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    Just In Time Inventory Management

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    What does just-in-time inventory management have to do with the Carle Heart Center in Urbana, Illinois? The Carle Heart Center is one of the most sophisticated cardiac-care facilities in the Midwest. Integral to the success of Carle are three separate cardiac catheterization labs that are miles apart. These cath labs have pioneered techniques and technologies ranging from intravascular brachytherapy to digital cardiovascular imaging. The latest addition to this forward-thinking heart care center is a department-wide networking system from General Electric Medical Systems called CardioLink. Part of the CardioLink is a just-in-time inventory system. According to Carle's Cath Lab Manager Alan Kettelkamp, "Department- wide access to our Lab Management Tools not only eliminates the need for maintaining individual inventory systems for each lab, it also allows us to apply just-in-time techniques. We simply push a button to see which supplies are below our par levels, by vendor. Our inventory specialists can then print out replenishment orders and fax them out for next-day shipment. We're even able to enter the replenishments into our system with a bar-code reader. This system has perfected our order-management process, and it has allowed us to reduce our total inventory significantly."

    1. What are the benefits of the just-in-time inventory management sys- tem to Carle's Cath Lab?

    2. What do you think would be a "safe" inventory level for Carle's Cath Lab? Is it 3 or 4 days as with Dell, or is it longer?

    3. In what other critical service areas besides health care would a just- in-time inventory management system prove beneficial?

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    Solution Summary

    This solution explains in brief the importance of Just In Time Management in terms of a health care center which in this case is the Carle Heart Center and observes the changes it has made to the management and supply of inventory as a result of application of this technique.