Enabling Scalability with Automated Fulfilment

Innovation in the at-home testing revolution doesn’t just happen on the laboratory analytics side, innovating with automated fulfilment has proven essential to reliably deliver health testing at scale.

Many at-home health testing companies still fulfil manually, which may be heroic in the first stages of a scrappy start up (we’ve been there), but things break down when traction ramps up. At first glance the components and packaging of at-home test kits are relatively simple: a few predefined components in a box. However, as regulated medical devices designed to facilitate healthcare decision making, the margin for error is non-existent. And when demands on personnel and warehousing space increase, the chances increase for missed orders or incorrectly configured products, impacting patient safety, trust, and the company’s bottom line. Automating fulfilment removes human limitations when making the jump from tens to hundreds of units shipping per week to thousands per week and more.

Automation increases order processing efficiency to handle larger volumes of incoming orders, and to handle fluctuations in demand that might cause significant backlogs when processing manually. This means fewer or no delays in responding to spikes in demand or market trends, where being late to respond could lead to unnecessary losses and customer dissatisfaction. These days customers expect a quality and speed of service from suppliers, so automated fulfilment helps you stand out from the pack. In the other direction, automated systems can quickly downscale production in market downturns to avoid overstocking.

A significant source of non-conformity (NC) reporting can come from incorrect, damaged, or out of date kit components being included in the product. Higher levels of automation can do away with manual picking and packing, reducing errors and providing more traceability if these do occur. With automated checkpoints and data recording, any NC’s can be quickly identified and traced to its source, meaning more watertight quality assurance. Many or all of the components can be barcoded and tracked through the assembly process in a level of detail that would not be possible manually.

Automation also impacts warehousing efficiency. Stock management can be tracked in finer detail, with automated triggers to replenish in case of shortages or expiry dates. Sophisticated automation can allow custom allocation of test kits by linking a common kit type to any one of multiple products and laboratory analyses that the customer has purchased, with delivery address and other details like custom QR codes printed on-demand. This both streamlines operations and warehouse management, reducing room for picking errors, and allows seamless and customised product journeys to be built to delight users.

At Hurdle, automation is key to connecting the complex layers of physical sample collection kit, logistics and shipping, digital product experience and flow, laboratory analysis, and holistic data capture to manage the seamless end to end patient journey. We have first hand experience of going from garage scale to large manual warehouses to tech enabled variable automation. We want to use this knowledge and experience to give others a boost and accelerate the democratisation and access to health testing around the world. Hurdle’s high throughput, customisable platform allows newer players to access the benefits of automation that they may not see until much further down the line.

Automation of fulfilment and logistics is key to unlocking at-home testing businesses at scale, book in a call with our team to find out more about how Hurdle can help you reach new heights.