supply chain management

spacetraxThe importance of supply chain inventory control is well documented.  According to Gartner Research, healthcare organizations can reduce the 40-45% operating costs attributed to supply chain by as much as 5-15% if they better analyze, plan and control the purchase and use of goods and services.  In today’s competiti

Clinical inventory management in procedural areas is a complex and time-consuming responsibility.  It always amazes me—and our customers—the large gap in perceived inventory value to actual inventory value.  We’re talking a difference of hundreds of thousands of dollars!  Recently, I was talking to a customer who thought they had $1.8MM across four departments.  After the initial audit, with all inventory data a

We’re all familiar with TV shows that document people who collect and keep things that they don’t use, and may never need. What if a TV crew turned up to film the vast range of inventory kept at the typical hospital? From my experience, they would have another hit show on their hands! Healthcare facilities are often overwhelmed with equipment and supplies because they do not have the processes in place to review and monitor equipment. Items are kept around “just in case” they might be needed sometime.

I recently came across a blog posting about the challenge of sustaining lean initiatives in hospitals. There are many comments posted as to why these initiatives are not successful, but in my experience it boils down to the training style, and the need to involve many different levels of employees. It can’t just be a management decision, and can easily fail at the grassroots (front line workers) level without the active involvement of middle level management.

In a recent project that I consulted on in a surgery department, we used the following lean tools to accomplish some significant changes.  The first two weeks of this project were observation and spending time with the people who do the work.  We went right to the gemba, which in lean methodology means the actual location of work, and as a result the improvements in this particular department were outstanding!

The value of efficient storage is something that hospitals don’t always consider.  Often times the budget available for initial acquisition drives the storage decision, and departments are left with sub-standard storage.