Supply chain leaders are being challenged in many new ways by the coronavirus pandemic we are now experiencing. Yet, at the same time, we as professionals we need to keep our eye on our labor and non-labor cost controls if our healthcare organization is to come out of this wind tunnel unscathed. Here are five cost control ideas to help you weather this perfect storm:
1. Assess and Then Reallocate Your Cost Management Staff’s Focus, Time, and Duties: Now is the time to assess what your cost management staff are doing and then reassign them to more productive duties. For example, we are seeing value analysis coordinators being reassigned to Coronavirus Communication Coordinators in this crisis, since most of their VA duties are at a standstill. This is a better option than having your hospital, system, or IDN’s management mandate that you do so.
2. Make Sure Everyone is Interpreting the CDC’s Guidelines Properly: I remember that during the 2009 H1N1 pandemic hospitals misinterpreted the CDC’s guidelines and bought and used more PPE than required. Don’t make this same mistake. Take the time to actually read the CDC guidelines yourself to make sure the CDC’s directives are met and not exceeded in this crisis to conserve your PPE supplies.
3. Suspend All New Product, Service, and Technology Requests: This seems like common sense, but some clinicians in your healthcare organization might think they need something new to fight this pandemic. Unless they can prove it will save lives, I would recommend that you don’t buy anything new until the dust settles to conserve your cash.
4. Monitor the Utilization of Your PPE and Other Supplies Closely: Cost control should be the supply chain mantra before, during, and after the coronavirus pandemic has abated. This is because your hospital, system, or IDN’s revenue will be diminished for months to come even after the crisis has passed. Don’t make this situation worse by allowing your department heads and managers to think that cost controls have been abandoned during this calamity.
5. Create an After-Action Supply Chain Cost Management Plan Now: Don’t wait until this pandemic is over to develop a supply chain cost management plan to double-down on your supply chain savings this year. Every dollar saved after the pandemic will be needed to keep your hospital, system, or IDN afloat. Your senior management will be looking for this plan sooner than you think.
All supply chain departments are being stressed by the demands of this pandemic. That’s why supply chain leaders need strategies, tactics, and techniques to survive it like those I have outlined above. This is how you can conquer the anxiety, pressure, and unease this crisis has brought about.
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