Weka Health Solutions
Challenge: The supply chain challenges that surround vaccine distribution, storage, and management are prolific and inhibit a healthy world. While the industry has poured billions of dollars into developing better drugs over the last century, very little has been done to improve the distribution, storage, and management of those drugs.
Weka Health Solutions, a software and solutions provider to the pharmaceutical industry, wanted to develop a smarter supply chain solution for vaccines. Their product needed to achieved the following outcomes:
- Inventory management: The administration of vaccines is a very manual process that consumes the limited time of healthcare providers. Weka needed a system that automated that process.
- First In, First Out (FIFO): Traditional storage of drugs inherently creates a “Last In, First Out” (LIFO) inventory management problem. This is because new inventory is placed in the front of a traditional fridge and older inventory is pushed towards the back. LIFO is the recommended storage system because vaccines typically have an expiration date.
United States Postal Service
Challenge: September 11th, 2001 is a day that will forever be etched in our minds. However, it was a week later that a lesser-known bioterrorist attack occurred on US soil. During this attack, news media outlets and US Senators were mailed letters containing lethal amounts of anthrax spores. The attack resulted in the loss of 5 lives and sickened 17 others. According to the FBI, the ensuing investigation became "one of the largest and most complex in the history of law enforcement.”
This bioterrorist attack also highlighted the security risks that existed at the United States Postal Service and demonstrated the need for better technology to monitor the mail processing system for bio-terrorist threats.
Solution: Northrop Grumman was tasked with designing a turnkey comprehensive modular solution to rapidly analyze and detect potential biological threats at postal service mail-sorting facilities nationwide.
United States Postal Service
Challenge: Designing an ergonomic workplace has become a central focus for senior management and human resources professionals alike. The United States Postal Service is no different, the agency was looking for a semi-automated workstation for unbundling flat-mail in their sorting facilities. The problem the USPS was trying to solve for their operators was how to unbundle the mail as it came off the conveyor, and then load that mail quickly and easily into trays for further sorting.
Solution: To design a workstation solution the United States Post Office turned to its long term engineering partner Northrop Grumman. Northrop Grumman decided to create three competing engineering teams to work on this project; one internal team of engineers and two external teams including MDCI Automation. The three teams were given the same instructions to design and prototype the workstation. They needed to consider how the bundled mail would be presented to the operator when it came off the conveyor and then how the trays would be sent off after the unbundling process.