Some time ago I came to the realization that a dashboard is vital to the success of any hospital, system, or IDN’s supply chain department. This is because the healthcare supply chain has become too complex to manage on the back of an envelope, inflexible spreadsheets, or ineffective systems. To be in ultimate control of your hospital’s supply chain you will need to capture, analyze, and then display all of your key performance indicators in a dashboard that will then put you in the pilot seat ready to make timely decisions. It’s just that simple!
The only question then is, what performance indicators should be included and which should be excluded in your dashboard? The answer to that question is not too many to make your management job too complicated, but just enough to be meaningful and actionable.
By actionable I mean that if you can’t take action on the data that is being displayed then it is worthless and needs to be eliminated. A good example would be to number the purchase orders processed monthly/annually. Unless this number is tied to buyers (purchase order processed per buyer) then it isn’t relevant or actionable.
On the other hand, tracking your inventory performance is mission critical. Just the other day we noticed that two of our clients’ inventories (operating room and pharmacy) were holding twice as much inventory as their peers. This fact was reported to our client’s materials manager for action. Another area of importance to track is your value analysis team’s attendance since this is a key indicator (among others) of your value analysis teams’ vitality and cohesiveness.
The beauty of a dashboard is that it doesn’t take a lot of time to manage, if you automate all of your metrics to be displayed automatically. All you need to do then is check it once a day or even once a week to make sure that you are still in control of your healthcare supply chain activities. It sure beats worrying about where your next operational challenge is coming from. The information is all right there at your fingertips for you to make decisions to avert a catastrophe.
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