SC's Competitive EDGE: Distribution and Logistics

readySC Provides Comprehensive Solutions for Cardinal Health


Jim Horner, director of manufacturing at Cardinal Health Presource


Located in Fort Mill, South Carolina, the Cardinal Health Presource facility is a medical device manufacturer. Its core business is assembling and delivering surgical custom procedure trays for use in hospital operating rooms and surgery centers across the eastern seaboard of the U.S.

Jim Horner, director of manufacturing at Cardinal Health Presource, explains the facility’s unique work environment and how readySC™ helped train its skilled workforce.

EDGE: Would you give us some background on your facility?

Jim Horner: This facility was built in 1999. Due to the nature of the products produced here, this business is like having three separate types of businesses: a manufacturing plant, distribution center, and service organization all under one roof. We have 620 employees working at the Fort Mill facility. We assemble custom surgical procedure trays that include anything a surgical team needs to perform a specific type of surgery other than implants and highly specialized instruments that hospitals may also use in surgery.

EDGE: What are some of the skill sets that your employees need?

JH: There are a lot of different types of jobs, from logistics, planning and manufacturing professionals, operation supervisors, assembly and warehouse employees, including power industrial truck operators. We utilize material handlers, pickers, forklift drivers, assemblers, maintenance employees and technicians. We also provide some additional services to our customers, such as inventory and supply-chain management. Our folks must be comfortable with a business that is fast-paced. We work in an industry that is highly regulated by the Food and Drug Administration. Computers touch almost every employee here, so employees need a great deal of technical skills. They’re all constantly utilizing software of some sort to perform their jobs. So, the types of jobs here are very diverse just like our employee population.

EDGE: How did the readySC program help with preparing your workforce for the jobs here?

JH: readySC really became a great partner with us, in terms of being able to provide services for identifying new employees as well as screening those employees. They also delivered training for us, and we found them to be very creative about the way they offered that training and support. It was a big part of our staffing program, and it was very successful.

EDGE: What types of specific training did your employees receive?

JH: There was a lot of pre-employment training. readySC did a great job reflecting the type of work we do here with their training line simulations. The simulations allowed employees to get a feel for our processes before they even set foot in the facility. This really helped with our ramp-up schedule. We need a well-trained group of people to deliver a quality product.

EDGE: How important would you say quality is to your manufacturing process?

JH: Quality is critically important. Presource is focused on building products that provide all the necessary items to a surgical team allowing them to perform a specific type of surgery in a hospital, surgery center or operating room setting. Those items need to be configured in the sequence that the surgical team is going to use them, from caps and gowns to sutures, tubing, bowls, plastics, staple guns and cautery pencils. The list goes on and on.

It’s vital to make certain every item in that pack is precisely the right item, with no defects and positioned correctly inside the kit. When the surgical team opens the pack, they know absolutely what to expect and every single pack is exactly alike. That standardization really helps support the surgical team. It takes some of the complexity out of an already tremendously complex role that they play on a day-to-day basis.

Once we build the surgical kits in our manufacturing area, we put them in a highly specialized plastic bag with Tyvek vents, we seal the bag, and they go through an ethylene oxide sterilization process. When they finish the sterilization process, they are shipped to a cross-dock facility where we consolidate freight, and then we send them to the distribution centers that support the hospitals.

EDGE: How is quality integrated into your distribution center?

JH: Logistics plays a key role here — we build a pack, but we have to get it to the customer. Service is critical, especially for a product that is used for delivering health care and saving lives. We strive for a service record of 99 percent or higher. To that end, we try to do anything possible from a logistics perspective to make that happen. We have a very diverse group of people who are well-trained in terms of effectively using logistics in an optimized manner. They are also well-versed in selecting the different options available to deliver the product when it is needed. Our end goal is to make sure the surgical teams have what they need when they need it.

EDGE: Did you have any unique workforce challenges that readySC helped you overcome?

JH: One of the areas readySC helped us a great deal with was our entry-level leadership positions, which we call “captains.” There is a lot of
technical expertise needed for that position, as well as product knowledge and an understanding of the overall manufacturing process associated with productivity, quality and safety. We have seen success with this group. We have staffed eight or nine folks that moved into our organization from readySC training and were able to successfully progress to that captain-level role, which is, in fact, a really tough role to fill. So that was extremely good for us.

One of my favorite readySC success stories is about one of our internal trainers. She went through the readySC leadership program. She received the extensive training we provide for new employees, including new hire training, soft skills training and organizational culture. She came up through the program and continued to progress in different roles. Now she does an outstanding job conducting most of the training for our new employees in the facility.

EDGE: If you had to pick a word or a phrase that you think would best describe readySC, what would that be?

JH: I think readySC is a true business partner. Another word that I think about is “innovative,” and certainly “engaged.” Their team doesn’t just show up and wait for us to make recommendations. The readySC folks came in; they were engaged, and they listened very well to our needs. I saw a lot of innovation and creativity as they developed the programs that we use to onboard our folks and get them up to speed quickly from a training perspective.

EDGE: If given the opportunity to talk to another company considering working with readySC, what would you say to them?

JH: I would say that readySC is going to come with a comprehensive skill set. Right off the bat, they will have ideas. They have expertise in brainstorming ideas and in recommending approaches. Their experience with other companies allows them to make recommendations based on what has worked in the past as well as what didn’t. They bring much-needed expertise to the table.

EDGE: We especially want to highlight companies that value and reward dedication to our military veterans. Can you tell us about some of your
efforts to hire and retain veterans of the armed services?

JH: Cardinal Health holds our veterans in very high regard. From a personal perspective as well as a professional perspective, we believe the ethics and values that this group possesses along with the training they received in the military goes a long way towards enhancing our business. We’re very committed to bringing veterans in to the Cardinal Health team.

As a matter of fact, approximately 20 percent of the folks that came through readySC were veterans. We focus on their skill sets and make sure they are placed where it makes the most sense for them and the organization. We also provide guidance and support in identifying desired career paths. Cardinal Health is a large company, so there are a lot of opportunities – here and at different sites. We are committed to our veterans and in it for the long haul.

EDGE: Do you have any final thoughts to share about readySC’s recruitment and training services?

JH: I can’t say it enough – readySC is a great business partner. In today’s world, there are so many different things going on, and the complexities are very broad. We are looking for folks who can help us accomplish our mission while at the same time preventing us from reinventing the wheel. That’s exactly what we found in readySC.

readySC came to the table with comprehensive solutions, high energy and tremendous engagement. They participated in every step along the way to help us solve our problems.

We want to continue to work with readySC in the future. The needs of the organization and the expectations from the industry, from a quality and service perspective, are ever-increasing. We want to ensure we are exceeding those expectations. We want to take advantage of any assistance we have available and any processes we can modify to be more effective. As we continue to expand, we see readySC as a source for recruiting and training new employees that will be able to deliver on our customers’ expectations.

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