If you’re looking to streamline and improve your management of medical inventory, then there are a few guiding principles to steer you forward.
Our Ten Commandments of Healthcare Supply Chain Management can unlock medical supply chain efficiencies and lead healthcare providers towards improved performance.
Thou shalt not overstock
Healthcare materials management supports critical clinical activity, so it’s vital to provide a timely and accurate service. It can be hard to get the balance right between:
- Ensuring adequate stock is on hand
- ‘Playing safe’ to cope with supply chain disruptions
- Trying to streamline the inventory
Wise words: Overstocking is a symptom of impaired inventory vision. Understanding current stock levels and usage patterns underpins effective demand forecasting. Data analytics support accurate procurement and data-driven planning.
Thou shalt not ignore product expiration dates
There are two main reasons that items expire on the shelves:
- Overstocking – including many items which are not needed or rarely used.
- Overcrowded supplies spaces – making it hard to monitor and manage the stock.
Wise words: Neglecting to manage product expiration dates leads to wastage and poses a risk to patients. Inventory tracking and expiry management systems help healthcare providers to improve their stock management and prevent unnecessary wastage.
Thou shalt standardize products:
When the same product type is ordered from a range of suppliers, it reduces your buying power and raises your costs. Physician Preference Items (PPI) variance is a priority area to address, as it focuses on high value products and offers great potential for cost-savings.
Wise words: Aim to standardize product lists, consolidate vendors and simplify the ordering process. The aim is to reduce complexity and improve purchasing power. Alongside this however, bear in mind the need for a more diverse, robust supply chain that protects the organization during periods of disruption.
Thou shalt collaborate with suppliers:
Healthcare providers are increasingly seeing the benefit of closer collaboration with suppliers. For this to happen there needs to be trust and transparency.
Wise words: Closer working relationships with supply chain partners can be achieved by gaining shared inventory vision. Data transparency can lead to improved vendor relationships and better terms – as well as offer more diverse ways to work, such as consignment arrangements and vendor-managed stock.
These options can:
- Improve cashflow
- Lower risk
- Lower wastage
- Improve staff capacity
Collaboration makes good business sense.
Thou shalt implement lean principles:
Healthcare organizations will benefit by adopting lean medical inventory management, which is all about adding value and continuous improvement. It can support:
- Lowering wastage
- Reducing the inventory
- Reducing costs
- Improving efficiency
- Streamlining workflows
- Replacing manual activity with automation
Wise words: Inventory automation solutions underpin lean healthcare management by helping to achieve many of its objectives.
Thou shalt ensure regulatory compliance:
Complying with healthcare standards and regulations supports enhanced patient safety and avoids litigation costs and reputational damage.
Wise words: Achieving digital, end-to-end item tracking demonstrates effective monitoring of medical devices and implants and ensures compliance with FDA UDI regulations and Joint Commission standards.
Thou shalt close the tracking loop:
Providers need to close the tracking gap – ensuring that product lifecycle monitoring includes consumption data. The data trail runs dry for too many products – they are enrolled, kept in stock and then … disappear.
Wise words: Implementing a digital point of use item and charge capture system supports efficient inventory management, patient safety and revenue cycle integrity. Full implant tracking strengthens the financial and operational performance of the organization.
Thou shalt not overcomplicate procurement processes:
Keep procurement processes simple and streamlined to reduce labor, avoid delays, improve efficiency and expedite the procurement process.
Wise words: Use automation and inventory data to get the right product ordered, in the right quantity, at the right frequency.
Streamline suppliers and consolidate orders. Simplify approval workflows and establish clear communication channels with suppliers to expedite the procurement process.
Thou shalt embrace technology:
Leverage advanced, automated technology solutions that specialize in healthcare inventory management. Technology is the future of efficient inventory management. Manual processes, outdated software and inadequate tools all need to be replaced to compete in the new, digital era of healthcare.
Wise words: Select a smart, automated inventory management system that is interoperable with hospital systems, so that all data can be shared and flow through internal workflows. Ensure all tools are ‘fit for purpose’, user-friendly and deliver the desired outputs.
Thou shalt prioritize data analytics:
Efficient health systems, hospitals and surgery centers are powered by good data. It drives through informed decision-making and improves efficiency.
Wise words: Aim for automated inventory management tools that achieve full and accurate data collection, as well as meaningful data analytics.
Data is actionable business information which can:
- Provide real-time vision and actionable insights
- Monitor supply chain performance and identify weaknesses
- Identify trends that support improved forecasting
Informed, smart decision-making starts with good data.
Let there be light…
By adhering to these Ten Commandments of Healthcare Supply Chain Management, healthcare organizations can achieve transparency and efficiency. Data shines a light on hospital inventory, from enrollment, through to storage and right on to consumption.
When a healthcare organization has full inventory vision and control, it can deliver high-quality care with improved financial outcomes.
Contact us if you want to use healthcare automation to improve your healthcare inventory management. We can focus on the specific issues you currently have and suggest ways that technology can solve your problems and improve your efficiency.