4 Best Practices for a Healthcare Supply Chain

April 18th 2023 11:00:00 AM



Most hospitals and clinics operate on very tight budgets, meaning that healthcare supply chain management is critical to keeping them working cost-effectively. Many medical facilities must undertake cost-cutting measures to keep their budgets balanced.

Best Practices for Healthcare Supply Chain

pills being manufactured showing part of the healthcare supply chain

Implementing these best practices for a healthcare supply chain in your medical organization may result in significant savings and increase your profit margin.

1. Make Inventory Optimization a Priority

Your health facility loses revenue if time-sensitive supplies expire and can’t be used. Whenever an item is discarded, it takes a bite of your profit margins. For this reason, you’ll want to keep the number of expiring items on your shelves to an absolute minimum.

  • Eliminate Excess Ordering

One way to reduce the likelihood of discarded products is to get a grip on the initially ordered numbers. Investing in an inventory system will help you track the supply chain on several levels. The right system will allow you to track orders and all the details relating to each order.

  • Prioritize Patient Safety

Making inventory a priority means you are taking patients’ safety seriously. It also helps to ensure that all necessary medical supplies are available when needed.

2. Develop a Strategic Approach to Sourcing

What do we mean by a strategic approach to sourcing? Consider the following:

  • Collect Information About Pricing, Service Agreements, etc.

Your facility may have dealt with one supplier for years for a particular product. Unfortunately, this doesn’t mean this company can give you the best price or terms. Do some research to find out where you can get the best deals.

Which company can give you the best up-front pricing, deals on shipping and financing? Can one company give you better rates for bulk orders? Which one has the best service for rush orders?

  • Develop Relationships with Multiple Suppliers

Instead of settling on one supplier for your inventory needs, developing relationships with more than one supplier makes more sense. Have one supplier you can count on to ship supplies to you when your regular supplier is out of stock on necessary items or you need to replenish your inventory on a “rush” basis.

Ideally, you’ll want to deal with suppliers producing items locally or manufacturing facilities in several locations. It will minimize the likelihood of healthcare supply chain disruptions.

3. Start Capturing Your Purchasing and Inventory Data Electronically

An effective best practice for a healthcare supply chain is to look at your purchasing controls and policies. It includes your order authorization process.

  • ERP for Ordering and Inventory

Ordering can be automated easily, and an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system can generate purchase orders. Your team can scan barcodes on your inventory using barcode scanners, a faster and more efficient way to input inventory data into your system.

Inputting your inventory electronically also eliminates the errors that occur when humans attempt to count the stock using the paper-and-pencil method. When a data entry operator manually inputs the data into your system, there is always the chance of error. Bar code scanning uploads the data into your system in real time virtually error-free, and the updates are immediately available to management. 

  • Track Supply Dispensing

In a medical environment, keeping track of medications being dispensed to patients is crucial. Using barcodes, staff can scan them when removing them from storage and when given to patients.

Other supplies not in inventory being ordered for the facility can be tracked for list and budgeting purposes using specialized software. These would fall into the items used by the administrative and janitorial staff. They would, rightly, be taken aback if they had to scan a barcode every time they had to access a pad of paper and a pen or a container of all-purpose cleaner. 

4. Automate Your Inventory Ordering System

If there are certain products your organization orders regularly, set up your system to restock them automatically when the inventory reaches a certain level. This policy helps to eliminate out-of-stocks. 

Managers observe the demand patterns and consumption rates within your facility. They must also work closely with suppliers to understand their capacity to fill orders at any time.

Orders that are sent out electronically automatically look professional. They indicate that your facility takes its ordering and healthcare supply chain seriously.

Scanco Offers Inventory and Tracking Solutions for Healthcare Clients

Scanco gives your team the same range of tools it needs to track inventory and ensure nothing being delivered to your facility escapes being scanned and followed when it is put away. When medications are moved or selected for patient use, they are checked, and the information is changed in your computer system in real time. 

Items categorized in a different manner that doesn’t need to be subject to this level of security can be scanned when they are moved to your warehouse so you can track their location all the time. With Scanco’s Sage 100 Warehouse Automation line, you get a completely customized solution that will suit your needs. 

Would you like to be able to track anything and customize the fields your way? Look no further than Scanco OPS for Sage Intacct. This operations tracking and automation tool gives you complete flexibility to track inventory, suppliers, the number of supplies used, or anything else you want to monitor. This option seamlessly integrates with Sage Intacct, eliminating the need to enter data more than once. Your data is available to you immediately.

Would you like to learn more about Sage 100 Warehouse Automation and OPS for Sage Intacct? Contact us online or call (330) 645-9959 to make an appointment with a Scanco Solutions Expert today.

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