One of the key performance indicators that should be monitored with any and all hospital supply chain initiatives is the importance of project cycle time, or the total time from the beginning to the end of your project.
To avoid excess project cycle time, here are three things you can do to execute your hospital supply chain projects more efficiently:
1. Establish Ground Rules: One of the most important ground rules that you can establish is that you must have a time limit on your projects or they will meander on endlessly. We recommend a 30-day, 60-day, or 90-day timeline that is doable and manageable for most projects. If the project isn’t accomplished within its allotted time, then it should be audited to determine why it wasn’t completed on time. Only after your audit and suggested new guidelines should you establish a new timeline for completion, or the project could continue indefinitely.
2. Clearly Define Your Project’s Scope: Project teams work more effectively when they know the starting point, middle point, and end point for their projects. Too often, we see project managers take detours, wrong turns, or even inappropriate paths in trying to complete their projects. I remember one project manager we worked with who spent weeks visiting other hospitals’ laboratory departments to gain information for her project when this was clearly out of the scope of her project. So clearly define your project’s scope and latitudes before you send your project teams off to save money, improve quality, or solve a problem.
3. Choose the Right People: It’s been our experience that the most important factor in the selection of your core project team membership (the people who get things done on time and on budget) is that they must be “agents of change.” They then can seek out customers, stakeholders, and experts to fill in their ranks who have the necessary knowledge and expertise to allow them to successfully complete their assigned task. This might seem like a strange or foreign team structure to you, but we have found over the years that heterogeneous vs. homogenous project teams work best to make lasting change happen.
These are just three important ideas to speed up your hospital supply chain project cycle time so your projects aren’t droning on forever. I know it is a big irritation when our projects never seem to end, and I’m sure it is on your top 10 list of reasons why things aren’t getting done. But as we have suggested, it doesn’t need to be that way any longer!
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