Very different facilities and goods
At the heart of healthcare logistics are the reception, transport, storage and distribution of sensitive, expensive and dangerous materials, which come in all shapes and sizes and are often over-packaged (making the shape even more complex).
All this in environments that can be reconfigured quite often: think of wards getting bigger, being reduced or even moved elsewhere (the current pandemic clearly shows us this); think of units such as the pharmacy, which can be centralised or organised into satellite pharmacies. And let’s also consider the complexity of drug packaging: they don’t necessarily stay the same. Boxes change, sizes and shapes of containers for liquids change, and the shape of syringes (from narrow and long to shorter and wider) can change as the volume is the same.
Things are complicated by the fact that the occupancy rate of a ward, even seasonally, obviously also changes the flow of material. To give an example: a trauma ward in a ski resort is probably more busy in winter than in summer. All this is to keep in mind how many different factors come into play when dealing with logistics in a healthcare environment. Nor should it be forgotten that the needs of a large university hospital are different from those of a clinic or a nursing home.