It’s no secret that supply chain operations have been unpredictable and challenging over the past few years. With one-third of hospitals’ total operating costs being spent in the supply chain, massive savings can be secured by harnessing innovative solutions and strategies. Healthcare organizations can achieve optimal success by leveraging data analytics to streamline logistics, gain visibility, shorten delivery time and reduce costs associated with multiple touchpoints. Here are a few ways hospital supply chain management can make the most of data and lean on strategic partners to reach their goals.
Gain visibility to boost efficiency
Accessing and leveraging data analytics is critical for both sourcing and managing material flow within the supply chain. Leveraging data analytics in terms of patient care provides exciting future opportunities. Supply chain management has been primarily left in the hands of vendors and presents significant immediate opportunities. The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the vulnerability of not having real-time visibility to supply orders. Shipments went missing, costs escalated and timelines fluctuated due to lack of visibility. Gaining full transparency of what happens from time of order to time of delivery is critical for a streamlined supply chain. Hospitals should leverage data to understand the point-of-use for various supplies. And limiting touchpoints between supplier and point-of-use will streamline the logistics portion of the supply chain to shorten delivery time and reduce costs.
Leverage data to minimize costs
If visibility is the challenge, data is the answer. From tracking numbers and packing lists to inventory and prescription tags, numbers track the flow from order to delivery to storage. The only way to know where millions of packages are at a moment’s notice is to build data systems and track analytics at every turn.
Unfortunately, healthcare shipments are misplaced every day, causing health systems to reorder unneeded product and generate unnecessary expired product. Backup stock could be sitting in a warehouse 15 minutes away, but because no one knows where it is, a new shipment must be overnighted from across the country at a sky-high price. Leveraging order tracking and inventory oversight can be highly cost-effective — and yet this function is too often underutilized by health systems. When hospitals have the ability to analyze data, they are better positioned to optimize their supply chain and answer questions like What are we buying? Where is it going? How many times is it being touched? Where can we minimize costs?
Focus on final-mile delivery
While visibility of the entire supply chain is important for efficiency, health systems and hospitals should also prioritize final-mile delivery. That’s because 50% of total transportation costs lie in simply moving product over the last mile. All too often, product is shipped inefficiently, with vital inventory taking too long to arrive or non-critical items arriving overnight at a steep cost.
Lean on expert partners
Hospitals searching for a logistics partner to gain supply chain visibility should consider the following factors:
- How does the partner manage all modes of logistics — international, pharmacy-cold chain, final-mile home delivery, etc.?
- How does the partner provide support — call center vs. local office and on-site support?
- Does the partner facilitate and actively manage operations or is the burden on the client to manage activity with carriers?
At TRIOSE, we leverage technology and data at every turn to streamline processes, identify opportunities for more efficiencies and highlight potential delays or errors before they occur. Hospitals searching for logistics partners should look for experts that can provide active support and manage carrier activity armed with data to gain visibility, identify opportunities and streamline efficiencies for optimizing supply chains.
Michael Palazzini is responsible for overseeing the TRIOSE field and corporate operations teams as well as implementing strategies that drive increased value to customers through the TRIOSE solution portfolio. Prior to joining TRIOSE, Inc., Palazzini held various executive leadership positions in healthcare, logistics, and supply chain management. Maintaining the TRIOSE reputation for operational excellence and a strong customer focus, Palazzini and his teams are continuously searching for operational improvements and ways to better serve TRIOSE customers.