Managing Blood and Blood Product Inventory - Tip 1: Understand Your Inventory

Expert inventory managers understand and regularly monitor their inventory. This means they know and review patterns of inventory holdings, where inventory is held, trigger levels, delivery patterns, wastage rates, and usage rates. Understanding the patterns of all of these items will help plan requirements for improving the inventory management practices involved.


You should examine your current inventory practices to determine their efficiency. This involves looking at what your current inventory holdings are, as well as your usage and discard patterns, in conjunction with delivery and transport schedules. Ordering and delivery patterns should be examined to determine the best schedule to suit workflow requirements while maintaining cost effectiveness. The patterns may be reliant on the capacity to store products, the level of staffing, and the shelf life of product and demand patterns. For example, your facility may have a large haemophilia clinic once per week and this may determine when the bulk of the clotting factor products are ordered and delivered.

You may need to determine what you think is a safe level of stock for each type of product, i.e. inventory levels should be sufficient to ensure blood components are available to maintain expected daily patient needs, but not so high that results in high rates of discard due to expiry. You should also have an understanding of how these inventory levels will work in periods of short supply. Monitoring the number of blood products ordered, transfused, transferred and discarded can provide information regarding your inventory management, and can provide a basis for planning ahead. You can use a variety of resources available to perform this monitoring such as:

  • reports available in BloodNet at
  • reports available from suppliers
  • reports you generate yourself from your Laboratory Information System and associated databases.

BloodNet Board


Managing blood and blood product inventory is made up of two key factors:

  1. Product Availability: Planning of inventory levels held, timing of deliveries and order volume; and
  2. Product Integrity: Physical and process control of product in your facility, to ensure efficient and effective handling to maintain availability and minimise wastage.

Inventory management procedures, records and systems may vary significantly from one health provider to the next depending on the size and nature of the services provided. There is no single set of activities that will suit all health providers so you should examine which activities might work to improve inventory management for them. An effective inventory manager understands how to make use of the data available in order to determine how each part of the supply chain affects them and how it could be improved on.

BloodNet Reports
Some BloodNet reports that might help monitor your inventory include:
• Issues (INV002)
• Inventory (INV001, 006, 007 & 008)
• Discard (Fate 001, 002 &007)

• Transfers (Fate 003 & 004)

• Fresh Blood Orders & Issues (FUL010e)


Checklist for Inventory Management Best Practice (79.3 KB)

Checklist for Inventory Management Best Practice (26.94 KB)


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