December 5

Optimize, Automate, and Outsource: An Incredibly Easy Productivity Method That Can Work for All Healthcare Supply Chain Leaders


We at SVAH believe that we could all gain from better supply chain productivity (i.e., greater output per unit of input). The only question is, “What is the best method to do so for getting even more done with less staff, meeting all our assignments on time and on budget, and increasing the throughput and output of all our supply chain functions?” Well, I just came across a productivity method devised by Art Meisel and Nick Sonnenberg that I would like to share with you. This makes productivity incredibly easy. Let me know if you agree.

First, Optimize: Make Perfect, Effective, or as Functional as Possible

The best way to optimize any process is to document (e.g., value analysis policy and procedures) the process in writing with checklists to ensure compliance. Then, hand over the policy and procedures to a person or group that is not familiar with the protocol to see if they can make it even more perfect, effective, and functional. This one step will improve any process many times over in a short period of time.

Second, Automate: Convert Process to Automatic Operation

Once you have optimized your process, convert it to be an automatic operation. This usually means renting, buying, or developing software (e.g., value analysis software) to automate the process so that it is as programmed as possible.

Third, Outsource What’s Left Over, Obtain Goods or Services from Outside Vendor

If there is any aspect of your process that is left over (e.g., value analysis analytics), after following steps one and two, then consider outsourcing this activity if you don’t have the time, talent, or resources in-house to provide these goods or services.

The New Normal: Doing More with Less

Why I was so impressed with this productivity methodology is because it is so simple. It doesn’t take a PhD to implement this system. Now that the new normal for healthcare organizations is doing more with less, we in the supply chain business need to discover techniques that are going to enable us to continue our innovations with a limited budget. Institutionalizing the Optimize, Automate, and Outsource methodology I just described into your supply chain operations could be the answer to this challenge.


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