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How Hospitals Can Benefit From Warehouse Management

Did you know that there are close to 6,100 hospitals in the United States? It's no shock that hospitals are a vital component of America's healthcare system and have been pushed to near breaking point during the recent pandemic.

One of the most significant challenges during this period was receiving supplies. Local and international shortages created more strain and pinpointed the importance of warehouse management.

Warehouse management keeps hospitals up and running. Without an efficient warehouse system, expenses rise, and patient outcomes suffer.

Read our guide to learn more about improving your hospital warehouse management. It covers several ways to implement a better warehouse system and how it can make a long-term difference.

What Is Warehouse Management?

Hospital warehouse management includes ordering, receiving, warehousing products, and delivering. There are several reasons why a hospital warehouse needs an effective management system, such as:

  • Accurately tracking inventory
  • Improving patient care and outcomes
  • Improving staff efficiency
  • Reducing long-term expenses

Implementing a Warehouse Management System (WMS)

Warehouse Management System is a software application designed to support warehouse or distribution center management.

Poor hospital warehouse management can affect the healthcare environment. Implementing a WMS in your hospital can: It can increase productivity, decrease medical waste, and lead to better health outcomes.

Some ways that you can improve your hospital data warehouse are:

  1. Upgrade your technology
  2. Use intelligent bin/par tracking systems
  3. Educate and train hospital warehouse roles

These three steps will make an immediate difference in your inventory management and supplies. It will also help you combat hospital supply chain issues and build a more robust system.

Improve Inventory Tracking

The first step is to upgrade your technology. Technology is crucial to managing a warehouse efficiently. It requires analytics, tracking, and intelligent bin systems.

Analytics helps you assess your current inventory needs and plan for future supplies. It reduces medical waste and improves warehouse stocking and efficiency.

BlueQ Analytics provides insight into the following:

  • Spend and volume reports
  • PAR management reports
  • Stock/bin metrics
  • Labor/time
  • Data-spend
  • And more

It also provides a comprehensive analysis of the intricacies of your warehouse. Additionally, it can track how quickly you use supplies to help you plan ahead for re-supply orders.

Reduce Long-Term Expenses

Optimal warehouse management also helps with efficient hospital delivery and reduces long-term costs. Ultimately, a well-run warehouse will avoid overstocking supplies and reduce expired supplies. Poor warehouse management and bin rotations can lead to more waste and improper tracking.

Studies found thousands of dollars in wasted supplies during neurosurgeries. The COVID-19 pandemic has also increased supply waste through poor supply chain management, stocking, and supplying.

An astounding $935 billion worth of medical supplies go to waste every year. Much of this waste can be attributed to poor regulation standards originating from the initial supply order.

The Impact of Poor Regulation Standards

Poor regulation standards in the ordering process can lead to excess supplies, which eventually become waste. This not only contributes to financial losses but also impacts the efficiency of healthcare services. Here's how:

  • Overstocking: Hospitals may order more supplies than needed without proper regulation, leading to overstocking. These surplus items often expire before they can be used.
  • Inaccurate Demand Forecasting: Poor regulation standards can result in inaccurate demand forecasting. Consequently, hospitals may have a surplus or shortage of essential supplies.
  • Lack of Standardization: The absence of standardized ordering processes can lead to confusion, resulting in the purchase of unnecessary items.

Real-World Examples

Let's look at some examples that illustrate the consequences of poor regulation standards:

  1. The Case of Overstocking: A 2017 study revealed that U.S. hospitals wasted approximately $765 billion due to overstocking.
  2. Inaccurate Demand Forecasting: During the COVID-19 pandemic, many hospitals faced a severe shortage of PPE due to inaccurate demand forecasting.
  3. Issues with Lack of Standardization: A 2018 report highlighted that several hospitals purchased high-cost devices that were not necessary, due to the lack of standardized ordering procedures.

Improving regulation standards in the supply chain can not only reduce waste and save costs but also enhance the efficiency of healthcare services. By taking measures such as implementing standardized ordering procedures and improving demand forecasting, hospitals can significantly benefit from efficient warehouse management.Employees could be over or under-ordering critical supplies, increasing annual expenses. While the upfront costs may deter some, the consequences of poor warehouse management can trickle down to patient care and the workplace environment.

Employees could be over or under-ordering critical supplies, increasing annual expenses. While the upfront costs may deter some, the consequences of poor warehouse management can trickle down to patient care and the workplace environment.

Prevent Supply Chain Delays

During the COVID-19 pandemic, approximately 99% of hospitals had supply chain issues. While some supply issues have eased, the main problem highlighted is building a more robust healthcare system.

Some of that stems from developing relations with multiple vendors for reliable shipments. Other solutions involve fixing inventory tracking to plan for future issues. This includes evaluating supplies with longer shelf life and those needing regular shipments, like pharmaceuticals, biologics, or refrigerated items.

Reduce Staff Burnout

Healthcare burnout affects nearly one in three physicians. Some of the external causes of staff burnout in medical facilities are:

  • Leadership and collaboration issues
  • Difficult work atmosphere
  • Lack of organization
  • Difficult internal communication
  • Lack of resources

Inadvertently poor warehouse management can affect your staff. Without adequate supplies, organization, or communication, your teams could feel the effects of supply ordering and receiving. Restructuring your system can help organization, teamwork, communication, and staff satisfaction.

What Is BlueQ SmartScan?

BlueQ SmartScan is a handheld device that can improve warehouse efficiency and management. BlueQ works optimally with intelligent bin systems and analytics to replace your old ERP systems with improved ordering and receiving capabilities for managing your warehouse inventory. Smart bins and rotations can improve your warehouse space and reduce overcrowding or lack of storage.

Two-bin systems help you visualize supplies and reduce overcompensation. It gives you an excellent visual metric of supplies needed and reduces holding costs. Switching to the BlueBin Kanban System can help you seamlessly combine all aspects of hospital data warehouse information.

Some of the key benefits of the BlueQ SmartScan are:

  • Ordering and receiving supplies
  • Route control
  • Proof-of-delivery
  • Labor and route time management
  • Cycle counts
  • Eliminates paperwork
  • Barcode scanning

Traditional ERP systems lack labor and route time management, cycle counts, return to suppliers, and technologically-advanced analytics. These systems may also not have PO and non-PO receiving, warehouse returns, and proof of delivery.

Streamlining your warehouse tasks into one easy-to-use device can reduce labor and staffing costs. It also transitions from outdated and inefficient systems and helps connect current supplies with vendors. Lastly, the benefit of real-time tracking from an internet-connected device is that it tracks items on the go and eliminates calling or emailing manufacturers.

Improve Your Hospital Warehouse

Improving warehouse management at your healthcare facility can make a difference in productivity and costs. Efficient warehousing can also affect patient outcomes.

BlueBin specializes in using technology to fix your inventory problems. Whether you have issues with ordering, receiving, or stocking, we have you covered.

Interested in getting started? Contact us today and learn how to implement BlueBin's systems in your facility!


Learn more about BlueQ SmartScan

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