Have a question about supply chain management or how AFFLINK does business? You’ve come to the right place! We have the answers you’ve been looking for and industry-specific tips below.
Healthcare FAQs
What are HAIs?
Healthcare Associated Infections are infections that patients develop during the course of receiving healthcare treatment for other conditions. They can happen following treatment in healthcare facilities including hospitals as well as outpatient surgery centers, dialysis centers, long-term care facilities such as nursing homes, rehabilitation centers, and community clinics. They can also occur during the course of treatment at home. They can be caused by a wide variety of common and unusual bacteria, fungi, and viruses.
What are HACs?
The Hospital-acquired conditions (HAC) measures are calculations of how often a particular preventable event occurs at a given hospital among certain Medicare beneficiaries. CMS currently measures HACs considered to be rare or entirely avoidable events. The data only include patients who acquired the condition during their hospital stay; patients who arrived at the hospital with any of these conditions are not included. By law, hospitals cannot receive additional payment from Medicare or charge Medicare patients for treating these conditions.
What are HCAHPS?
HCAHPS stands for Hospital Consumer Assessment of Health Plans Survey. The intent of the HCAHPS initiative is to provide a standardized survey instrument and data collection methodology for measuring patients' perspectives on hospital care. While many hospitals have collected information on patient satisfaction, prior to HCAHPS there was no national standard for collecting or publicly reporting patients' perspectives of care information that would enable valid comparisons to be made across all hospitals. In order to make "apples to apples" comparisons to support consumer choice, it was necessary to introduce a standard measurement approach: the HCAHPS survey, which is also known as the CAHPS® Hospital Survey, or Hospital CAHPS. HCAHPS is a core set of questions that can be combined with a broader, customized set of hospital-specific items. HCAHPS survey items complement the data hospitals currently collect to support improvements in internal customer services and quality related activities.
What is Hospital Value-Based Purchasing?

Congress authorized inpatient Hospital Value-Based Purchasing (HVBP) in Section 3001(a) of the Affordable Care Act. The program uses the hospital quality data reporting infrastructure developed for the Hospital Inpatient Quality Reporting (IQR) Program, which was authorized by Section 501(b) of the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act of 2003.

Hospital VBP is part of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ (CMS’) long-standing effort to link Medicare’s payment system to improve healthcare quality, including the quality of care provided in the inpatient hospital setting.

What is CMS?
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) develops Conditions of Participation (CoPs) and Conditions for Coverage (CfCs) that health care organizations must meet in order to begin and continue participating in the Medicare and Medicaid programs. CoP and CfC are the minimum health and safety standards that providers and suppliers must meet in order to be Medicare and Medicaid certified and receive reimbursement.
Hospitality FAQs
What is ServSafe?
ServSafe is a nationally recognized food safety certification training program developed by the National Restaurant Association. Designed for foodservice managers, it educates participants on food hazards and appropriate food handling practices.
What is ConServe?
ConServe is a driver of restaurant industry-focused, environmentally friendly conservation practices. The program primarily addresses four core areas of conservation: energy efficiency, water conservation, building and construction, and waste reduction and resource management. It has become the restaurant industry’s location for conservation solutions.
How are packaging restrictions affecting the foodservice industry?
A growing number of cities are considering bans or restrictions on foodservice packaging. Many of the bans target polystyrene food and beverage containers. The National Restaurant Association, its members and packaging suppliers are currently seeking ways to lower the cost of sustainable packaging and reducing the amount of packing in our landfills without costly and complex mandates.
What are the minimum guidelines for ‘Going Green’ within the Hospitality Industry?

Provided by the American Hotel and Lodging Association, a list of actions properties should take to embark on becoming eco-friendly are:

  • Form an Environmental Committee that is responsible for developing an Environmental Green Plan
  • Manage your hotel’s environmental performance by monitoring the electric, gas, water and waste usage information on a monthly and annual basis
  • Replace incandescent lamps in guestrooms
  • Install digital thermostats in guestrooms
  • Implement a towel and/or linen reuse program
  • Install 2.5-gallons per minute showerheads or less in guestroom baths and employee showers
  • Install 1.6-gallon toilets in guestrooms
  • Implement a recycling program – including public spaces
  • Implement a recycling program for hazardous materials
  • Purchase Energy Star labeled appliances and equipment
  • All office paper products should have 20% or more post-consumer recycled content
What are best practices for hotel cleanliness?
As the third-largest industry in the United States, the hospitality community provides accommodations for more than 3 million guests a night and makes the goal of providing clean, comfortable environment for these guests must be of upmost importance. The AH&LA provides an Educational Institute offering information and products for hoteliers to assist in creating their own policies to abide by the national standards and state and local laws.
What is the Food and Drug Administration’s Food Code?
The FDA will release a new Food Code for 2013. The code, updated every four years, is the model most states use to regulate safety and sanitation in restaurants.
Industrial FAQs
What is lean manufacturing?
Lean manufacturing is a more recent and widely-used concept that implores several tactics that exist to eliminate materials and/or processes that do not add value to an end-product or assist the product in reaching a certain level of quality.
What is SixSigma?
Six Sigma is a fact, data and philosophy based concept that centers around quality improvement and defect prevention over defect detection by training employees in “statistical thinking”, advanced statistics, and project management. Six Sigma also focuses on the DMAIC approach—define, measure, analyze, improve and control. By reducing variation and waste, it has been found that we can drive customer satisfaction and bottom-line results. As found by ASQ, “Six Sigma quality performance means no more than 3.4 defects per million opportunities”.
What is sustainable packaging?
Sustainable packaging is a fairly new concept that aligns with the increased global green efforts of society. Packaging that is sustainable must meet certain requirements that guarantee a safe and healthy life cycle for individuals and communities. Sustainable packaging components are sourced, manufactured, transported and recycled using renewable energy. They are made from highly-green content, are physically designed to optimize materials and energy, as well as manufactured using clean production technologies while utilizing best practices.
What are the different categories within packaging solutions?
Packaging solutions consist of boxes, packaging, carton closure, shrink wrap, stretch wrap, shipping supplies and strapping.
What does the Industrial segment consist of?
The Industrial segment spans across packaging, safety, MRO and industrial supplies.
What are integrated packaging solutions?
Integrated, or customized, packaging solutions cover your packaging needs from the box to the cushioning/filament, carton closure method, and the wrapping of the package to the appropriate components needed to ship the package. From boxes to bubble wrap, foam wrap, tape, and labels, integrated packaging solutions truly assess your packaging bundle needs from inside to outside the box.
Commercial FAQs
What is total cost of ownership (TCO)?
Total Cost of Ownership, in it’s most simple terms, is a financial estimate to help buyers analyze the direct and indirect costs of a product or service.  In terms of Supply Chain, the TCO may include costs associated with the following procurement activities: product price, purchase order generation, receiving, holding inventory and payment of invoices.  While TCO is primarily thought of as a tool used when making large capital investments, evaluating your total supply chain can uncover significant savings opportunities.  At AFFLINK we understand the importance of controlling supply chain costs and reducing your TCO.  Using our proprietary ELEVATE tool, our team of professionals can work with you to evaluate your Product, Process and Supply Chain activities that have a direct impact on your operation.
What is the Value of Clean?
Developed by ISSA, the  Value of Clean is a tool that looks beyond clean as mere appearance of a facility to show how investments in proper cleaning and maintenance impact human health, environmental health and an improved bottom line.  ISSA recognized that facility managers and owners often do not recognize the full value potential that cleaning offers so ISSA developed a calculator to demonstrate real, hard costs associated with properly maintaining a facility.  AFFLINK’s sales professionals are equipped to help you and your team maintain a clean, well maintained facility that will deliver positive results to your bottom line.
What is BOMA 360?
The BOMA 360 Performance Program, developed and administered by the Building Managers and Owners Association (BOMA), is a “distinguished designation to indicate a building is operating at the highest standards of excellence”.  BOMA 360 offers a tool that property professionals can use to demonstrate to owners, tenants and prospective tenants that their buildings perform at the highest levels in all major areas of building operations and management.  AFFLINK is proud to partner with BOMA in this initiative by becoming a BOMA 360 Ambassador.  To learn more go to www.boma.org.
How can eCommerce help me reduce costs?
eCommerce can impact the costs associated with procuring products in several ways.  The total cost to generate a purchase order can vary depending on order size, order complexity and cost of labor, but industry experts estimate the average cost associated with generating a purchase order at $25.  eCommerce reduces the potential for human error, is scalable to handle small or large numbers of transactions and reduces total labor associated with the procurement function.  AFFLINK’s ShopFront platform is an industry leading eCommerce solution that can meet the needs of your TOTAL procurement needs.
What is Day Cleaning?
Instead of the traditional cleaning processes where cleaning activities are carried out during off hours when the facility is closed, day cleaning is a process where cleaning activities are carried out during regular working hours and employees are present.  The benefits associated with day cleaning are many, but the most obvious are: 1.  reduced costs associated with operating the facility after hours just for the cleaning staff, 2) increased cleaning effectiveness when cleaning is observed by everyone in the facility and 3) enhance your sustainability initiatives through reduction of energy consumption and the utilization of environmentally safe chemicals and cleaning tools.  AFFLINK, through our Sustainable Choices program, can guide your facility through the process of “greening” your cleaning process.

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