March 14, 2019 –  My next visit took me to the country of “Bokstoka” – a fascinating land more commonly known as Supply Chain Management. “Bokstoka” is a playful nod to “box stockers.” The 42 inhabitants have a big job providing direct service to every single department and location throughout the entire organization. My host Dave Graul greeted me for this whirlwind tour that included excursions by golf cart and box truck!

The Bokstaka banner and Idol

At the Supply Chain sourcing office we took a photo in front of the Bokstoka banner, and I got to see the Bokstaka idol in person. We then headed to Clinical Equipment Distribution. This is where cleaned and prepared equipment – like the Giraffe isolettes for the NICU – are staged and ready to deploy.  Then it was on to the busy Mailroom and Copy Center where I met Anne Pilgrim and her fellow team members. Whenever a piece of mail is addressed to “3020 Children’s Way” this is where it ends up for sorting and distribution. All of the mailboxes are efficiently organized by mail code – so I was able to find mine with no problem.

In Central Stores with Ruth Felix

After a quick stop in the linen room (seeing all those freshly cleaned scrubs made me nostalgic!) we headed to Central Stores with my next host Ruth Felix. It’s our warehouse where medical supplies are stored – everything from diapers to exam gloves.  By the way, did you know that exam gloves are the most used items at Rady Children’s? Last year we went through more than 13 million of them! I was struck by how everything here, and in all of the Supply Chain locations, is so efficiently organized and the pride these teams take to make sure items fully stocked and don’t expire or go to waste. It was heartening to learn that, instead of disposing of old equipment and supplies that are still in good condition, Rady Children’s partners with a program that sends the donations to Ethiopia. I’m told every year Rady Children’s donates enough equipment and supplies to fill two 40-foot long trucks.

The Receiving team

My next stop was in Receiving with my host Dan Teisan. He describes his area as the “mouth of the hospital,” where about 30 pallets full of supplies arrive at the loading docks every morning, sometimes at 4 a.m. or even earlier. This team processes all of the deliveries and sends them off to their destinations, whether it is Central Stores or somewhere across the organization. You may recognize Romie Susi (middle of photo) who delivers to the entire hospital. He gets quite a workout – about 23,000 steps per day! I then hopped in a box truck with Jarvis Eliapo and rode from the main dock to the Acute Care Pavilion dock. Jarvis receives 5 to 6 pallets full of supplies destined for surgical services or the Cath lab at the ACP dock every morning.

In the Surgical Services Inventory Room

Judi Vincent and Bibiana Acevado took me to the Surgical Services inventory room. This is a sterile area so I had to put on a “bunny suit.” In this room about 2,700 supplies and implants (like titanium rods) are stored by specialty (such as Urology and Cardiology) for surgery. Each surgeon has multiple “preference cards” that are available in Epic, indicating which items they prefer to use in specific surgeries. Very organized and efficient!

Riding with Romie

Then it was off with the bunny suit and I hitched a ride with Romie on his golf cart to head back to the EOB. My last stop was in a conference room with the whole team. There I learned more about the seven areas of Supply Chain Management (Sourcing, Inventory Management, Distribution, Shipping and Receiving, Clinical Equipment Distribution, Linen and the Mailroom/Copy Center), the history of SCM and fun facts (like SCM teams have more than 400 years of combined service, and Jeff Kito is the longest-serving employee there – a team member since 1987!) Ford may have coined the phrase “quality is job one” but it certainly applies to this group of dedicated staff.  They take their jobs seriously, knowing that if medical supplies aren’t labeled correctly, are damaged, stocked inefficiently or in a non-sterile manner, our patients’ health could be put at risk.  They know we need to get it right every time. And while “Bokstoka” is a reference to “box stockers” – this team demonstrates everyday how they are so much more.

With the SCM team. Thanks for the awesome Padres jersey!