Planning Environments of Hospital Laboratories: An Exploratory Study
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Hospital laboratories are facing challenges of increasing demand and limited budgets. Planning and control can improve resource utilization, reduce work-in-progress and shorten throughput times, but to achieve such benefits, there is a need for a strategic fit between the planning and control system and the unique planning environment of the hospital laboratory. Existing research on planning environments focuses mainly on manufacturing companies, whereas hospital laboratory planning environment research is scarce. The aim of the study is to characterize a hospital laboratory’s planning environment based on an exploratory case study. The findings indicate an overall strategic fit of the case laboratory’s planning environment, but a lack of strategic fit between large batch sizes and low set-up times. Hospital laboratory planning environment research must be further developed through multiple case studies, as hospital laboratories are different in service provision and organizational structure. This study increases knowledge on planning environments in hospital laboratories, and suggests topics for future research.