Written by: Delanie Britton
When you think of the phrase, “just another day at the office” what do you typically think of? Desk work? Meetings? How about field trips? Last week, I had the luxury of going on two field trips, yes they happen after elementary school at real jobs too. I was able to visit the two main distribution centers for each business segment of Cardinal, the pharmaceutical and medical areas. About ten interns are able to sign up/attend a tour of each facility, offered a few times throughout the summer.
The medical distribution center, located in Obetz, OH and known as Obetz, was my first stop. At this facility, various medical supplies such as plastic tubes, liquid suction devices, surgery kits, known as presource kits, etc. enter and leave this facility to the end customer or other distribution centers. Customers include health networks, doctors offices, or particular hospitals. The “floor” of Obetz was HUGE, so large that electronic lifts, which reminded me of high-tech go karts, are used as the efficient way of gathering packages for shipment. Different sections of the warehouse were designed for different types of products and could only be handled by employees with certain certifications. For example, an entire room was devoted to certain chemicals, and could only be handled by those who have passed a chemical knowledge assessment, which much be renewed each year.
My next stop was the National Logistics Center, or the NLC, the distribution center for the pharmaceutical side of Cardinal. This facility is located in Groveport, OH, and was even larger than Obetz! It was so large, the DC was made of multiple buildings, that connect and serve various purposes. One of the main differences between Obetz and the NLC was that the NLC distributes products to other Cardinal distribution centers, not the end customers as Obetz does. The NLC included sections for types of products as well, including the largest fridge I have ever stepped foot inside, for medications requiring a lower temperature. The certification requirements for handling the pharma products are very strict, regulated by the government and Cardinal itself. The efficiency at the NLC, and Obetz also, was amazing. The accuracy and ability to stay on time 24/7 could mean life or death for the end patients, and Cardinal takes this very seriously. The LEAN/Six Sigma model is constantly emphasized in order to keep this efficiency up. Taking Business Management 630 last spring definitely helped in following along with the tour guides’ discussion of LEAN. Overall, these field trips were fun and I learned a TON. It was nice to get out of the office, but also feel productive at the same time. That’s it for now…keep reading for more updates!