• Identifying green logistics best practices: a case study of Thailand's public hospitals

      Bandoophanit, T.; Breen, Liz; Barber, Kevin D. (2018-09)
      Purpose Previous research (Bandoophanit et al, 2017) has shown that pharmaceuticals are a key input into effective healthcare operations but other equally important inputs are medical supplies, food, utilities, equipment and linen. As stated by the Twelfth National Economic and Social Development Plan (2017-2021) of Thailand, to attempt to deliver national Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) organisations should preserve resources and minimize waste-generation in all aspects. The principal aim of this research project was to identify green practices and develop a model which supported and promoted healthcare efficiencies. Research Approach This was a mixed methods multi-site study using both qualitative and quantitative data collection and analysis methods. Six public hospitals were selected as case organizations, covering different types/sizes, locations, and environmental performance expertise. The data collection methods included interviews, documentation reviews and in situ observations. Respondents’ selection was purposive and a bespoke form of content analysis was used for the data review before further cross-case analysis, resulting in the identification of best practices using key indicators. Findings and Originality In spite of facing financial crisis, by reviewing key logistical processes and lifecycle, the overuse of healthcare resources and the poor management of waste, were clearly identified within in this study. This had a negative effect on personnel and patient hygiene. The result of identifying effective GL practices were reported as: (i) promoting the usage of multiple-use medical devices that can minimize inputs, waste, and cost, and (ii) producing/selecting organic food materials and fruits and reusing these waste byproducts to create secondary products e.g. fertilizer, biogas and electricity and cleaning/sterilizing liquid. The results also indicated that there was a drive from leaders to introduce green and efficient systems to improve staff personnel awareness and engagement in this area. The output of this study presents a model for GL implementation guidance, grounded in Thailand’s Sufficiency Economy Philosophy (SEP) concept. Research Impacts Currently, healthcare green logistics has received limited attention in developing nations and this study contributes to the reduction of these gaps. The SEP concept promotes sustainable health standards and underpins the focus and the originality/impact of this study. Practical Impacts This study recommends that staff in Thai hospitals focus on effective resource and waste management to contribute to sustainable sufficiency. This allows Thailand to offer an effective healthcare service to its patients. The study presents guidance and support to do this.