Tips to Simplify the Healthcare Supply Chain

Published on October 3, 2017

How do you manage inventory like a pro? It’s as easy as 1,2,3

If there is one thing that most, if not all, supply chain executives agree on, it’s this: A complex supply chain equals more waste—waste of time, money, even supplies. Complications can be attributed to a myriad of (sometimes well-intentioned) activities, including restructuring, acquisitions, outsourcing, new product introductions, even IT systems meant to simplify the supply chain!

If you ask a health system, hospital, urgent care center, or even doctor’s office if they would benefit from simplifying their supply chain, most would say yes, but not all would know where to begin. Suture Express offers a three-step process for simplifying the supply chain. While it may not always be as simple as 1, 2, 3, these steps will give you a place to begin.

Identifying the problem

To manage inventory like a pro, identify what’s impeding the process in the first place. For example, are supplies such as sutures and other wound closure products available when physicians and nurses need them? Product availability is a pervasive problem that at best aggravates caregivers and at worst can potentially effect patient care. Additional sources of frustration include limited connectivity within a health system and poor inventory visibility.

Here at Suture Express, we also know that excess inventory, high markups, and hidden fees can snarl the supply chain. Excess inventory can be the result of unfilled orders; inadequate technology in tracking inventory and/or miscommunication with manufacturers and distributors due to technology glitches; overstocking in response to stock-outs leading to safety stock; and poor visibility into inventory, especially if data is not real-time. Likewise, high markups and hidden fees can turn what seemed to be a great deal into an expensive mistake. Our customers achieve an average cost savings of 20% by switching to Suture Express, and are able to cut waste from their inventory and budget with aggressively low mark-ups and no hidden fees.

Find a distribution solution

Once you’ve identified your stumbling blocks, you’ll need to zero in on the best distribution solution for your needs. Do you require next-day shipping? Do your current contracts really offer the most favorable pricing? Perhaps you’ve decided to transition to a just-in-time supply model and your current distributor will no longer support your needs in terms of shipping and availability of products.

You may recall from our previous blog that supply chain cost is typically the second largest expense for hospitals, after labor costs. Customized distribution solutions tailored specifically for your hospital could cost less than an “off the shelf” solution that may not meet all of your needs, or that may offer services that you just don’t require.

Enjoy the benefits

Adding these steps to a check-list and actually working through this process are two different things. Maybe you don’t believe that you or your purchasing department have the time. In reality, can you afford not to take the time? Some facilities still waste time manually counting inventory to track supplies, and many doctors and nurses waste hours every week dealing with supply chain issues instead of patient care.

When you expect more from your distributor, the benefits are numerous: services focused on you and your facility’s needs. Stress-free distribution and the best prices on products that arrive when you need them. To learn more about Suture Express and how we may be able to help you simplify your supply chain, visit https://sutureexpress.com.

 

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