Have you ever considered how interesting the supply chain management must be for blood donation organizations like the American Red Cross? Well, here’s a brief overview of the process. Perhaps some of you Six Sigma Master Black Belts can make suggestions!

  1. The donor is screened and gives about 1 pint and a few small test tubes of blood, which is labeled with bar codes.
  2. This blood is scanned into a system and then spun in centrifuges to separate the different components.
  3. Simultaneous to step 2, the test tubes are being examined to determine blood type, (I’m O+), and if there are any infectious diseases.
  4. Assuming all goes well in step 3, the units are labeled and stored. Red cells can be stored for 42 days at 6 degrees Celsius. Plasma can be frozen and stored for a year!
  5. Blood can then be shipped from numerous storage facilities to hospitals 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Talk about an effective distribution system! That might even give Wal-Mart a run for their money.

Step six, not recorded in the official process, is that someone in need receives the blood. By giving blood, you can give the gift of life for up to three people. Please join us on October 25 between 2-7 pm or October 26 between 12-5 pm. You can register for your preferred time in advance. We hope to see you there!