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Case Study: Blood Product Distribution

For a biomedical equipment company, Nautilus Systems conducted a blood product distribution study. The study resulted in a return on investment of over $500,000 the first year.


The client company builds blood collection aphoresis machines. Aphoresis machines fractionate blood into its components (red cells, white cells, platelets, factor 7, etc.), and use disposable components that come into contact with blood for each collection.

By understanding and modeling the client's business domain, Nautilus Systems was able to identify critical data elements, data location, identification of metadata (data about data), data model architecture, and design the required data extraction programs. The data extraction programs were used to scrub the data and resolve discrepancies. The extraction programs fed the data extraction database which was used to consolidate the dissimilar and geographically dispersed databases. The extraction database in turn fed the knowledge discovery repository, which was loaded with donor scheduling, recipient blood product requirements, blood collection products delivered, warehousing and production scheduling of disposable components, delivery of disposable collection components, preventative maintenance schedule, and apheresis machine repair parts inventory.

Pattern extraction discovery and SAS statistical time phase distribution analysis programs were then run against data in the knowledge discovery repository. The extraction results were analyzed. The premises formed were then used for further analysis and the formulation of predefined queries for future use. A new series of reports were introduced which provided insight to manufacturing and warehousing capacity schedules, client requirements and the potential for repeat sales.


ROI: over $500,000 the first year. The client was able to improve its production, stocking, delivery of just-in-time disposable component collection kits, and its inventory of preventive maintenance and repair parts. The improved matching of products to demand stabilized the cost of products and increased revenues. The need for a donor/recipient scheduling system was also identified, and a blood donor/recipient scheduling tool was designed and implemented. This scheduling tool optimized blood collection and minimized wasted blood products due to expiration, increasing revenue for collection centers. Reports from the collection scheduling system were used to optimize the preventive maintenance schedule, resulting in more timely and cost effective scheduling of preventive maintenance service.

The client continues to use the workflow model to evaluate how strategic plans may affect inventory, product production, costs, schedules, sales, and delivery. Data mining tools enable summarization, categorization, and analysis of data from almost any conceivable viewpoint. New reports provide ongoing insight into manufacturing, warehousing capacity and schedules, and potential for repeat sales.

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