Austin Company Manages Over $280M In Healthcare Product
[AUSTIN, TX, August 12—] Every humble startup dreams of taking its offerings nationwide, going from serving one customer to becoming a multimillion-dollar business. In just a few years, Z5 Inventory has actually done it.
Founded in 2014, Z5 Inventory had a clear plan to revolutionize the way hospitals counted their physical inventory: a mobile application that makes the valuation process easier and faster.
“Most hospitals were still using paper count sheets to do their inventories. You’d have to flip through dozens of pages to find the item you were counting. It would take forever,” said Shane Pratt, SVP of Customer Experience for Z5. “Too many hospitals are still doing it that way.”
The idea quickly took hold, and healthcare providers – first across Texas, then across the nation – signed on to use Z5’s services in the next few years. But recording healthcare supply data was only a piece of the puzzle. Analysis of that data revealed a key factor affecting these hospitals’ bottom lines.
“We realized that healthcare systems were wasting millions in expired inventory. Products that they had already paid for were being thrown away,” explained Carl Natenstedt, CEO and Co-Founder of Z5 Inventory. “So we thought: what can we do to help them turn that loss into savings?”
Developing a proprietary method of identifying product likely to expire before use, Z5 Inventory shifted its focus toward the reallocation of at-risk product. Since 2016 the company has saved its existing customers – and new ones like the largest for-profit hospital operator in the country – millions of dollars by moving, selling, and donating excess product before expiration.
As of mid-2018, Z5 Inventory is in 162 hospitals, overseeing more than $280 million in inventory. The company anticipates a 30% growth in hospitals by the end of the year, and there’s nothing to indicate the growth is stopping there. A new pillar of the Z5 Inventory Platform is buying unwanted inventory from healthcare systems, then offering it to other providers based on needs already identified in the physical inventory count.
“I remember the early days of having to wait for the chance to shock hospitals with how much we could save them,” Mr. Natenstedt said. “And even though now we’ve had a lot of those conversations with a lot of hospitals – enough that this year we moved into a bigger office and doubled our staff – the feeling is still the same. We still want to shock people with savings.”