In our current economic climate, many healthcare facilities are looking to cut back when it comes to handling equipment delivery and warehousing mainly due to a lack of warehouse space and a lack of sufficient personnel to handle all of the many tasks involved in this process.
A number of IDNs and large systems often ask distributors and vendors to take on logistical needs they would not have in the past—and instead of keeping large items in a central warehouse, they are leaning more toward direct-to-side delivery.
While this does serve to reduce warehouse and personnel costs, the process involved with doing all of these things is extremely important to figure out.
ONE UNFORTUNATE STORY
Recently, we were informed of a healthcare clinic that needed to be supplied with furniture from another vendor, to be delivered direct-to-site. After several calls to arrange this delivery, the clinic was assured the furniture would be delivered on time—6 AM, to be exact—so they could open their clinic two hours later without affecting their patients. To make sure things went smoothly, they had removed all of their old furniture the night before—leaving their office empty entirely.
On the day of, the delivery truck arrived an hour after it had been slated to, and the delivered items were left uncrated in the waiting room of the clinic. No direction had been given as to what items went in what rooms, and it turned out as time went on that several pieces were not actually delivered to the clinic because they were backordered. Frustrated, the clinic manager managed to retrieve the old furniture to fill the gaps left behind—all while trying to make sure their clinic still opened on time.
While this situation is a dramatic example of what happens when direct-to-site deliveries go wrong, it is easy to see how the change in healthcare product management and systems has made a difference in the quality of deliveries healthcare providers have seen of late.
What You Should Know and Expect
Because CME specializes in direct-to-site deliveries, we know what you should expect.
Here are 9 things to keep in mind:
1. Your vendor or distributor should always be proactive in communicating with you, the customer, by keeping your expectations realistic and calling you to let you know when you should receive your order.
2. If and when you do need to call, your vendor or distributor should return your call promptly. You should always expect someone to be in good communication with you on such a time-sensitive delivery.
3. You should have things communicated to you up front—there should be no disappointing surprises when it comes to ordering and receiving backordered or out of stock items.
4. Along the same line: if there do end up being backordered or out of stock items that you request, you should expect that to be communicated well before your scheduled delivery date.
5. You should anticipate communication about any delivery constraints to provide adequate time for completing delivery and setup before your operating hours begin, should the delivery happen in such a manner.
6. You should expect that your delivery be on time.
7. You should expect that there will be communication as to what pieces go to what rooms so they can be labeled and the truck staged appropriately to make for a smooth delivery.
8. You should expect your purchases to be uncrated in the truck or at their warehouse if possible, and that packing materials will be kept away from the patient areas.
9. You should expect that your vendor or distributor will create a process to make the delivery and setup go as smooth and easy as possible.
No matter what the delivery is—no matter if it's to one location or many, a few items or more—CME makes it our goal to communicate well so there are no disappointing surprises when it comes to your deliveries. We have been providing direct-to-site services for over 3 decades; our processes have been fine-tuned over the years.
Next time you need a delivery direct-to-site, look no further than CME.
With two corporate offices and 35+ service centers, our mission is to help healthcare facilities nationwide reduce the cost of the equipment they purchase, make their equipment specification, delivery, installation, and maintenance processes more efficient, and help them seamlessly launch, renovate and expand on schedule.