Since he joined Corin at the age of 19, Dave has had a varied career and worked his way up to Warehouse and Logistics Manager. Here, he tells us about this pivotal role and how it’s being shaped by new technologies.
Tell me about your role
I now manage goods inwards, the function I originally started in, as well as the finished goods store and the short-term loans department. My division is very much the start and end-point in the process.
We take receipt of raw materials and ensure they are correct before issuing to the factory floor. Warehouse management also comes under my remit, with stock going out on a global basis from this facility to our subsidiaries and distributors.
Additionally, we have short-term consignments going out in the UK. This function sees instruments and implants shipped to hospitals for one-off, often short-notice, cases so we have a very direct impact on a patient’s treatment.
Many a time a late call has come in with urgent or last-minute requests. We encourage the team to remember that there’s a patient at the end of the service, and to think of that individual as if they were a family member, understanding how it would affect them if they couldn’t have the operation they’d built themselves up to have.
This role has a direct impact on the patient, the surgeon and the hospital. As a product is getting closer to the end-point, my team supports the final stage, ensuring goods are dispatched in a timely manner.
What keeps you at Corin?
My colleagues have been a big factor. But also, the ongoing progress of the business, growing from a smallish orthopaedic company to the size that we are now. I still can’t believe it has happened in such a short period of time, five years.
It’s interesting to see the route that our leadership team has taken us on. The introduction of new technologies like our Optimised Positioning System™ (OPS™) for implants, and our Remote Patient Manager™ (RPM™) solution to aid recovery, have helped us become more patient orientated.
On top of this, because we’re growing so quickly, there’s always scope for improvement, to make the business work better, and enable a better service.
All of this keeps me driven and motivated.
How have logistics changed in the time you’ve been at Corin?
In the short-term loans department, the just-in-time model, more commonly associated with industries such as automotive manufacturing, is one we work towards.
We still offer surgeons that are regularly performing procedures a consignment kit within the hospital. But for those that don’t operate as frequently, it doesn’t make sense to take up valuable space in the hospital for the kit. Additionally, there can be last-minute requests that come in where the surgeon may have consignment kit available, but only enough to do one operation when two or three are scheduled within a short period.
We’ve set ourselves up so that our kits are ready to go at the drop of a hat if a call comes in. I think the market is changing, and Corin is working on several projects that will reduce the amount of kit supplied to make it easier for the surgical team to manage.
With the growth we have experienced in the company in the last five years, the warehouse has seen a rapid increase in both raw materials received and implants shipped out. Ensuring my teams can co-ordinate this increase in material handling and support the business as required has been a key aspect of my role in this time.
How has technology changed your role?
In logistics, the introduction of Web-ops has had a major impact. It’s an inventory management system allowing us to manage each orthopaedic case that gets booked. It allows us to update the status of a case, and this transmits directly to the Sales Reps through their mobile application. With the mobile app, Sales Reps can view all their up-and-coming cases and create new ones. This system connects the rep to us more efficiently and as a result the reps can remain better informed and we can react more quickly when required.
With the OPS™ technology, which allows for personalised surgery based on a patient’s functional anatomy, we’re exploring new initiatives such as patient-specific loans. So, the kit only includes relevant instruments for the size of implant that will be used. This allows the hospital to cut the cost and time of sterilisation. And from a logistics perspective, having less kit to get ready for shipment means we can react quicker. It’s win-win.
How do you feel your role reflects on a patient’s treatment?
Surgery is a big deal for patients. They build themselves up to go in for a particular operation, on a particular day, at a particular time. If surgery was postponed due to a late shipment, it would be traumatic. I try to see it from that perspective and encourage my team to have empathy for the patients.
New developments here at Corin have seen us playing a more active role in supporting the surgeon. We’re continually looking for ways to further improve what we do, to help make surgery more efficient and effective.
What would you change?
Change is the norm at Corin. One of our current projects is centred on proof-of-concept trials for a new approach that streamlines the number of instruments we supply for a given operation which we have developed in combination with hospital partners. Based on statistical analysis we’ve specified which instruments are most commonly used, to simplify surgery and reduce the amount of kit that needs to be sterilised. Early results are very promising. Take a hip procedure for instance: we’ve gone from having eight big trays of instruments available to a platform where only two/three need to be used.
Our goal is to keep refining this until we get to the point where loan-kits can be shipped on a patient-specific basis.
At the moment, we have full sets of instruments and full sets of implants on the shelf, ready to be checked, boxed and shipped. Supplying customised kits would be a big improvement on this.
Insight-focused systems like OPS™ drive better understanding of what is needed for a specific patient, not just the implant sizes but the location and orientation of the joint replacement components. One of our aims is to have one tray of instruments holding everything for that specific procedure. The surgeon knows they have the correct implants and instruments, right where they need them.
How has Corin’s shift to become a more tech-based company affected the patients?
I think technology, with smartphones and web access everywhere, means people are used to being informed and in control. With technologies such as RPM™, information can be sent to them in a format that puts them at ease, ensuring the overall experience is less alienating and more engaging. I’m proud to play a part in an organisation that is dedicated to helping people lead more active and fulfilling lives.
At Corin, we’re always on the look out for talented people to join our global team. Check out our careers page for current vacancies https://www.coringroup.com/uk/careers/