Hoh Jun Choi
Babson College ‘20
I’ve gone to the herbal dispensary on two different occasions, but each time I have gone, I learn something new. I do not have a medical background, nor do I see myself pursuing a future in medicine; however, the production of herbal medication at the Jaseng herbal dispensary and its operations are noteworthy. As a marketing major with a background in retail and supply chain management, I could not help but notice the exceptional job in precision, cleanliness, and culture.
You start in a room where you are briefed of the herbal dispensary’s operations and learn that this dispensary is the largest of its kind, producing prescription medication for 12 different branches all over Korea. After putting on white gowns you are led to the prescription preparation room where each pharmacist is equipped with a scale in order to weigh and measure each and every ingredient before putting them in what seems like an oversized tea bag. Each prescription is personalized and tailored to the needs of the patients, necessitating precision and focus in the preparation process.
The next part of the tour is my favorite part as it illustrated the exceptional supply chain management of the dispensary. You are led into a room filled with the aroma of hundreds of different types of herbs in airtight bags organized neatly on shelves. Each bag has a different type of herb, with a different function from different suppliers ensuring the highest level of quality and safety. While most herbs are from China, some ingredients like the deer antlers are from some of the coldest parts of Russia. The theory is that deer that live in harsh conditions have adapted to have the strongest anatomy to survive, making the effects of their antlers more potent.
Once the herbs have been packed into the big tea bags, they are placed in water filled aluminum steamers that extract the medicinal components of the herbs and create the liquid form medication. Through a series of pipes ensuring sanitation and precision, the liquid is taste, heat, and volume tested and placed in single serving pouches that are ultimately delivered to the patients.
However, Jaseng not only has liquid form medication but pill form as well for those that may not enjoy the taste of the liquid formed medication showing that Jaseng puts its patient’s preferences first above all. The pill form production process is much more automated involving machines that grind the herbs into paste and forming them into pills. These pills are then measured and distributed into small single use pouches where patients can open the pouch and take their medication as needed. These single use pouches are then placed in visually appealing boxes and shipped out for retail or patient distribution.
The entire processes that happen at the herbal dispensary was very eye opening and showed the high level of efficiency and sanitation involved in order to produce and distribute the final good to the patient. Not only was the dispensary a success medically, but on a supply chain and operations management aspect as well.