Using simulation to evaluate a blood supply network in the Canadian maritime provinces

John Blake (Department of Industrial Engineering, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Canada and Department of Research and Development, Canadian Blood Services, Ottowa, Canada)
Matthew Hardy (Department of Industrial Engineering, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Canada and Department of Research and Development, Canadian Blood Services, Ottowa, Canada)

Journal of Enterprise Information Management

ISSN: 1741-0398

Publication date: 8 February 2013

Abstract

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.

Keywords

Citation

Blake, J. and Hardy, M. (2013), "Using simulation to evaluate a blood supply network in the Canadian maritime provinces", Journal of Enterprise Information Management, Vol. 26 No. 1/2, pp. 119-134. https://doi.org/10.1108/17410391311289587

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Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2013, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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