Oilfield Equipment Manufacturer Optimizes New Facility Design

CHALLENGES

A leader in the design, manufacture, and supply of oilfield equipment had recently purchased land to build a world class manufacturing facility.  The new location would be designed to capture future growth but needed to be sized correctly; not a wasteful over-construction yet not too small at the same time.

The senior executive team thought simulation modeling would allow them to analyze their manufacturing processes, identify bottlenecks, capture productivity improvements, and properly size the new facility.  After a lengthy vendor sourcing exercise, ProModel Corporation was selected as the best provider to answer this modeling challenge.

OBJECTIVES

  • Model the existing manufacturing processes
  • Identify current process constraints using various customer demand scenarios
  • Simulate maximum throughput potential with the current processes and equipment layout
  • Using LEAN process improvement skills, simulate a more productive manufacturing process and scale that upward to capture growth
  • Simulate the new manufacturing facility and validate the desired growth rates. Upon completion of this step, the layout would be given to the architects for structural design.

VALUE PROVIDED

  • Immediate identification of a critical bottleneck that once resolved, increased cell throughput by 53% and overall production by 19%
  • Throughput has grown 45% since the launch of the initiative due to a much better understanding of their manufacturing methods and related constraints
  • Manufacturing standards used by the production planning team were far from accurate thus creating a workflow imbalance
  • Equipment previously slated for purchase was determined to add no throughput benefit thus saving several hundred thousand in capital expenditures
  • Numerous future state layouts were modeled thus allowing the team to ultimately select the most productive equipment arrangements
  • The simulation model became a powerful sales tool with customers; understanding the flow in the facility and how it could absorb their incremental orders
  • Even during a severe industry downturn, the company continued to capture market share due to improved manufacturing methods.

SOLUTION

A ProModel senior consultant worked with the engineering staff to build dynamic models of their current production facility and planned future construction.

First, a dynamic flexible model of the existing facility was created and validated.  That model was used to define the true capacity of the existing facility, analyze current constraints, evaluate capital improvement options, and test new LEAN concepts that were under consideration for the current and future facility.

A major challenge to creating the model was accommodating the tremendous variety of products manufactured.  A user friendly interface for running the model was developed to provide the ability to run any variation of mix/demand against several operational configurations.

The key learnings from the existing facility model were then applied to the new facility design.  Alternate facility layouts and new material handling concepts were evaluated to ensure the plant of the future would meet all capacity targets.

3D Animation of a Portion of the Plant

3D Animation of a Portion of the Plant

 

An Intern Walks into ProModel

jenn-ross-headshotInauguration Day

There it is. I can see it. Sitting there, small and shiny on an oversized executive style desk is an ominous call bell. Do I ring the bell?  Maybe that is a little weird. Maybe I should cough loudly. Maybe I should shuffle forward quietly. It is my first day as an intern at ProModel and I am nervous. I am relieved from my quandary and greeted warmly by the head of marketing. We tour the office and I shake hands with my new associates. My nerves simultaneously fade as each new face brings kindness and words of welcome.

My first day brings many small challenges and small victories. The nine seasons of office experience I had previously acquired did not have me completely prepared for this new journey. Apparently, many things go into working in an office. Things I did not learn from watching “The Office” on NBC. I learned to push the little red tab in on the hot water spout at the water dispenser and learned the number to dial before you dial the number on the office phones.

I receive a briefing from two passionate and experienced model builders. Discrete event simulation’s ability to predict outcomes under uncertainty leaves me feeling impressed and hopeful. Modeling can aid in reducing patient wait time, improving various military operations, increasing throughput in a warehouse, and solving real world problems. There appears to be no limit to the industry or circumstance in which modeling can provide clarity. There was even one story about a model built for pigs.

jenn-ross-in-her-office

Looking Ahead to My First 100 Days in My Not-So-Oval-Office

This internship will allow me to dabble in many fields. I am looking to launch my career and discover the route that best fits my strengths and interests. I will explore and experiment in model building, finance, marketing, and customer relations. The friendly, team-oriented work environment encourages me to find ways to add value to the company. There is some grunt work involved in being an intern, but there is also the opportunity to play with cardboard boxes and organize filing cabinets.

When the head of marketing first came to me and asked me to write a blog post, it scared me a little. My apprehension quickly turned to excitement as I reflected on my first few weeks experience. This post has been easy to write, as the experience thus far has been superb and the employees could not be kinder.  I anticipate writing future blog posts as my internship progresses!

Jenn Rosscat-1999679_1280

Healthcare IT: Top Trends and Innovations in 2016

This post was originally published by Christine Slocumb on the Clarity Quest Marketing blog and has been re-posted with permission. 

As the President of one of the top healthcare marketing agencies, I’m continually fascinated at the wide array of technologies emerging in the space. Every week we get lead calls from companies with new products or services addressing pressing healthcare technology issues.

Here are some of the trends we hear lots of buzz around in 2016.

Prescriptive Analytics

Health systems are getting more sophisticated at understanding their current state using descriptive analytics of their data, however, knowing what’s going right or wrong is only a small step in fixing the issues. Now companies offer predictive and even prescriptive analytics to forecast the future and to offer corrective suggestions.

One example is FutureFlow Rx by ProModel, which not only predicts patient flow across a health system, but also gives corrective actions and likely outcomes for each.

Prescriptive Analytics versus Predictive Analytics versus Diagnostic Analytics graphic from FutureFlowRx
The move from descriptive to prescriptive analytics. Courtesy: ProModel Corporation

Data Migration Tools

Whether it’s moving DICOM images from one system to another or migrating from one EHR system to another, tools to transfer data are here to stay.

Interconnectivity

Connecting records and information systems is still in its infancy. We’re seeing more and more demand for tools that provide interfaces, such as eMedApps’ Care Connectivity Platform™, which maintains continuity and uptime while establishing bridges.

eMedApps CareBridge Interoperability Platform Diagram

Niche Practice Systems by Specialty

Epic, Allscripts, and the other big EHR dogs have trouble breaking into specialty areas such as dermatology, ENT and more notably behavioral health. Smaller companies, such as Logik Solutions, which sells billing software for behavioral health, are growing by selling into practices in specialty areas.

Consolidation in Imaging IT

IBM bought Merge; Fuji acquired TeraMedica; and Hitachi left the VNA business. PACS is a tough replacement sale and vendor neutral archives are often seen as a “nice to have” versus a “must have”. Expect to see more shakeout and consolidation in this area.

More Data Integration Between Payers, Providers and Pharmaceutical Companies

Clinicians need a better way to understand which drugs are covered under specific payer plans, at what levels, and if policies and restrictions are attached to a drug. Payers need to keep costs under control. Pharmaceutical companies want to promote their drugs as quickly and efficiently as possible. Expect to see systems such as MMIT’s Mobile Search Formulary App that offer an accurate display of drug coverage to all parties by validating data from multiple payer and pharma sources.

No doubt these are exciting times for health IT. Stay tuned for our next post on this topic after HIMSS 2017.

About the Author:
Chris is the founder and president of Clarity Quest Marketing, where she leads a talented group of marketers and designers helping healthcare and technology companies achieve marketing and business goals. To learn more about Chris’ experiences and qualifications, visit our Meet Our Executive Team page.

Top 8 Benefits of Proactive Patient Flow Optimization

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Dan Hickman ProModel CTO

Unpredictably high numbers of scheduled admissions and an uncertain number of available beds.

Stressed staff due to ED boarding, long patient wait times, and off-service placements.

Length of stay and cost per case metrics exceed CMS value-based care efficiency measures.

Sound familiar? 

Patient flow optimization is one of the most cost-effective ways to improve operational effectiveness, the patient stay experience and your hospital’s bottom line. Here’s how.

Top 8 Reasons to Implement Patient Flow Optimization Today

  1. Decrease the Length of Stay (LOS). Find “hidden discharges” (potential candidates for discharge based on diagnosis codes and average LOS metrics) in your current census.
  2. Improve Bottleneck and ADT Issue Visibility. Simply having data does not empower decision makers. In fact, too much data can cause clinical operations staff to ignore it altogether. A patient flow optimization system delivers visual data all hospital staff can easily digest and use to make informed decisions that benefit the hospital and the patients.
  3. Right-size Staffing. By coupling accurate census predictions with staff needs, your health system will experience lower labor costs based on predictable admit, discharge and transfer (ADT) cycles, optimal staffing sizes and diminished demand for expensive nursing agency personnel.
  4. Enhance the Patient Journey. Minimize patient frustration by admitting the vast majority of inpatients to on-service units, even during peak periods.
  5. Capture Additional Revenue. Decreasing length of stay increases bed capacity, so fewer patients leave the hospital without being seen.
  6. Increase Access to Care. Patient flow optimization decreases ED boarding duration, speeds up admissions, and lowers left without being seen (LWBS) rates.
  7. Lower Infrastructure Costs. With patient flow optimization, health systems make optimal use of the existing hospital’s physical footprint, avoiding unnecessary costly build outs.
  8. Staff Satisfaction. Welcome to the stress-free huddle. FutureFlow Rx gives your staff a personal heads-up on issues affecting admissions, discharges and transfers, so they can be addressed at huddle meetings. Prescriptive corrective actions from the patient flow optimization system further empower staff with recommendations based on data and simulation.

 

About FutureFlow Rx™ Patient Flow Optimization

FutureFlow Rx by ProModel uses historical patient flow patterns, real-time clinical data, and discrete event simulation to reveal key trends, provide operational insights, and deliver specific corrective action recommendations to enhance the patient stay experience, lower costs and drive additional revenues. Our platform accurately predicts future events, helping hospitals make the right operational decisions to reduce risk, decrease LOS and improve operational margins. Schedule a demo.

dashboard 300 dpi

 FutureFlow Rx’s dashboard consists of  key performance indicator (KPI) “cards”. The left side of each card shows the last 24 hours; the right side predicts the “Next 24”; and clicking the upper right “light bulbs” provides prescriptive actions to improve the predicted future.

 

Improved Bottom Line and Better Care? Start with A-D-T

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Kurt Shampine ProModel Corp Sr. VP LifeSciences

By solving issues related to admission, transfer, and discharge (ADT), patient flow optimization is one of the most cost effective and simplest ways to improve quality of care and increase revenues. Patient flow analytics systems can safely accelerate the patient journey through your health system, so you can make the best choices for your patients and your hospital’s bottom line.

Let’s take a look at how patient flow optimization can address each element of ADT.

modules_adm_dschrgewhitebackgroundA: ADMIT Patients Effectively

Efficient patient flow through hospital departments leads to satisfying healthcare experiences for everyone involved in the patient’s care. Increase safety and satisfaction by always having an admit bed in the right unit at the right time.

Emergency Department (ED) boarding and overcrowding issues are often at the center of admission challenges. 91% of hospital ED directors experience issues with overcrowding and its associated complications. When EDs try to function above their capacity limits, patients suffer from long wait times, increased lengths of stay, and improper care and attention from overloaded staff.

The key to preventing overcrowding and boarding is to address patient flow hospital-wide so admissions can be made quickly to the correct departments 24/7.

modules_adm_dschrgewhitebackground D: Solve Slow DISCHARGE Dilemmas

When admissions outpace discharges, hospitals face mounting issues such as lack of available beds, overcrowded waiting rooms, and staff shortages. Every hour of discharge delay costs your hospital up to $2,500 per patient.

Patient flow analytics can help your hospital solve the discharge puzzle to reduce length of stay, prioritize morning discharges and improve patient throughput.

A quality prescriptive patient flow system can even find hidden discharges in your current census. With one glance at a dashboard you can see which patients are approaching discharge by diagnosis, past-due discharges, and those with co-morbidity issues requiring a possible diagnosis-related group (DRG) transfer.

modules_adm_dschrgewhitebackground T: TRANSFER Smarter & Faster

Effective patient transfers play a major role in keeping patients safe and satisfied. Patients transitioning from one provider or healthcare setting to another too often get lost in the shuffle or delayed.

Patient flow optimization helps hospital staff facilitate the movement of patients from one facility, unit, or department to another using analytics and foresight to avoid any hurdles.
If a patient is initially placed in a suboptimal unit, a patient flow optimization system can prescribe a transfer to the correct unit as soon as a bed and staff are available in the correct service, ensuring that patient receives optimal care.

How FutureFlow Rx™ Solves ADT Challenges

Our real-time, prescriptive analytics system provides hospital staff with current patient flow conditions, future projections, and specific tips for improving patient flow over the entire ADT continuum.

FutureFlow Rx’s dashboard consists of key performance indicator (KPI) “cards”. The left side of each card shows the last 24 hours; the right side predicts the “Next 24”; and clicking the upper right “light bulbs” provides prescriptive actions to improve the predicted future.

Optimizing ADT effectiveness improves patient health and satisfaction, streamlines patient flow throughout the health system, and helps clinical teams work together as a cohesive unit leading to higher job satisfaction. With intelligent patient placement, unnecessary risks and costs can be more easily avoided.