We can’t think of another time in healthcare supply chain management when it is more important for you to ramp up your supply chain/value analysis technology to save even more dollars in less time. Here’s why! We have been observing, over the last few years, that supply chain staffing has been slashed to the bone at most hospitals, systems, and IDNs. Therefore, no longer do supply chain professionals have the luxury of throwing people at a problem, project, or initiative because there are no more abundant staff to do so. Furthermore, your clinical hospital staff is too busy to be part of committees, teams, or workgroups that convene to help your supply chain department save money. In fact, we have heard about clinicians at some hospitals that push back on teamwork of any kind because of their time constraints. This isn’t an anomaly anymore, but a reality for the future of supply chain management!
This Doesn’t Mean the Savings Game is Over
However, this doesn’t mean the savings game is over at your hospital, system, or IDN! More than ever, your healthcare organization needs to save more money just to keep your healthcare operations afloat. As you might know, with every crisis there arises corresponding opportunities. We are talking about an opportunity for you to reinvent your supply chain expense management by ramping up your technology. This would be in order to pick up the slack in your savings from a lack of supply chain and value analysis staff and continued cooperation from your clinical staff. Unfortunately, if you think your materials management information systems or enterprise resource planning systems will lead you to new expense savings, think again. They were built as transactional systems, not analytical systems to help you identify those hidden savings in your healthcare organization. We came to this conclusion many years ago when we decided to build analytics tools to help our clients uncover waste and inefficiencies in their supply streams, since their MMIS or ERP systems couldn’t slice and dice their data to identify actionable savings opportunities for them. Best of all, with the newest technology our clients didn’t require additional staff to employ these new analytical tools nor did they, in many situations, even assign a value analysis team to implement the savings once they were uncovered. Yes, from time to time they needed to convene an ad-hoc value analysis team to ferret out their savings, but this was a lot different than having a value analysis team or teams meet bi-weekly or monthly – forever.
A New Day is Dawning for Supply Chain/Value Analysis Professionals
A new day is dawning for supply chain/value analysis professionals in supply chain expense management circles where resources will be scarce and teamwork will be limited. This means you will need to rethink everything you have been doing to save money. That’s why ramping up your technology in every phase of supply chain management is mission critical to your department’s very existence. This is how the airline industry has survived over the years when their revenues have shrunk or their fuel and labor costs have risen. They have automated everything that could be computerized with the latest technologies that don’t require an inordinate amount of staff to keep them flying. In your next year’s budget request, you too might want to use this airline analogy when you ask for new technology yourself to keep your supply chain department up and flying.