Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to evaluate the impact on customer service of amalgamating two production/distribution facilities in a blood distribution network, located in the Maritime region of Canada, into a single production facility and a satellite distribution facility. Design/methodology/approach – Simulation models of the existing distribution network and the future distribution network were built. Experiments were conducted, using the two models, to compare the performance of each. Findings – Results indicate that there is no evidence to suggest a decrease in customer service resulting from the consolidation of the two facilities. Furthermore, results indicate that this conclusion is robust with respect to lower inventory levels at the satellite and up to three road closures per annum. Research limitations/implications – The results are based on specific operational assumptions regarding the number of hospitals supplied by the satellite facility and the methods used to transport blood products between locations. Social implications – The results of this study have important implications for how vital blood products are distributed to patients in the Maritime provinces of Canada. Originality/value – This paper is a case study describing a unique application of simulation methods to an important area of application. It will be of interest to readers interested in the management of blood supply chains and to researchers applying simulation methods.
Journal of Enterprise Information Management – Emerald Publishing
Published: Feb 8, 2013
Keywords: Canada; Modelling; Simulation; Blood; Supply chain management; Blood supply chain; Facilities location; Logistics; Simulation modelling
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