Way back (sometime in 2000-1), when I was the founder and CEO of SmartOps, I coined a catchy slogan:
Fix the Mix.
What did it mean?
Companies — Fortune 500, Global 2000 and many others — were trying to reduce their inventory investment while also trying to improve service levels.
How is that possible?
It is possible because the inventory they have is in the wrong item, wrong location, at the wrong time!
By laser-focusing on the (item, location, time) calculations, it is possible to fine tune the numbers such that the aggregate inventory is lower, but aggregate service level is higher!
Some items will have higher inventory than before. This will increase service levels.
Many items will have lower inventory as they had way too much. Their service levels will not be lowered.
So overall inventory will be lower and service level higher.
This was the essence of my software from SmartOps that created the space for Enterprise Inventory Optimization (EIO).
We even created a simple video to explain this. It was based on Second Life with avatars and all that!
Why bring it up now?
Earlier this month, at American Society of Transplant Surgeons (ASTS) State-of-the-Art Conference (in Miami), one of my papers that dealt with liver allocation was presented.
In that, we proposed a new metric, called REACH, to help prioritize liver patients that have HCC (Hepato-cellular Carcinoma) get transplants.
What is REACH?
Risk for Exceeding Allocation Criteria for HCC.
This is a vast improvement over the current policy (that some transplant surgeons — who shall remain unnamed! — have called asinine).
Why is the current policy considered asinine?
It does not take into account tumor biology of the patient in giving them a score that decides on their likelihood of getting a transplant.
This current policy is in complete opposition to the stated goals of the transplant community.
When you look at REACH versus current policy, you will see that some patients have increased priority, many others have reduced priority, and overall, HCC patients have less priority than non-HCC patients.
The point is:
We give livers to who need it most and who will also benefit from it a lot.
We Fix the Mix!
In doing so, we allocate livers such that it is both more fair and efficient.
It was well received at the conference and the presenter (Chuck from MGH, our co-author) even won an ASTS award.
Here is the talk.
That was not a surprise.
What was a surprise (to me) was the Saturday reception: the dinner was good and the dancing was fun!
Yes, dancing! Turns out that Sommer Gentry and her husband Dorry Segev (Johns Hopkins) are award winning dancers.
He is also a pretty good DJ.
It was good to meet up with Transplant surgeons Jim Markmann (MGH), Dixon Kaufman (Wisconsin), John Roberts (UCSF), Hasan Yerziz (UCLA), Parsia Vagefi (UT), David Axelrod (Iowa), Burcin Ekser (Indiana), Kim Olthoff (U. Penn), David Mulligan (Yale)….
Dixon is the current ASTS President, and John and Kim are past presidents. (Starzl was the first President of ASTS.)
Looking forward to many more cool projects to do in 2019!