January 10

Hospital Supply Chain Benchmarking Tours


There is always a better idea and a smarter way to do things in the hospital supply chain world, but you will never know about them if you don’t search them out. An easy way to do so is with “benchmarking tours” or visiting other organizations inside and outside the healthcare industry to search out best practices.

Being consultants for many years, we have had the rare opportunity to visit hundreds of hospitals, systems, and IDNs to observe their best practices and then incorporate them into our training, software, or advisory services.

Schedule Benchmarking Tours to Healthcare and Non-Healthcare Organizations

You can do the same by scheduling quarterly benchmarking tours to healthcare and non-healthcare organizations to absorb new ideas. This allows you to reaffirm that what you have been doing is already best-in-class, or to learn from the best how to do even better.

A good starting point is with your hospital’s own board of directors. They are usually heads of large organizations right in your own backyard that will be happy to give you and your supply chain staff a benchmarking tour.

Our recommended methodology for benchmarking tours is to first meet with your host senior management to receive an overview of their business, and then tour their operations while asking questions about what you are observing. Even take pictures (get permission first) so you won’t forget what you thought was a good idea. Go to lunch (even if you need to pay for it) with key staffers so you can pick their brains on how they do things. Don’t forget to send a thank you letter when you get back home.

Breakthroughs for Your Hospital Supply Chain Department

All of this might seem like busywork for you, but let us assure you that it could be the most important work you do all year. Just think, what would one new breakthrough idea a quarter mean to your supply chain department? Especially since new and better ideas aren’t easy to come by.

Benchmarking tours aren’t a new idea. Companies are taking these tours every day around the world. However, this isn’t happening in the hospital supply chain industry where new ideas are required to meet the challenges we face today. Try it, you will be amazed at the new ideas you will uncover by taking a few days a year to see how others have solved problems that are nagging you every day.     

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