The purpose of this paper is to examine how modularity is used for enabling value creation in managing healthcare logistics services.
Material logistics of four different kinds of hospitals is examined through a qualitative case study. The theoretical framework builds on the literature on healthcare logistics, service modularity and value creation.
The case hospitals have developed their material logistics independently from others when looking at the modularity of offerings, processes and organisations. Services, such as assortment management, shelving and developing an information platform, have been performed in-house partly by the care personnel, but steps towards modularised and standardised solutions are now being taken in the case hospitals, including ideas about outsourcing some of the services.
This paper proposes seven modularity components for healthcare logistics management: segmentation, categorisation and unitisation of offerings, differentiation and decoupling of processes, and centralisation and specialisation of organisations. Thus, this study clarifies the three-dimensional concept of modularity as a cognitive frame for managing logistics services with heterogeneous customer needs in a rapidly changing healthcare environment.
Modularity offers a tool for developing logistics services inside the hospital and increases possibilities to consider also external logistics service providers.
Managing healthcare logistics services through modularity has potential social implications in developing healthcare processes and changing the usage of health services. On a wider scale, modularity is helping healthcare systems reaching their goals in terms of service quality and cost.
This paper shows the context-specific antecedents of service modularity and the usage of modular thinking in managing healthcare logistics.
This research is part of the project entitled “Effective, user-centred and scalable support service models in long-distance healthcare systems”. The authors acknowledge the “Innovations in Social and Healthcare Services” programme of Tekes (now Business Finland) and other public and private organisations for funding this research. The authors express warm thanks to the representatives of the hospital and logistics service organisations for fruitful discussions that have significantly improved this paper. The authors are grateful to the project members, especially Minna Hautamäki and Petri Westerlund for their valuable work on the empirical part of this research.
Pohjosenperä, T., Kekkonen, P., Pekkarinen, S. and Juga, J. (2019), "Service modularity in managing healthcare logistics", International Journal of Logistics Management, The, Vol. 30 No. 1, pp. 174-194. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJLM-12-2017-0338Download as .RIS
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