The Australian Red Cross Blood Service is responsible for the collection and supply of the nation’s blood and blood products. The organisation faces a unique set of supply chain challenges: it can’t purchase raw material, relying instead on non-remunerated Australian donors. Additionally, each product has a different shelf life, storage method, and packing and shipping method. Faced with these challenges, the Blood Service introduced its Aligning Supply with Demand program, a tailored version of Oliver Wight Integrated Business Planning (Advanced S&OP) - the Blood Service doesn’t call its process Sales and Operations Planning because it doesn’t actually ‘sell’ blood. Greater discipline has been established, there is one set of realistic numbers, and a 36-month rolling plan, visible to all the team at any point in time.
“For a highly regulated industry, we had a lot of variable processes with people doing things quite differently across the different regions,” explains Executive Director of Manufacturing, Jacqui Caulfield. The product and service portfolio has now been integrated under the Chief Medical Officer; aided by a wider service re-structure. “It has paved the way for a more integrated system with standardised processes across the states,” she says.
The Aligning Supply with Demand program has not only helped deliver the organisation’s strategic objectives, it has also improved the service’s marketing and media campaigns. Specific blood types are targeted to ensure the blood being collected is what patients require. “We obviously need blood day-in, day-out, but now we know precisely what types and quantities of each we will need. That means we can be more specific in our communication with donors, and we encourage them to make appointments so we can better forecast inventory.”
Caulfield believes the organisation has come a long way, and is continuing to learn as it goes. “The Oliver Wight approach really helped us to train and develop our own champions: so instead of relying heavily on consultants, we’ve managed to embed the principles in to our operating mode, which was our goal,” she concludes.
Oliver Wight has a 40 year track record of delivering business improvement to some of the world’s best-known organisations. With a team of professionals offering a wealth of experience, Oliver Wight is the largest consultancy of its type, with offices throughout Europe, South Africa, North and South America, and the Asia Pacific region. We believe that sustainable business improvement can’t be delivered by external consultants but only by our clients’ own people, so unlike other consultancy firms, we transfer our knowledge to them, helping deliver performance levels and financial results that last.
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