When it comes to healthcare and hospital supply chain management, there are many opportunities to save money, but it can be complex. Hospital supply chains tend to be large and unwieldy networks, many of which have been in place for a long time. Conducting a thorough audit and finding a solid supply chain specialist is essential to the process, as is cutting links and intermediaries and working with a direct supplier.
Conduct a Hospital Supply Chain Audit
Begin by auditing your existing hospital supply chain management processes. Identify who is responsible for the ordering of specific products, whether everything is going through a central location, and how inventory is being managed. Which vendors are being used for supplies? Can they be consolidated? Which products are going through agents? The first step towards optimizing any process is always to identify the people and processes that are involved.
If the supply chain is scattered, it can't be effective. Many healthcare supply chains grow organically over time, which can result in different people becoming responsible for managing procurement without a streamlined workflow. This is never a good solution because no singular person is in control of all procurement: instead, many people may be reporting to a single person, and not optimizing the cost or efficiency of their strategies.
Take a Look at Your Supply Chain Waste
There may be supplies that aren't really necessary, and this an immediate way to consolidate vendors in your supply chain. Take a look at the supplies and equipment that could actually be redundant or products and equipment that will most likely be wasted rather than consistently used. This will tell you clearly pinpoint redundancy in your procurement processes.
Go Direct to Cut Links and Intermediaries
Communicate directly with manufacturers and work with a procurement specialist to cut links and intermediaries. If your hospital has already forged relationships with vendors, it's likely that there are middlemen and intermediaries that are preventing you from getting the best prices. Every layer that you add to your procurement processes is going to add unnecessary costs.
Every hospital should continually work to cut links in its supply chain. You may need to reforge your contacts and find new contacts. A procurement specialist or a procurement solution can help you find the same products at lower costs or even better products for your money. In order to cut links, you also often need to create additional links, which is something that an expert can help you with.
Consider a Logistics Solution
A logistics solution will help you streamline your supply chain, identify areas for improvement, and improve transportation. If you have a hospital network that you manage procurement for, it's possible that different vendors in different locations could be able to fulfill your needs better, and you may be able to create a network that is better optimized and more effective. Logistics solutions like ELEVATE Marketplace connect you immediately to a streamlined logistics network.
Navigate Healthcare System Consolidation
Many healthcare systems are consolidating, and supply chains need to consolidate too. Healthcare systems may need to merge disparate supply chains together, creating a single, well-optimized solution. To navigate this consolidation you can work with an expert procurement specialist who will audit your pain points to determine the most direct solutions for your facilities, no matter where they are and how they’re connected.
Are you ready to streamline and improve your hospital supply chain? Consult a GPO like AFFLINK to troubleshoot your existing procurement processes.
About Michael Wilson
Michael Wilson is AFFLINK'S Vice President of Marketing and Communications. He has been with the organization since 2005 and provides strategic leadership for the entire supply chain team. In his free time, Michael enjoys working with the Wounded Warrior Project, fishing, and improving his cooking skills.