This is an age old challenge (no time, no staff, and no resources to save money) for supply chain managers. However, your senior management still expects you to save money even with these mind-boggling constraints. With this said, here are four ways that I have learned to save money with no time, no staff, and no resources and I hope you can profit from:
- Automate Every Manual Savings System: If you are using spreadsheets to benchmark, price check, and calculate your analytics, immediately replace them by automating these functions. For instance, at one time we did our price checks manually which took hours to perform. Then our programmer created a program that cost just a few dollars, and it now allows us to perform the same function in only a few minutes. Since that time, we have automated all of our savings systems, because we now see the disadvantage we were putting ourselves in by doing this important work manually. I hope you will, too!
- Delegate Your Savings Responsibilities: The value analysis programs we install for our clients all use our Team-Based Project Management™ model which delegates the savings responsibilities between ten project managers per team. We are able then to expand a supply chain department’s staffing by 2x, 3x, or even 10x without hiring even one new employee to save money.
- Employ Your Vendors as Resources: We regularly recommend to our clients that they employ their vendors/manufactures to perform savings studies on I.V. sets, oxisensors, dressings, trays, etc. It is rare that a vendor or manufacturer doesn’t have experts on staff to do this work. More importantly, our clients have found that the quality of their reports are quite valuable.
- Tap into Another Department’s Staffing: As a supply chain manager and a consultant I had department heads, managers, and their employees perform savings studies (e.g., fill out logs, forms, or track data) in their departments. Not once did I ever hear a complaint since it was in their best interest to do so. Remember this fact the next time you need a study done in a department.
So, as you see, there are opportunities to expand your time, staffing, and resources if you are creative about it. In most situations, these ideas will cost your healthcare organization nothing. Other times, it will cost just a lessor amount of money than what it is costing you now in time and labor.
One last thing: I was never turned down on approvals on these purchase requests, since it was a no brainer for my administrator to approve these small expenditures when he/she considered the upside of saving even more money with the new proposed automated system.