One of the primary goals in all healthcare systems is to come up with new ways to make healthcare more cost effective. To do this, most organizations have turned to supply chain management—a function that comprises almost half of the operating expenses of healthcare facilities and hospitals.
Supply chain management has evolved past simply determining how much of something to purchase and carry in a storeroom—today, managers must also manage relationships with manufacturers, distributors, service providers and end users to minimize supply costs and prove their worth to an organization.
With that in mind, here are some ways you can help your organization’s efficiency:
1: Commitment to Team Building
In order to create greater efficiency in supply chain management, be sure to get confirmation from senior management that they will support your process and move it along. Your project team should also represent all of your stakeholders—be it physicians, nurses, material managers or anyone else involved—to bolster support for the quality changes and cost-savings plans you initiate.
In the end, physicians, nurses and other medical professionals may not have a vested interest in the monetary side of these initiatives, but they should be involved in initiatives that will aid both their professional recognition and patient outcomes.
2: End-to-End Visibility
One of the primary ways you can help achieve efficiency is by creating greater visibility between the “upstream” and “downstream” segments of your value chain by sharing data. Data from the tasks throughout your supply chain provide facts and evidence everyone needs to understand and communicate for effective decision-making in key areas, including:
- Accurate charge capture
- Inventory management
- Demand forecasting
- Recall management
Sharing and aiding in the understanding of this data creates the potential for significant savings and error reduction, which can help operations run more smoothly.
3: Improve and Automate Manual Business Processes
Evaluating current processes and automating business practices is a great way to identify bottlenecks and other issues in your supply chain system. Methodologies such as Lean and Six Sigma can help you identify opportunities to streamline and make other improvements to your systems.
Automating things such as requisitions, purchase orders and invoices helps both your providers and suppliers reduce errors and improve supply chain management.
4: Build Efficient Trading Partner Relationships
When it comes to moving products, information or even funds, it is important to establish collaborative alliances with vendors and distributors alike. Because each person within the supply chain performs a specific role, the quality of your relationships with any of them weighs on your ability to get products and equipment to your users on time at the lowest possible cost—which also affects your financial performance.
Be sure to evaluate and maintain your relationships flexibly, so key players have the leeway to constantly source better options and low-cost solutions—especially for more expensive items.
5: Establish Metrics to Track and Measure Results
Make sure that your supply chain management initiatives include the tools you need to track and evaluate outcomes over a given period of time. This will monitor the use and selection of products. Monitor adherence to established protocols to see if they are working as intended. This proactive approach will help determine if adjustments are necessary and where you can make changes for further optimization.
Determine the metrics you want to use. You don’t have to use every benchmark available to you, start with just a few key measurements and add on as the improvement process matures.
While creating the most efficient supply chain can be difficult, using a distributor that specializes in equipment procurement, logistics and delivery can be a huge help. Here at CME, we specialize in the equipment and all services related to equipment including selection, procurement, warehousing, assembly, delivery to the rooms, installation and even biomedical services that can extend the life of your equipment. Our goal is to streamline the process of acquiring and delivering equipment that is ready for use while saving you time and real dollars.
If you are looking for a new value in your supply chain system, look no further than CME.