It’s no surprise that technology advances continue to help us reduce costs and meet customer demand in every industry that has a supply chain. Healthcare is no different and those reading for sure have more technical supply chain insight than I do. But I do have a great deal of experience with helping to lead a large complex health system as it moved towards more complex integration across geographies and within the delivery of healthcare itself.
Many of our organizations have critical issues that demand materials, but few will be more fervent about having enough supplies than the nurse in an operating room, hospital ward or emergency department. They know at any time often unannounced a list of thousands of types of patients could show up and someone will ask them for a piece of equipment, a medication or supporting materials. A very famous activity in hospitals is the Olympic level art of hoarding and storing these “just in time items” that they fear will not make it to them just in time. Tons of material gets stored in ceilings, false drawers, personal lockers or anywhere they can to make sure that at no point will they ever miss a chance to take care of the patient or increase their chances of being criticized for not having what’s needed. Our ability to track supplies with bar codes and equipment with RFI all connected to an intra-net markedly enhanced the ability to improve efficiency and decrease the angst around potential “shortages”.