BayCare Health System Transforms Warehouse With Locus Robots

Central Florida healthcare nonprofit reduces worker strain and improves fulfillment accuracy with mobile robots and software.

BayCare Health System

BayCare has introduced robots and software from Locus Robotics to improve its medical supply distribution process.
BayCare said it is improving order fulfillment efficiency by implementing 25 mobile robots and software at its 258,000-sq.-ft. BayCare Integrated Service Center in Florida.

BayCare Health System wanted to improve accuracy in order fulfillment, reduce physical demands on its team members, and support prompt community care. To that end, the Clearwater, Fla.-based company has introduced 25 mobile robots to improve its distribution process for medical supplies at the BayCare Integrated Service Center, or BISC, in Temple Terrace, Fla.

“Being in supply chain with BayCare for almost 30 years, I was thrilled to have the ability to implement robotics,” stated Victor Celiberti, supply chain director at BayCare. “It's almost something that you could only dream of.”

BayCare is a leading not-for-profit healthcare system that provides a wide range of services at 16 hospitals and hundreds of other locations throughout the Tampa Bay and central Florida regions. Its network includes behavioral health, pediatric, laboratory, imaging, surgical, home care, and wellness services. Fortune/Merative rated BayCare in the top 20% of large health systems in the nation for clinical and patient experience.

BayCare sought to optimize picking

Since its formation in 2007, the BISC said it has been committed to delivering excellence and innovation. The center, which moved to its current location in 2016, said its integration of robotics has taken that commitment “to the next level.”

The 258,000-sq-ft. distribution center stocks everything BayCare needs to serve its patients, from IV tubing and bags of solution, to bedside pitchers and bedpans, to personal protective equipment, surgical kits, and more. BayCare said that about 100 team members work around the clock at the BISC “to ensure excellent customer service, quality, and quick turnaround as they manage the inventory, distribution, and transportation of medical supplies.”

BayCare said its unified distribution model has enabled it to maximize purchasing efficiencies and manage supply pipelines, including during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Before the adoption of robotics at the distribution center, the order-picking process involved team members pushing carts weighing nearly 300 lb. up and down each aisle, guided by voice technology through headsets. While software already helped make picking routes efficient, the heavy carts limited speed and made the picking process physically taxing for team members, explained Celiberti.

BISC benefits from collaborative mobile robots

With its newly implemented process, the days of team members pushing heavy carts across the warehouse are gone, said BayCare. The robots are being deployed in the BISC “pick module area,” where workers walk the aisles to assemble supplies for approximately 12,000 orders a day.

Mobile robots from Locus Robotics have replaced the carts, and software helps integrate them as partners in the picking team. Orders are assigned to individual robots and displayed on a touchscreen for the team member's use.

Mapping software builds the most efficient route for fulfilling each order, and the robot travels to where the first item needs to be picked. A team member meets the robot, picks the items, places them in the robot's tote, and uses the touchscreen to tell the robot to move to the next item's location.

Once an order is complete, the robot is dismissed to the docking area, where team members prepare the fulfilled order for shipping to the ordering hospital or facility.

“It has made my job significantly easier now that we don't have to make lengthy trips across the distribution center,” said Shanelle Bradley, a distribution tech at the BISC.

Team members have expressed greater satisfaction with their roles because they can now focus more on order fulfillment rather than the physically demanding aspects of the previous process.

“The integration of robotics in our pick module area has been a game-changer for us,” added Celiberti. “We have seen a remarkable increase in productivity, which has helped offset some of the labor-related challenges we faced earlier. Our team members now feel more engaged and empowered in their roles.”

BayCare is taking order fulfillment to new heights and redefining operational efficiency with the implementation of cutting-edge robotics at the BayCare Integrated Service Center (BISC) in Temple Terrace.

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BayCare Health System

BayCare has introduced robots and software from Locus Robotics to improve its medical supply distribution process.

Robot Technologies