells a story. More information can be found at http://www.rwanda-direct.com/rwanda-intore-dancers/
The WiB is offered by Imperial Health Science of South Africa, and the Rwandan facility was funded by United States Agency for International Development (USAID). There are many WiBs opening up around the continent, as a fast solution for warehousing needs, with each unit having a fixed cost.
As the name states, everything is included in ‘the box’, from the physical warehouse and its fixtures, to material handling equipment and training. In comparison to what is currently available in the country, the warehouse is state of the art, offering air -conditioning and temperature control, a cold room and sub zero freezer, bio-metric door control and CCTV.
My role here with CHAI, placed in the MPPD, is to optimize the warehouse space (in the WiB as well as the other warehouses). I am working on ABC analysis and zoning. Each budget holder will have its own zone, and the products will be placed within each zone based on ABC, with most frequently picked products on the ground level and less frequently picked on higher levels or at the secondary warehouse.
I am also working on a full case picking trial, to minimize opened packages and all the issues that cause (damage, loss, theft). This is rounding the orders to be in multiples of full packs where possible, and educating the customers (pharmacies) to the benefits of this.
Finally, I am working with the quantification team to improve the inventory control process, to minimize stock outs and expiring products, and lower the working capital tied up in inventory.
Alongside this, I plan to implement some ADP techniques, to help make the team more efficient. Although some of the techniques have been taught in the past, as lean ideology, I will try to embed it. Do I get a Fist or Five?
With a little under eight working weeks to go, I need to step it up a gear!
For more info on the WiB concept, you can visit http://www.ihs.za.com/content/warehouse-in-a-box