All posts by mattbrinknl

Innovation in organ transportation, beating “heart in a box”

Since a couple of years I am a kidney patient. At this moment I have one working kidney and due to that my interest for organ transplantation grew. It can happen that in the coming years I have to undergo this technique but I was never aware about any details behind this process. Unfortunately there is still a long waiting list of not healthy people in need for organ transplantation. Finding the right organ and the possibility to get the organ in a safe and healthy way is still a very big issue which impacts the liveability of the patients. Organ transportation is a critical element of this process and a fundament for successful transplantation. But what are the developments in the world of organ transportation?

Since 1954 we already work on transplanting organs. The process hasn’t changed that much since then. fundamentally, organs still travel via coolers. The organ is removed from one human, sluiced with salt, putted in ice and sent to the other location where the other patient is waiting. This process got challenged and is about to change, based on research on the quality of organ transportation a technology innovation arose. To increase the compatibility of the organ towards their new body it needs to stay in functioning state and body temperature, also during transportation.

New devices are able to more accurately determine the health of the organ before it will be transplanted. These devices can real time monitor the health of the organ. They use a innovation called “ex vivo warm perfusion” that creates the circumstances in where an organ can stay longer outside a body. This creates a situation where organs can be delivered to way further destinations.
At this moment, regarding viability, kidneys can stay healthy and ready for transplantation with 36 hours frozen in ice. However hearts and lungs can unfortunately only stay out of the body in ice for 4 to 6 hours. These new ex vivo systems increases the amount of hours significantly.

“Beating heart in a box” proposition

This mentioned ex-vivo system brought us a new product, beating heart in a box. During transportation the box pumps warm, oxygenated and enriched blood through the heart which keeps it in working conditions. It’s a small box from maximum 1 m2 and made on wheels to ease transportation. Equipped with oxygen, blood, Batteries, and monitoring systems (humidity and temperature). Transmedics is one of the main suppliers on this new technology. And invented and produced the “heart in a box” as seen below.

heart in a box

The organ believes that it’s still in the body,” says Dr. Waleed Hassanein, president and CEO of TransMedics, the Andover, Mass.-based medical device company that’s developing the system. “The heart is beating. The lung is breathing. The liver is making bile. The kidneys are making urine.”

Because the organs are functioning during transport, doctors can monitor the organs and in some cases make them healthier, Hassanein adds. Antibiotics can be delivered to an organ to prevent or treat an infection. Clinicians can inflate sections of a donor lung that have collapsed.

So as we can see the technology is there and proven. However it is still an expensive process and obtaining all the medical certificates are the major challenges to bring this product to a majority market. Accessibility of the right organs is a big issues for patients who have to wait for a new organ. However this technology enhances the accessibility and can hopefully save life’s in the future!


Buy your DIA groceries via Amazon!

Group DIA is one of the key players in the Spanish retail industry development in the last 40 years.  Grupo DIA has more than 7,400 stores (DIA, 2018) in 3 different countries (Spain, Argentina and Portugal), and specifically in Spain it is the 3rd largest supermarket chain.

In fact, they have integrated a new key logistic activity that Grupo DIA successfully. The alliance with the most well-known e-retail worldwide which is Amazon. This allowed DIA to have access to hundreds of thousands of new consumers, but also to be part of a world-class purchase platform which, indeed, might impact on its brand perception.

DIA consider that digital transformation impulse is key to achieve best-in-class growth in the future. Based on this, the main logistic activities that are going to be evaluated are related to Physical distribution, which includes: Order Picking, Packaging and Outward transport. The alliance with Amazon gave DIA a great advantage.

At the beginning, this activity was focused only in Madrid and Barcelona. Since it was successful, and they have the goal of multiplying revenues by six (DIA Amazon, 2017), they are starting to expand to other cities. One of those is Valencia (DIA Amazon, 2018), we are able now to purchase through Amazon our groceries.

To have access we must download the Amazon Prime Now App follow the instructions that are clearly shown:

Dia 1

The E-Commerce Director of DIA, Diego Sebastián de Erice, mentioned that “One of the key issues is the control and management of stocks “so that there are no faults”; his responsibility is limited to the preparation of the order, since the shipment is handled by Amazon” (DIA Prime, 2017).

For this alliance, DIA is using their format called “La Plaza de DIA” which offers all the assortment from one store and it “obviously that includes a wide range of private-label items of Bonté, Delicious, and all our private-label — exclusive private-label products. And we see that — we are really seeing that that is a differentiation factor in the future of [line].

They are offering something amazing related to Outward transport, they offer to deliver the products in two hours if the order is higher than 25 Euros. This is really convenient for those new shoppers that do not have time for going to the physical store


Ricardo Curras also said “What we have seen is — but it is very preliminary, is that we are gaining Amazon customers because what we have provided these La Plaza de DIA as the supermarket of Amazon Prime Now, the best Amazon customers.

The existing DIA app for online purchasing have really good LOGISTIC benefits for customers that are allowed to receive their products at home after purchasing online in the same day, this is really good. Now, inside the AMAZON Prime Now App, people would also be able to buy products from DIA, this is an amazing opportunity for DIA to be able to reach new customers. “Even though online purchasing still accounts for just over 1% of total sales” (DIA Prime, 2017), logistic activities regarding online purchasing are extremely important.

Why 3D printing will change logistics

The popularity of 3D printing went skyrocket last years and the technology gets more and more accepted in business models of companies. Even though we are not exposed a lot to this technology it is already evidently present within divergent industries from manufacturing to the food industry 3D printing is already being used. However, what has 3D printing to do with the logistics industry?
Recently DHL already posted a news article on 3D printing and the impact of this technology on their business model and how it will change in the future even more. The reason why this technology will impact the world of logistics relies in the fact that production companies will create and manufacture a range of items in total new ways.
At this moment the 3D technology is crossing the chasm and becomes available for the early majority market and more mainstream. Companies using 3D printing as additive manufacturing which can ease the way to create complex designs and effortless customizable goods. This enables companies t to on-demand design and produce new products and seamlessly individualizing them to meet the needs of end users.
Mass customization and on demand printing inventory levels are likely to decrease as companies more change to build-to-order instead of order-to-build. Mass customization has already a huge impact on inventory control and delivery but due to the developments of 3D printing it will get even bigger and bigger.
In addition, what will happen if the majority of consumer goods will be printed at home? Companies just deliver customers the correct structure and codes and for example toys, food, screws can be printed directly at home. No delivery or logistics involved and you have your product within one hour or even faster.

Obviously this is a vision for further in the future but it is not unlikely to happen. What we don’t know 3D printing is already a huge market in the manufacturing industry and sooner or later will be more available for consumer market.

Food for thought!

Is this the future of package delivery?

On April 25th amazon announced their new partnership with Volvo and General Motors regarding package delivery. Why did amazon started this partnership and what is the concept behind this way of delivery and even more important can this new concept become a standard in package delivery, anyway amazon believes in it!
Already in 2016 Volvo started in Sweden with their in-car delivery services. The concept is simple and works as followed:

1. Register online on for a Volvo ID
2. Shop online at one of the appointed partners of Volvo
3. Choose the delivery option, “Volvo in-car delivery”
4. Get the goods delivered to your car
a. You can decide the time and place for delivery
b. Delivery partners receive a temporal digital key to access the trunk, without you needing to be at the car
5. Customer can track and trace their delivery on the Volvo app


Eventually Volvo states that customers can save time and avoid extensive planning of the day around a delivery which makes life easier. At this moment these services are only available in Sweden and Switzerland. However we can expect after announcing the partnership with amazon that this services will be rolled out all over the world.
As I can expect you might think, is this safe? Can someone access my car without the owner to be there? As we all know every product is getting more digital and connected to internet services, cars are already a driving internet hub and is connected always and anywhere. You can already access cars just by using your app. This is also the concept for in-car delivery, however at this point certified delivery personnel get a temporary access key to the car which expertise within a couple of minutes so they can only open once in a certain period of time.

The main goal for amazon in this case is to create way more convenience for package delivery because their core business model relies on that. They focus on faster, easier, anytime delivery. And in-car delivery can provide customers and amazon these benefits.
However will this be the future? I want to put some doubts on the claims made by Volvo Amazon which might be food for thought. How easy hackable are these systems to get access to the trunk or car? And is it possible to create a efficient sustainable business model around this delivery, because eventually you have to follow your customer more real time, is that possible if you have way more deliveries during that day? All in all at this moment this development is still in the begin phase of massive roll out. But if amazon invest in its we can state their will be some future prospectives.

Would you use it?

How to increase the enjoyment of working in a warehouse?

Bringing gamification to the warehouse workforce

Last week we talked in class about the job as forklift driver this triggered me to talk a bit more about jobs within warehouses. Working as a picker or forklift driver in a warehouse doesn’t seem to be the most inspiring job in the world. If you ask younger people on what do you want to become when you’re older less then 2% (I have no scientific research data, just an estimation) would answer, a warehouse picker or forklift driver.

However the job is still quiet important and with all package handling today we at the moment still needs these jobs to exist. The popularity of gamification on the workforce is taking a huge flight at the moment. Gamification is adding some game and fun elements to your core job to increase the entertainment and engagement of the employees and to become a great place to work for employers.

At the moment always every employee in the warehouse has a mobile phone which they use for their core business process, scanning boxes/products in the warehouse. The Enterprise resource planning tool they use in their job is getting more smart but some applications are also adding gamification in their process.  Gamification can increase motivation, engagement and creates a collaborative culture. It is based on video games in non-gaming situations like working in a warehouse. The warehouse is a perfect scenario for adding/using gamification elements. Warehouses can have anywhere from dozens to hundreds of employees, many of whom likely don’t interact on a regular basis. By using elements like challenges, badges, levels and leaderboards, gamification can help create a more interactive and compelling workplace environment.

Imagine a reward system based on the amount of packages you handle during the day individual or with your team? Image a pokemon go look a like app, so that during the day you can catch achievements which are located on your routes for example?
It would be a great idea to add a formal reward system in money or development courses for employees to get more inspired and to work harder during the days to increase productivity of the warehouse.

The following video provides a small introduction to gamification in our lives.

Why VeChain blockchain will disrupt the logistics process

Since probably the hype of bitcoin last year we all heard of the blockchain technology. However still the majority of people only see blockchain as an equivalent to bitcoin and a asset to invest in to earn money, but nothing is less true. Bitcoin is only one really limited application of blockchain technology and focusses only on financial transactions without any extra intelligence. Thankfully, blockchain technology has plenty more to offer and obviously will disrupt many industries, including logistics!

What is blockchain:
Blockchain is not bitcoin, blockchain is a way of working, the blockchain technology works as a decentralized database for handling divergent types of data. All applications we use eventually work on an information database, whether it is Whatsapp, online banking or Facebook, in the end they all rely on an information database which provides the correct data on the right time. However before the era of blockchain those were all centralized databases in the datacenters of for example Facebook and our financial institutions. Those centralized databases are a single point of failure and we all just have to trust that those institutions handles our data safe and correct, all the power is in the hands of the institutions. The blockchain is different it is decentralized over a worldwide network of computers in a peer-2-peer network and all data is separated all over the biggest network (blockchain) of the world. The most important part of this decentralized database is that every node in the network has a copy of the database and if someone adds, edits or deletes data the whole network has to agree on the fact that that person can adjust the data, which makes the system very trustful. It is just spreading the risk resulting in the fact that there is no single point of failure anymore in where cyber thiefs can hack. If you want a more comprehensive explanation of blockchain please view the following video.

Bitcoin was just the beginning
Bitcoin is only just a limited first generation financial decentralized database system which can handle only financial information. At the moment there are plenty of second/third generation blockchain initiatives which are way more intelligent databases and can handle way more extensive data, and one of the biggest supply chain management blockchain initiatives is VeChain.

What is VeChain?
VeChain is a logistic leading blockchain platform for luxury products and data. VeChain strives for a self-developed blockchain platform based on an ecosystem of transparency and distributed companies.

As mentioned above, VeChain develops a blockchain with mainly logistical purposes. The VeChain smart chip is one of these developments. The purpose of this chip is the authentication process of all kinds of products. In addition, the chip gives background information about the relevant product. But how does this work exactly? As an example we take a nice brand coat. For years, many brands have been copied worldwide. These products are often indistinguishable from the consumer. VeChain wants to put an end to this by means of the smart chip. The chip is processed in the product. When the product is scanned, the chip gives all information about the product. Consider the authenticity of the product but also the maker, the material, the country of origin and the production date. A complete digital profile of a product is created, as it were. As you can understand, this is a very big development in the field of product authentication. If VeChain succeeds in setting this up, this can be very interesting for the complete project.
All this chip data is handled on the fast, safe and reliable blockchain databases which makes it a future proof solution for efficient, effective handling of the product/logistics data.

The following video simply explains the VeChain products. If you are curious in the project and you want to invest in blockchain technology don’t hesistate to ask me!


Business model innovation, from constructing to logistics

If you ever travelled to the Netherlands you might noticed that the way in which residential areas are formed is very structured and strictly formed in blocks/squares. A lot of tourists always state that every neighbourhood have a similar outlook. Nothing is less true, due the lack of space in the Netherlands the country is forced to create very efficient constructed neighbourhoods. This development also impacted the fundamental way of building the residences. The Netherlands became masters in creating standardized residences. All buildings and houses next to each other look kind of the same to optimize the manufacturing process and the use of space.

Due to this standardization the trend of prefab houses took an enormous flight. Prefab houses are residences that can be built quickly from pieces that have been made in a factory. Especially in the Netherlands the core business process of a building company does not rely especially on constructing anymore. Because on the construction sites they only “screw” the parts together. The divergent parts are made on one fabric plant by for example 3D printing and need to be stored efficiently on divergent warehouses. On the eventual construction sites they only have to screw the parts together, and the job is done. There are even blueprints of houses which construction companies can set up in only 1 day.

This prefab development created from a building company a logistics company. As result building companies have some new challenges to optimize the building process to reach the service level agreement delivery goals. Due the fact that parts of residences are not always small and planning of projects are very hard to forecast (due permits and the dependency on other infrastructure suppliers) its very hard to create a just in time strategy to reduce inventory costs. In addition, the transport costs increased tremendously because the expansion of the amount and size of the parts. One of the main challenges for building companies is to create bundled deliveries, What to bring when on which type of transportation in the most efficient way. The Netherlands is a high densely populated country and traffic jams are daily business resulting in another big challenge to take into account by changing to a logistics process company. (in this video you can see an example of transporting a prefab part of a big residential building).

This prefab era is a business model innovation which change the whole way of working and focus of the building companies and nowadays they are still struggling with the challenges just mentioned. However when this process works optimally we are able to create houses on construction sites in only 1 day!

(But still, lets hope the world will not become full of inartistic standardized neighbourhoods like in the Netherlands;))

How to create smart garbage?

What are the first words that will come through our minds when we hear about garbage handling? Dirty, disgusting? Words like innovation and intuitive are sadly not very top of mind in this industry. However nothing is less true. Especially within garbage handling there are a lot of innovative projects which tremendously change the way of working and impact the logistics of garbage handling.

The era of internet of things technology (IoT)?

Internet of things is the interconnection via the Internet of computing devices embedded in everyday objects, enabling them to send and receive data. And with devices in everyday objects, we mean like really EVERY day objects. Imagine (smart) bicycles which capture real time data on material wear and tear or data regarding to where your bike is located, or Smart street lights providing the government data on energy usage and functioning hours. In addition, even a better application of internet of things is combining those data between bicycles and street lights to create smart lightning on the streets in order to create an efficient energy distribution by knowing when to turn on the streetlights as soon as bicycles arrive. Due to decreasing costs on sensor technology and big-data handling, last years the internet of things technology took its momentum and skyrocketed enormously in popularity and applications in our whole society, IoT is everywhere.

Car Parking sensors and garbage handling logistics…..?!?

Last years I worked on a great pilot project to create smart garbage handling and I would like to share the idea behind our project and the impact on garbage logistics.

We all know parking sensors applied on cars, that technology is not new anymore, became cheap and is applied to almost every new car. It is that sensor that rings an annoying beep sound if you are almost hitting an object while showing your parking skills (see image below).
parking sensor

So what does parking sensors have to do with garbage handling? We created a creative unintended purpose for those sensors by adding them into the process of garbage handling. We all know the big garbage containers in city center which are being emptied by the garbage handling companies like for example GDF Suez. In our project we created smart containers by putting a car parking sensor up-side down on the ceiling of the container in order to measure the filling degree of the container.

Smart garbage handling

Each time the container reaches 70% of the total capacity the sensor will send a small data package to the garbage handling company that they need to drive by to empty it. They incorporated these data packages into their management information systems to create (big data) intelligence regarding the most efficient route for the truck driver.

smart routes

Creating operational excellence:

  • Effective routes to only full containers
  • Saving labour costs (working hours)
  • Saving fuel (environmental friendly)

Ever thought garbage handling could be so intuitive?