Innomed deploys VLMs for the inventory and storage of their medical instruments

Case Summary

Based in Savannah, Georgia, lnnomed, Inc. manufactures orthopedic surgical instruments. To maintain its large inventory without moving to a new building, Innomed needed a more efficient storage solution. Four Modula VLMs allowed the company to house 90% of its surgical instruments, which previously were stored on traditional shelving. The switch to automated storage also increased Innomed’s operational productivity.

The Problem

Keeping up with an expanding inventory of surgical instruments, without moving to a new facility

The biggest challenge Innomed faced was accommodating an expanding inventory of medical instruments in its existing facility. As items arrived from Innomed’s manufacturing site to its storage facility, Innomed workers were unable to put them in a permanent storage location. They first placed them on one set of shelves, then moved them again when more instruments arrived. This was not only a drain on time and resources, but it also resulted in a chaotic inventory control system.

A secondary issue was storing surgical instruments that didn’t fit standard containers and thus created a lot of wasted space. Retractors, for example, can have large curves while mallets can be long and thin. Innomed’s leaders wanted to avoid moving to a new location. Therefore they sought a remedy that would maximize the storage capacity of their current space, as well as solve their operational issues.

The Solution

Installing four Modula VLMs to accommodate the large inventory of surgical instruments and decrease labor time

It quickly became apparent that to stay in the current facility, Innomed’s only solution was to go vertical. After looking into different options, the company decided to install four Modula VLMs. Immediately, they were able to store over 8,500 medical instruments inside the units which provided 3,256 cubic feet of storage within a 616 square foot area. “It was shocking to us that we could get 90% of our inventory in the machine,” says Aaron Ingram, Vice President of Product Operations.

With the majority of their surgical instruments now being stored in one central area, the picking and replenishment process became streamlined and efficient. When picking larger orders of more than a dozen items, workers no longer need to climb ladders and walk through multiple areas to fulfill the pick ticket. Now they can stand at the Modula VLM and retrieve all the items, which are delivered to them at an ergonomically optimal height.

Innomed experienced significant time savings with both order fulfillment and inventory stocking. With the Modula VLM, inventory levels are quickly restocked within easily configurable storage trays that can be arranged for various instrument shapes. With their normal workflow tremendously improved and touch labor time no longer an issue, Innomed has been able to keep up with their inventory without needing to move locations. “For us, to be able to put that kind of inventory in a footprint like that, was a no-brainer,” says Aaron Ingram.

Innomed experienced significant time savings with both order fulfillment and inventory stocking. With their normal workflow tremendously improved and touch labor time no longer an issue, Innomed has been able to keep up with their inventory without needing to change locations.