Press Releases / Sentara Healthcare Improves Delivery

Feb 11, 2013

Sentara Healthcare Improves Just-In-Time Delivery With Jennifer

Regional Health Care System Improves Just-In-Time Delivery, Order Accuracy and Productivity With Jennifer Voice Picking Integrated With WMS and Sortation Systems

Lucas Systems, Inc., the largest independent provider of voice-directed warehouse applications, today announced that Sentara Healthcare, a not-for-profit health system serving residents across Virginia and northeastern North Carolina, has completed a successful rollout of Jennifer VoicePlus in its Chesapeake, Virginia distribution center. Jennifer voice picking is helping Sentara improve just-in-time distribution to eight hospitals, in addition to nursing homes, assisted living facilities and physician offices within their provider network. Picking errors have been reduced more than 50 percent, overtime has been reduced, and employee training has been slashed to days.

“We are always looking to stay on the cutting edge of technology to provide better service and efficiency, as well as to improve ergonomics for employees,” says Robert Saunders, Director of Materials Management at Sentara Healthcare. “Our products can be critical to the patients we serve, so we were looking at ways to improve accuracy and efficiency by letting DC employees pick items without having to hold a barcode scanner. We are still early in our implementation, but we’ve already reduced picking errors by half and improved productivity. And our employees love working with Jennifer – on day one they all had smiles on their faces.”

Sentara’s 86,000 square foot DC distributes a range of medical supplies, surgical packs, and other supplies. Most of the hospitals in the Sentara network maintain minimal stocks, so they rely on the DC to get them the products they need, quickly and accurately. Jennifer is used to pick cases and individual items from multiple areas using configurable picking processes, including a zoneless voice-directed bucket-brigade picking style Lucas pioneered more than ten years ago. Jennifer integrates with Sentara’s IRMS WMS from Upp Technology, a Lucas Systems partner. Like every Jennifer VoicePlus system, users at Sentara can scan barcodes where appropriate using the integrated scanner on their Motorola MC3000 mobile computer.

“Our rapid user acceptance and immediate operational gains stem from the close, collaborative working relationship among our IT Product Manager, Erinn McBride, and the team from Lucas Systems,” says Saunders. “Voice technology is great, but this kind of success requires a partnership based on communication and working together to get the best possible results for the people using the technology. Now that we’ve proven the value of voice in picking, we are looking for other opportunities to use voice in loading, receiving, putaway and replenishment.”

About Sentara Healthcare
Sentara Healthcare is an acknowledged leader in patient safety and quality innovation. Founded in 1888 as the Retreat for the Sick in Norfolk, Virginia, Sentara has ranked for more than a decade among the nation’s top integrated healthcare systems in Modern Healthcare magazine and was the #1 most integrated health care system in 2010 and 2011. Sentara, a not-for-profit health system, operates more than 100 sites of care serving residents across Virginia and northeastern North Carolina. The system is comprised of 10 acute care hospitals, including 7 in Hampton Roads, 1 in Northern Virginia, and 2 in the Blue Ridge region, advanced imaging centers, nursing and assisted-living centers, outpatient campuses, 2 home health agencies, a 3,680-provider medical staff, and three medical groups with 618 providers. Sentara also offers medical transport ambulances and Nightingale, the first air ambulance serving Hampton Roads. Optima Health is the insurance arm of Sentara Healthcare and serves more than 450,000 members in Virginia with commercial, individual and Medicaid plans. Sentara is also an industry leader in electronic medical records with Sentara eCare, which includes more than 100,000 subscribers to the MyChart patient portal.

About Lucas Systems, Inc.
Since 1998, Lucas Systems has delivered more voice-directed warehouse applications on a wider variety of mobile computers than any other company. Customers like Cardinal Health, the Container Store, HD Supply, OfficeMax, Mondelez (formerly Kraft Nabisco) and Rustoleum trust Lucas to deliver solutions that greatly improve worker productivity and accuracy because Lucas truly understands warehouse operations. Jennifer VoicePlus, the Lucas voice solution, creates a conversation with warehouse workers that frees their hands and eyes to focus on the job at hand. Jennifer also provides managers and supervisors with real-time reporting and management tools that help them better manage their operations. Tens of thousands of associates at hundreds of distribution centers work with Jennifer every day.

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