Drawing down on medicine
August 7, 2010
- RDof leading to supply challenges, medical offices reducing inventories to meet challenge
- Supply offices consolidating needed supplies for medical units
- Greater visibility allows for stock to be lowered while still meeting mission needs
As U.S. forces continue the responsible drawdown across Iraq and the number of attacks continues to decrease, there has been a decline in demand for medical supplies across the nation, presenting a unique challenge for medical logistics units.
In response to this decreasing demand, medical logistics companies, forward distribution teams, and the brigade medical supply office within 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division must reduce their inventories.
In United States Division-South, the brigade medical supply office orders medical supplies from theater-supported medical logistics companies, which distribute supplies through a 'hub-and-spoke' concept to more than 20 customers throughout southern Iraq.
With the recent emphasis on the drawdown and the decrease in the number and severity of injuries across Iraq, there has been a steady decrease in the amount of medical supplies required. The 3rd BCT medical supply office reduces its authorized stock list by periodically reviewing items no longer in use.
"Some items on the authorized stock list have different names, but perform the same function," said Staff Sgt. Daniel Salas, 3rd BCT medical logistics noncommissioned officer in charge and Brownsville, Texas, native. "Medical logistical specialists make sure certain like or similar purpose items are consolidated to eliminate redundancy and ultimately reduce logistical warehouses space requirements."
"When we first arrived in theater in April, we stocked over 550 lines of supply, but we've reduced the stock to fewer than 380 lines," said Sgt. Jasmine Buck, a 3rd BCT, medical logistical specialist from Memphis, Tenn.
Greater visibility of what is ordered allows the medical supply office to reduce its authorized stock list while meeting the needs of customers.
"This can be a tedious process taken by medical logistical managers and the brigade medical providers, but the process actually helps us to organize our stocks and utilize our space better," Buck said.
The 3rd BCT medical supply office is working hard to reduce redundancies with the ultimate goal of consolidating medical logistics warehouses to be good stewards of the government, Salas said.
"Consolidating and collapsing support systems, such as medical logistics warehouses, is a step in the right direction in turning over security and governance to the Iraqi people," he said.