5 ASC supply chain tips to know


Here are five supply chain tips experts shared with Becker's ASC Review that were featured this month:

1. Know risk areas in inventory management:

The shift to value-based care poses both risks and new opportunities for ASCs in inventory management, according to Johnson & Johnson Health Care Systems' Ruben Taborda, senior director of supply chain customer solutions.

"As the shift to value-based care continues, there is an increased focus on value, from clinical outcomes and experience throughout the patient journey pre- and postsurgery, to efficient supply management. These elements are even more important in the context of outpatient surgery. A key opportunity related to inventory management is vulnerability in inventory and supply-ordering protocols, specifically an aversion to investments in advanced [enterprise resource planning] systems and a reliance on one central staff member for inventory and supply orders.

2. Routinely monitor metrics:

Keeping an eye on performance metrics can help ASCs increase supply chain efficiency, said Molly Ehrlich, Vizient's consulting director of advisory solutions for supply chain operations.

"Routine metrics should cover financial and operational effectiveness, but it is also important to include metrics that can lead to opportunities for improvement and innovation initiatives. For example, include measures that would show if freight was reduced when orders were placed every Monday and Thursday versus randomly,"

3. Coordinate with clinicians, sales reps

In light of supply chain shortages, ASCs should plan for the worst by communicating with supply sales representatives, according to Cheryl Poplaski, Vizient's senior director of supply chain operations.

"Ensure that you are speaking with your manufacturer sales reps and distributors as well as clinicians. Sales reps may be able to provide stock, make suggestions on comparable products, provide details on differences and assist with clinical questions."

4. Lean on your distributor:

Chris Childers, Cardinal Health's national sales director of strategic accounts, weighed in on best supply chain practices for ASCs.

"ASCs or surgical hospitals should expect their distributor to be able to help them achieve operational excellence through in-depth assessments of their supply chain and clinical operations. At Cardinal Health, these assessments help customers improve first-time fill rates, remove excess or expired inventory and find solutions to the space constraints in ambulatory facilities."

5. Use data to cut waste:

ASCs can use technology to improve supply chain operations, according to Garry Cooper, PhD, CEO and co-founder of asset management company Rheaply.

"By and large, there still needs to [be a] better way to connect new technology to everyday ASC processes and turn this data into an opportunity to reduce waste and unnecessary expenses in ASCs. From a resource procurement perspective, manufacturers have to know what they have and what's needed at all times, [as well as] when it's going to expire, and then use that information to be able to make informed decisions about purchasing equipment or exchanging surplus equipment.

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