A way for reducing drug supply chain cost for a hospital district: A case study

Leonardo Postacchini, Filippo Emanuele Ciarapica, Maurizio Bevilacqua, Giovanni Mazzuto, Claudia Paciarotti


Purpose: This work aims at providing insights to optimise healthcare logistic of the drug management, in order to deal with the healthcare expenditure cut. In this paper the effects of different drug supply chain configurations, on the resulting average stock, service level and Bullwhip effect, of the studied supply chain, is quantitatively assessed.

Design/methodology/approach: A case study of an Italian district has been studied, taking into account three echelons: suppliers, central stock, and hospitals. A model of the various supply chain configurations has been created with the use of the simulation. Specifically, 24 supply chain configurations have been examined, stemming from the combination of several supply chain design parameters, namely: transshipment policies (Emergency Lateral Transshipment or Total Inventory Equalization); re-order and inventory management policies (Economic Order Quantity or Economic Order Interval); required service levels (90% or 95%); the number of available vans (one or two). For each configuration, hospital average stock, service level and a “Bullwhip effect” analysis are computed. To know which input variables are statistically significant, a DoE (Design of Experiments) analysis has been executed.

Findings: The output of this paper provides useful insights and suggestions to optimize the healthcare logistic and drug supply chain. According to the developed DoE analysis, it can be stated that the introduction of transshipment policies provides important improvement in terms of service and stock levels. To reduce the Bullwhip effect, which results in a service level decreasing, and in a managing stock costs increasing, it is worth to adopt an EOQ re-order policy.

Practical implications: This research gives practical recommendations to the studied system, in order to reduce costs and maintain a very satisfactory service level.

Originality/value: This paper fulfils an identified need to study which combination of transshipment policies, re-order/inventory management policies and required service levels, can be the best one to reduce costs and maintain a very satisfactory service level, in the specific logistic system.


healthcare logistic, drug management, supply chain design, discrete-events simulation model, design of experiments

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.3926/jiem.1262

Licencia de Creative Commons 

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

Journal of Industrial Engineering and Management, 2008-2024

Online ISSN: 2013-0953; Print ISSN: 2013-8423; Online DL: B-28744-2008

Publisher: OmniaScience