Medical supply shelves need their own elves. But some that are actually there to help out instead of staring at.you all the time like tiny, creepy spies. (If you're not familiar with the Elf On The Shelf, you're doing great. Never change. No, stop opening a new tab to look it up. STOP IT.)
What we'd like to propose isn't a toy that spies on you. It's capable personnel and robust software that support your ongoing efforts to keep your shelves stocked with the medical and surgical supplies that you need. Which does doesn't sound all that festive, so let's say "jolly personnel" and "twinkling software."
Most healthcare supply chain pros would react to this by saying: "I'm doing okay on my own." And you're partially right. You're doing an incredible job with the limited resources that you have. We'd love to answer by saying: "You couldn't possibly do any better even if you had help," but we know fibbing will land us on the Naughty List.
Your Staff Is Great
We've worked in dozens of healthcare facilities in hundreds of inventory projects with thousands of healthcare supply chain professionals. We can authoritatively say that no one in the medical supply chain is incompetent. Really.
You're not bad at your job, and the people who work with you and for you aren't, either.
Providing healthcare is unbelievably difficult. Running an efficient and consistent supply chain is nearly impossible. Each takes a tremendous toll on the people who do it professionally. Try to do both, and you are just asking for burnout. Maybe you're used to the weight of the world on your shoulders, but we can guarantee that, as soon as someone comes to help you hold it up, you'll notice how heavy it's been all along.
That's why we offer the full range of staffing options with our inventory management software - from just the software to a full staff to take over all the inventory duties - because everybody could use a little extra help. You already know this, because you put an extra set of eyes on your data every time you audit.
You recognize that your staff makes mistakes. Not because they're not working hard enough, but because they're working too hard (and because everybody makes mistakes). Audits are and should be integral to regular inventory management practices, especially year-end valuations.
Do you think audits are enough, though?
Audits Are Great (But)
Have you ever worked with an IT person who tells you that the issue you're facing with your technology is "human error?" We don't hire those people, because they're annoying, but we do have to admit that they're right when it comes to inventory data entry.
If the supply chain pro or clinician who counts all the products on a shelf misses something, the supply chain or finance pro who audits that count is pretty likely to miss the same thing. Both of them are seeing - or not seeing - the same thing. Especially if the department staff escorting the auditor to different counting areas is the person who counted those areas in the first place.
So how do you combat human error? By using a technology that catches errors as soon as they're made and prevents others from ever becoming a problem in the first place. Z5 Inventory's award-winning app automatically flags suspicious inventory valuations, provides suggestions to help you identify products correctly, and includes product images and other ways to tag your inventory data to reconcile the count data before your final valuation is due.
We've seen it help hospitals time and again. It helps Baylor Scott & White reach a system-wide valuation in a single day. But we also know that it's not enough to check for mistakes that you've made already. You need to look ahead to prevent yourself from making mistakes that will cost you even more.
Proactivity Is Key
Let's use the technology that's available now to predict what will happen in the future.
Predictive analytics is a phrase that a lot of people are currently cautious about. And they should be. On the one hand, the technique is badly understood, and on the other hand, lots of supposed solution providers are taking advantage of that lack of understanding by saying that they offer AI when they don't.
The simplest version of predictive analytics is using the data from your past activity (ordering, stocking, usage statistics, etc.) to make informed guesses about what your future activity will look like. As anyone who thinks they know about the supply chain will now tell you: there's no telling what the future will hold. So a good analysis leaves enough to see you through unexpected supply chain disruption or a massive spike in demand.
Z5 Inventory does both with expiration risk assessments. We tell you exactly what supplies are likely to expire before use, as well as what exactly how much you ought to move off the shelves to achieve savings VS leave on the shelves to stay safe just in case.
If you're looking to supplement what your staff and software can do, put some time into researching what your solution provider is really able to provide. Have their analytics provided any provable results? How long have they offered AI-backed analytics? How long have they been in business?
And, most importantly, will the solution provider let you test drive their solution?
We're currently offering an expiration risk analysis to any healthcare provider who wants one. That's the proven solution that helped Steward Health Care save more than $16 Million by preventing medical supply expiration. And we're giving it away. Totally free. No strings attached.
We'll identify every piece of inventory that's likely to expire - down to the shelf - and you can use that information to get ahead on your 2022 savings today.
And if you want some help moving, selling, and donating those medical supplies to meet your expiration avoidance goals, we can help there, too.
Because it's never a bad idea to have an extra set of eyes on what you're doing. As long as it's not in a creepy way.