Logistics system ensures individual food for 2,000 patients every day
2,000 patients get their food daily through a new Fritvalgs concept at the 10 hospitals in Region Zealand. They can choose the menu and when they want to eat. This places great demands on hospitals' overview and management of food supplies. At the heart of this service is a new logistics solution from Tecsys based on Tecsys standard components and tailored to Region Zealand's needs.
The free-choice concept is designed to improve patients' experience of the hospital stay, their nutritional intake and reduce food waste.
The food is produced by the central kitchens in Holbæk and Slagelse and distributed to the 10 hospitals. The food is produced so that it can keep for several days in the refrigerator in the individual departments. When the patient wants to eat, he/she chooses his/her menu and the dishes are heated in the microwave.
The fridges are refilled every day via Tecsys' app-based ordering system.
All in one app
Morten Jacobsen, Coordinator for Purchasing, Production and Logistics (IPL) - Region Zealand's kitchen tells:
"We wanted a standalone solution that was easy and simple to use, while improving and streamlining workflows. The solution is in use 365 days a year and it is important that the replenishment of the refrigerators with goods works and that the administration has a full overview."
It replaces a more manual and time-consuming web-based solution. Here, the supply staff had to go around to the departments' fridges with a laptop and enter orders and returned goods. The administration could then plan the kitchens' production.
All in one app
The solution consists of two parts. An app running on an industrial smartphone (Zebra TC52) and an administration module where kitchens automatically get data on what to produce and distribute to hospitals. Here, the administration can also change the set-up of the product catalogue and control a number of logistics functions.
The smartphone is the utility worker's daily tool. The daily routine starts with scanning the refrigerator's barcode and recording the status of its contents. Via a clear menu, the employee reviews returns, replenishment needs and places orders for new food items. Finally, the integrated camera takes a picture of the contents of the fridge as proof that the process has been carried out correctly.
A check function sends an SMS alert to the administration if a fridge is not visited. It then makes sure to order before the deadline. SMS alerts are also sent if an order has not gone through the logistics system.
The solution is integrated with Region Zealand's logistics system via API, so orders and other data are accessed by a single system. Ordering of dairy products from 3rd party suppliers is done automatically via the API interface.
Work routines have clearly improved
The use of smartphones has several advantages. More ergonomic compared to a laptop and Region Zealand's utility employees are mostly young people who are familiar with smartphones. The intuitive app means new employees can use it easily.
The administrative and management of logistics is also improved. In the kitchen, packing slips are printed out automatically, so employees can pack goods as soon as they arrive.
Everything is recorded with barcodes, and reports can be retrieved on specific locations, on time spent on each location visit or food waste on specific types of products, so that targeted work can be done to minimise food waste.
Implementation met all expectations
Region Zealand implemented the solution in October 2019 at all but two hospitals, which joined in January 2020. The process has gone smoothly, deadlines have been met and staff have embraced the new tool.
Morten Jacobsen talks about the cooperation with Tecsys:
"Our primary contact has been with project manager Niels Ole Dyremose, who has been good at grabbing all the balls - even more than you might expect from a supplier. There have been no errors or downtime after go-live and there has been good support when we have asked for new functionality."
About the project:
- Tailored software solution based on Tecsys standard components for app development and framework for admin module
- Hardware: Zebra TC52 with accessories