Proposed Project Description:
The basic premise of this project is to have lab specimen couriers broadcast sample quantity and arrival times at each facility throughout their route through an application on their Android phones so that laboratory staff can anticipate sample volume and arrival time and adjust their work accordingly. The period of time during courier sample collection is a respite that instead could be opportunity to complete tasks that shorten overall employee shift length.
How will Interpath Laboratory benefit from this project?
This project produces multiple benefits, direct and downstreamː
1. The ability to dispatch will-call pickups through push notification, without interrupting drivers by calling.
2. Allows a more convenient way to coordinate ad-hoc pickups and modified routes during inclement weather or employee absence
3. Establishes courier progress and location, based on facilities visited and those yet to be
4. Anticipate time of arrival of courier back to the laboratory location and work volume based on accumulated sample count.
5. Determine side work and closing duties able to be performed and completed before couriers bring in samples.
Courier logs are records of sample quantity and collection time. They are recorded longhand and filed away once a courier's route is complete. As a result, they remain raw, abstract data and, consequently, not subject to analysis or interpretation. Though outside this project’s scope, Transmission will introduce data that can later be analyzed to yield lower operating costs through courier routing optimization-- fleet-wide decrease in distance traveled, maintenance, fuel, etc.
Project Name: Transmission
Purpose: This project's goal is to replace the existing analogue method of recording courier logs longhand with direct digital entry.
Scope: The footprint of Transmission is limited to co-opting a free, off-the-shelf android application (TBD) and 3rd party plugins necessary for automation and reports. The decision to use Android as a platform for this project is based on the principle of extensibility, that is, we believe that the Android framework and phone hardware is a conducive foundation for future expansion, enrichment, and development in improving courier performance. Also, and conveniently, all of our couriers are Android users and can readily begin this project using their personal phones at no cost.
Applications such as (but not limited to) bug/issue trackers or task managers that proliferate the application market already meet Transmission's criteria (web utility, dashboard and .csv export function), however one with the greatest flexibility will be chosen. The project period will span 1 ½ months with participation from our 3 couriers and 4 processors beginning March 1st. The extent of this project is limited to activities written above. We anticipate that, as destination times will be observed with greater scrutiny, there will be an inclination to optimize courier routes. Routes should remain as they were, so to not introduce external variables that influence results.
We anticipate a more efficient distribution of labor where a higher output unit of labor is realized throughout the shift rather than unproductive intervals during courier sample collection (usually appended at the end of the night). This would result in earlier clock out times and reduction in labor costs. For metrics, we can use the mean value of the length of 2nd shift, weighted by its correlating accession count (as the number of accessions is a direct factor of work length) to measure the relative efficacy of Transmission’s utility. The quotient (accessions per hour), if increased, would express positive impact denoted by decreasing labor length.
- Though consolidating batches into fewer instances of it being built minimizes the cumulative time of that particular activity, partitioning them will decrease overall shift length.
̈# Lab processors can then use this information to establish discretionary tasks or components of tasks that can be completed during sample collection period.
- Extensibility and flexibility, i.e. can be also be, if chosen, dashcams.