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Five Ways Health Care Supply Chains Can Leverage Technology to Respond to Global Supply Turbulence

May 12, 2020

With the rapid spread of COVID-19, we need to protect our nurses with the proper Personal Protective Equipment. Now more than ever, an effective healthcare supply chain is desperately needed. As the response to the pandemic is beginning to stabilize, the strategic sourcing models shift from managing savings to consistent supply of PPE. Nurses can expect their hospital’s strategic sourcing teams to work tirelessly, assuring adequate supply post-COVID-19.

What Can You Do to be Prepared?

In celebration of National Nurses Day, here are five ways that health care supply chains can leverage technology to diversify their supplier database. These strategies help your team rapidly respond to global supply issues, eliminating the shortage of necessary supplies to keep our nurses safe at all times.

1. Par Level Management Tools

Using smart par level management tools that are either Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) or tare weight enabled assures that your purchasing department has the demand data before the item is off your shelves. RFID tracking allows you to track the movement of high importance items like ventilators and infusion pumps, and their utilization within your facility. This level of transparency ensures you never misplace a critical care item or worry about timely replacement.

2. E-Sourcing or Sourcing Enablement Tools

Allow the Request for Proposal (RFP) process to be streamlined so your team can procure pricing and goods in days rather than weeks. It is essential to give your suppliers an easily accessible way to join your supplier database and participate in your sourcing opportunities. Having more options for your strategic sourcing events helps prevent potential shortages, increases competitiveness, and helps create back-up supply plans in case your initial award decision falls through.

3. Benchmarking

Leveraging e-benchmarking tools like MDBuyline and MedPricer can rapidly increase the speed at which market pricing is determined. This allows sourcing groups to make sure you are not purchasing at an inflated price. Benchmarking properly equips your sourcing team to enter a negotiation on a more level playing field. In an area where suppliers have more cost information than buyers, having this data at the outset is critical.

4. Census Analytics

Utilizing new and emerging technology to assess and predict patient demand and patient census allows health care supply chains to source adequate PPE with accurate inventory and easy-to-access contracts. The predictive power of census analytics tools reduces overhead costs associated with storing and managing abundant excess supply that otherwise could have been avoided.

5. Online Group Purchasing Organization (GPO) Marketplaces

Prevent lengthy negotiations by using websites like Stockd and other online resources to offer at-a-glance pricing on PPE with accurate inventory and easy-to-access contracts. Aside from the reduced time spent on negotiations, the economies of scale unlocked by GPOs mean favorable pricing for member buyers.

These are just a few ways to leverage technology to improve the health and well being of your health care supply chain. We know that economic changes in the market post-COVID-19 will be met with speed through the rapid adoption of digital transformation in essential departments and functions. The organizations which position themselves to leverage technology will be best positioned to weather this market volatility. Amid the last financial crisis, Uber, Lyft, Airbnb, and other such companies emerged to offer new solutions to address new problems. The response by the health care industry over the following quarters will be worth keeping an eye on.

To see if sourcing enablement is right for you, get started now.

If your organization is looking for assistance sourcing PPE, Arkestro is committed to providing sourcing enablement tools and resources to assist.