When Todd Winzinek and Gene Talbot arrived at work today at 6:30 a.m. they were greeted by 11 palettes of packages ready to be checked in.
As clerks in the storeroom, both men work on the loading dock.
“With monthly deliveries averaging 2,500 packages, the amount of incoming freight can pretty much dictate your day,” Winzinek said. “When the trucks are late, it can really set our process back. If you aren’t organized and patient, you’re probably going to have a bad day.”
Talbot likens his job to taking a look around your local grocery store.
“You see all that stuff sitting on the shelves in the grocery store?” he said. “It had to get there somehow. If you got it, you can be assured that a truck brought it.”
Both men know their jobs impact patient care, but for Talbot, it hits especially close to home.
“Two of my daughters had to have spinal fusion surgery for scoliosis here at Children’s,” he said. “Everything that was put inside their bodies during those surgeries came through this dock. There would be no patient care without us. We have a little part in every kid that goes out of here healthy.”
Part of the central supply department, the 5-man team of storeroom clerks rotates jobs every 2 weeks. Those jobs include receivers 1 and 2, order filler, order runner and truck/float.
Today Winzinek is receiver 1. His job is to stay in the storeroom, answer the phone and dock door, and check in packages.
As receiver 2, Talbot performs many of the same duties as Winzinek, but he’s also responsible for delivering packages to hospital departments once they’re checked in.
Delivery carts line the walls of the storeroom, with yellow tape on the floor designating which floor each cart is assigned.
Motorized carts are available for heavy loads that go across the bridges to the Locust and Considine buildings and soon the new Kay Jewelers Pavilion.
Daily deliveries from UPS, Fed Ex Ground and Fed Ex Air are routine, but medical supply and medical records contractors, as well as food and beverage vendors, are also regulars on the dock.
“Many of our contractors and vendors have been with us for years and know their way around,” said Winzinek. “Most do their own deliveries throughout the hospital.”
Once a truck is backed into one of the 4 bays on the dock, Winzinek lines up wooden skids – or palettes– for unloading. When a skid is full, he wheels it into the storeroom for sorting.
Talbot uses a box cutter to open a box and pull out the packing slip. After pulling up the purchase order (PO) in the computer, he has to reconcile the 15 items on the PO against what’s in the box.
“This box may only have 3 of the items listed,” said Talbot. “I process the ones we have received and leave the PO open in the computer until all 15 items are accounted for. It can sometimes take a week or more to fill a PO – 2 items at a time.”
In addition to the regular freight, odd things occasionally show up on the dock.
Winzinek points out 3 palettes stacked high with boxes of jump ropes that need to be delivered to the Cedar Pine building. Firemen are also bustling about the dock delivering trees from the recently concluded Holiday Tree Festival at the John S. Knight Center.
“Next week 250 poinsettias will be coming,” he said.
Once Talbot notices a few carts are full, he begins to make his rounds delivering packages.
His first stop is the inventory room on the surgical floor, where he replenishes the supplies that were used in surgery the day before. He then moves to the cath lab, pre-surgery and sterile processing.
“All the packages are bar coded,” said Talbot. “I use a handheld scanner that helps me keep track of where and when I deliver something and who signed for it.”
Although Talbot’s job as receiver 2 requires a lot of walking – about 6 miles daily – it’s still not the most physical of all jobs the clerks perform.
“The most physical job is probably running the truck. The truck driver delivers things like baby formula, equipment and car seats to offsite locations that are still in close proximity to the main campus – places like home health, the Y building and Exchange Street,” said Talbot.
While Talbot is off delivering, Winzinek remains at the dock receiving and filling up carts. He’s careful to note which packages require priority handling due to the nature of their contents.
“PDQ, a designation that flashes in red on the computer PO, means they need it pretty darn quick,” said Winzinek. “Other items that take priority are things that need refrigeration or need to be kept warm. Boxes are usually marked to alert us if something needs special handling.”
A 16-year veteran of Children’s, Winzinek moved into the storeroom from the kitchen 6 years ago because he preferred the hours.
“I like the 6:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. shift because I still have a lot of my day left to go exercise and work a second job a few days a week,” he said.
If you’re interested in a career at Akron Children’s, check out our current job opportunities.