We announced the kick-off of the “RFIDea” Spotlight series in June, and are excited to feature Green Dental Laboratories in our third post as an example of an organization that uses RFID to transform the way it does business. We are excited to announce that this post is part 1 of 3 in a special "RFIDea" Spotlight series on healthcare! Stay tuned for more!
Green Dental Laboratories help dentists throughout North America by delivering quality restorations at competitive fees. Green’s primary customers consist of dentists and their end user patients. The Green Dental production facility features ergonomically designed workstations and color corrective lighting to provide their highly skilled technicians with an unmatched work environment. Located in Heber Springs, Arkansas, their focus is providing state of the art abutments to cosmetic ceramic veneers. Green makes whatever restoration and movable appliances are necessary to meet the needs of their customers and in fact almost every product they make is an unique and custom product.
Due to the success of their business, Green Dental was receiving 500 to 800 cases a day.
If that was not challenging enough, these cases were expected to be delivered in a five day turnaround. This means that at any particular time, there are several thousand cases in the lab. When these cases are entered, paperwork is created and the case is clipped onto the case pan. Then, any orders placed by the dentist will be invoiced individually. These cases are then fulfilled by Green technicians or handled by a number of different personnel, and located in different places throughout the Green facility as the cases are administered.
The challenge - whenever a a specific case pan is needed for a review or alteration, supervisors were spending a great deal of time manually locating specific case pans.
Since they are scheduling their own patients, dentists need an exact time of delivery from these cases, therefore it is crucial that Green Dental Laboratory can instantly identify where the case is in their production system. Another issue is the actual size of the case pans. As the cases are moving through the process, they are stored in stacks. Even though they use case wranglers for keeping track of the cases, too much time is spent in searching through the large amount of cases, with the average size of pans being 5 inches by 8 inches, and not enough time fulfilling these cases.
Joe Bowers, the Director of Information Management of Green Technologies, and inventory manager, was tasked to improve the current system of manual location and identification. Prior to his three years at Green, Joe had spent time in network integration and other IT roles, thus he was familiar with the potential of RFID to manage this process.
“We thought the implementation of RFID would lead to being able to see where the case had been, where it is right now, and why a case has not moved,” notes Bower.
About the Author: As healthcare practice lead – Americas, Andy Tippet oversees healthcare practice for North America and South America Regions of Zebra Technologies. Tippet provides planning and execution on marketing initiatives to drive revenues.
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