By Blake Rogers, BSN RN, Vizient Senior Consultant, Spend Management Operations
Change is an inevitable part of life, and it often presents opportunities for growth and self-discovery. As a parent, witnessing my daughter transition to a new (and larger) high school is both exciting and nerve wracking. Coincidentally, I find myself starting a new chapter in my life as a supply chain consultant.
Whether it's entering a new school or starting a new career, both journeys require embracing change and adopting fresh ways of looking at the world. As a supply chain consultant, I have stepped into uncharted territory, collaborating with new teams and clients and learning about new industries and challenges. I've learned to adapt to diverse business processes and grasp the nuances of different supply chain ecosystems.
In fact, this role has given me a whole new perspective on some of the biggest challenges facing the healthcare supply chain, as well as how to best approach them as a supply chain consultant to help hospitals navigate those obstacles.
We all know that managing costs is a constant challenge for healthcare organizations, even as — according to the most recent Kaufman Hall National Hospital Flash Report — 2023 expenses have been offset by increased revenue.
Consultants can help hospitals identify cost-savings opportunities by conducting cost analyses, benchmarking against industry standards and implementing cost-reduction strategies. This may include negotiating better pricing with suppliers, optimizing procurement processes, and implementing standardization and utilization opportunities across the supply chain.
The healthcare industry has been slow to adopt technology compared to other sectors. Some hospitals still rely on manual processes and outdated systems, which can hinder efficiency. Consultants can help drive technology adoption by doing assessments, recommending suitable software solutions, and overseeing the implementation process. This can lead to automation of tasks and improve data visibility.
Inventory management solutions
This has been one of the biggest challenges for the supply chain. Hospitals often struggle with having enough inventory to meet demand and minimizing excess inventory that can lead to waste and increased costs. Consultants can approach this through a thorough assessment of the hospital's current inventory management practice and identifying areas for improvement. This may include implementing a materials management information system (MMIS), optimizing reorder points and quantities, and streamlining procurement processes.
To make sure our stakeholders are successful, consultants can approach these challenges by:
- Understanding the specific needs and challenges of the hospital or healthcare system.
- Collaborating closely with key stakeholders, including supply chain leaders, procurement teams, value analysis teams and clinical staff.
- Conducting thorough data analyses and utilizing industry best practices to identify opportunities for cost savings and improvement.
- Developing solutions that align with the hospital's strategic goals and objectives.
By addressing these obstacles and following a structured approach, consultants can help hospitals overcome supply chain challenges, improve operational efficiency and enhance patient care outcomes.
About the author
Blake Rogers, BSN RN, is a senior consultant at Vizient. He has more than 27 years of experience in the healthcare industry including in clinical settings, value analysis and materials management. Rogers' areas of expertise include value analysis program development and standardization. He earned a bachelor's degree in nursing from the University of Arkansas at Monticello.