As discussed in our The Future of Acute Care: Predictions for 2019 white paper, more healthcare organizations are looking to save money, several are looking to supply chain management as their first avenue of savings. Advancements in technology have made the ability for supply chain management to be automated, saving staff time, preventing waste, and saving the organization money.
What is supply chain management?
Healthcare supply chain management is the regulation of the flow of medical supplies from manufacturer to patient and everywhere in between. This can be a very complex process that unfortunately has a high level of waste.
With poor supply chain management, you lose money, risk patient safety, have increased litigation possibilities for your organization, and you lose staff productivity elsewhere because inventory can be so time-consuming for staff, even with a barcode solution.
Implementing automated supply chain management can:
- allow for more accurate forecasting of supply use
- help reduce the waste as many medical supplies expire
- increase staff visibility into on-hand inventory
- save critical dollars
- reduce need for work-arounds to obtain supplies
- save staff time
- give real-time updating when supplies are used
- decrease the chance for human error
How does automated supply chain management work?
Automated supply chain management is as simple as a staff member scanning an item. The system then automatically calculates how much to reorder based upon a few variances, including the difference between the current on-hand inventory balance for that item and the amount that is typically needed by such a facility.
This ability to have automated supply chain management is part of a bigger IT platform –enterprise resource planning (ERP). ERP is a comprehensive tool that combines inventory management, accounts payable, human resources, and more into one linked system. Having an ERP has many advantages; largely it can give you a complete view of your financial health and automate many internal processes making them more efficient.
ERP systems are increasing in popularity throughout the acute care space and we predict adoption will reach 50% this year. There are challenges however, organizations need to fully consider how an ERP will fit into their IT infrastructure and the best way to implement it to ensure success along with financially planning to add an ERP’s up-front costs.
Supply chain management is a great spot to save money and really get a great ROI out of your ERP while increasing patient safety, saving staff time, and more. By implementing an ERP and getting your supply chain management automated, your organization can focus on what’s truly important, that patient.