Way back when the life of a hospital supply chain professional was simple, uncomplicated, and relatively easy, our biggest worry as supply chain managers was customer service. Now, that criterion for success is only one of dozens of supply chain operational areas we need to keep our eyes on. The times are changing, and we must change with them!
Hospital Supply Chain Professionals Must Change With The Times
Over the last 20 years, for supply chain professionals to be successful, they must have hundreds of metrics at their fingertips to measure their department’s efficiency and effectiveness, since there is little margin for error in this fast-paced business we find ourselves in. Meaning, we can’t depend on old and worn-out systems of the past to keep us informed in real time what is happening in our healthcare supply chain world.
The term for this information/knowledge gathering process is called SUPPLY BUSINESS INTELLIGENCE (SBI) or the identifying, extracting, and analyzing of supply chain data to help us make better decisions. Its goal is to provide us with historical, current, and predictive views of our supply chain operations for the purpose of reporting, analytics, data mining, and benchmarking.
SBI has, at its foundation, the use of technology to focus on what your peers are doing to improve their supply chain operations. For instance, we recently spoke to one of our clients about why their SBI Dashboard was showing that their bathing system cost was twice as high per patient day as their peers’. After some investigation, our client discovered that their nurses were mixing disposable and reusable linens (i.e., towels) to bath their patients, which wasn’t a best practice at their peer hospital. This intelligence led our client to retrain their nurses in the proper protocol for bathing patients to get their costs back in line.
How would you know this was occurring if this was your hospital? The answer is that without SBI, this utilization misalignment would have gone unnoticed for years. That’s why it is a supply chain imperative for hospitals, systems, and IDNs to have visibility (historical, current, and predictive views) together with insight (competitive intelligence) into their supply chain operations. To do less than what is suggested herein is to put your hospital’s supply chain operations at risk of falling behind on timely and critical supply business intelligence (internal and external) on how to maximize and optimize your supply chain business.
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