Materials Handling Systems

Although the concept of developing comprehensive materials handling systems is not a new on, the latest cost containment regulations have once again emphasized the need for hospitals to evaluate procedures for the acquisition, storage, processing and distribution of supplies as well as waste handling.

While development of these systems was once considered primarily appropriate for large single or multi-facility institutions, smaller hospitals are quickly realizing that in order to remain competitive, they must streamline and economize their supply handling systems. Many hospitals are examining options which range from new purchasing and stocking strategies to improved processing and distribution systems. Although a review of materials handling procedures is often initiated in concert with a major capital project, many institutions are finding that these studies are beneficial regardless of any planned construction.

Since the many issues that influence the planning of a materials handling system are different from institution to institution, Lammers+Associates does not approach a project with a predetermined solution. Our Process is designed to provide a system which works within the constraints of a hospital's geographic location, staff, budget, service needs and in the case of existing facilities, existing space and transportation systems. Our approach is divided into two phases, the evaluation phase and the implementation phase.

Evaluation Phase

In the evaluation phase the following tasks are typically accomplished:

  • Development of system objectives.
  • Evaluation of existing and/or projection of new transportation systems with respect to identification of users, traffic volume, scheduling and routing.
  • Development of alternative systems which meet the established objectives.
  • Evaluation and selection of the appropriate system.

Implementation Phase

In the implementation phase, the specific requirements for the selected system are developed. These include:

  • Movement and volume schedules
  • Traffic patterns
  • Staffing requirements
  • Equipment
  • Transport system (elevator, dumbwaiter, pneumatic tubes) needs
  • Quantification and arrangement of space

If the development of the system is in conjunction with facility construction. Lammers+Associates will work closely with the hospital's planning and design team to insure that the requirements of the materials handling system are coordinated with the overall objectives of the project.


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Lammers+Associates, Inc. • Reston Virginia • 703-476-8400 •

Hospital Consultants, Materials Handling and Logistics Specialists

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