I don’t think there is a hospital, system, or IDN’s supply chain department that believes that they have all of the time, money, or resources to do everything they want to do to lower their costs and improve their operations. With this in mind, I would like to suggest three ways to expand your department’s time, money, and resources to maximize your return-on-investment:
1. Automation: It shouldn’t be a surprise to you that automating almost everything you are doing in your supply chain business is the foremost way to optimize your supply chain resources while also lowering your costs. Yet, this seems to be the road less traveled by most hospital supply chain departments.
As I see it, the biggest reason for this not happening is that healthcare organizations’ information technology departments are overwhelmed with other pressing tasks. But now there is software that is cheaper, easier to use, and maintenance free, so there should be no reason why a supply chain department isn’t automating all of its labor intense processes. To this end, if you aren’t utilizing software to improve your operations, now is the time to do so.
2. Delegation: Everyone knows that delegation saves time and has a multiplier effect on your healthcare supply chain efforts. Nevertheless, too many supply chain professionals still do most of the work of their value analysis teams. That’s not what teamwork is all about. By definition, teamwork is a collaborative effort with a group of people to achieve a stated goal, not one person doing all or most of the work. Isn’t it time you have your value analysis team(s) share the workload? This is the best way to utilize these resources, not doing their work for them.
3. Prioritization: One of the best ways I have found to quickly sort what’s important from what is less significant is to employ the 80/20 rule (80% of what’s important is in the 20% of things I have in my inbox) to decide what to work on first, second, third, etc. For example, if I am going to work on a savings project, it is always the one with the highest ROI that I work on first, not the one that is the easiest to implement. This way I maximize my firm’s limited time, money, and resources on the most important things first, not squander them on inconsequential projects.
As I stated previously, there is no hospital, system, or IDN’s supply chain department that has unlimited time, money, or resources. Therefore, as supply chain leaders you need to devise strategies and tactics to optimize your human and physical capital to make the most of your resources. It is my hope that these three ideas may be just what you need to help you start utilizing your limited resources in a somewhat different, more effective, and more productive way.
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