supply chain audit

How to Perform a Healthcare Supply Chain Audit In 6 Easy Steps

Healthcare supply chain processes are accelerating with the integration of digital technologies. The COVID-19 pandemic changed the economic situation at both ends of the value chain.

With this new environment, it’s vital to conduct routine supply chain audits. This ensures that your systems are efficient and resilient. Keep reading to learn how software solutions can assist with audits.

Benefits of a Supply Chain Audit

Reimagined healthcare is now building on the lessons learned from the COVID-19 crisis. Facilities face new common focal points for managing their supply chain. Today’s digital business strategies focus on the patient as the customer.

Audits help identify key supply chain management processes including:

  • Customer relationships
  • Customer services
  • Development of products and commercialization
  • Manufacturing flow
  • Order fulfillment
  • Returns
  • Supplier relationships
  • Supply demands

These factors describe the hallmarks of healthy supply chains. They also serve as predictors of the supply chain’s success. Each piece connects to the supply chain as well as other parts of the healthcare system.

Performing internal audits gives organizations the opportunity to streamline workflows. Most business models today strive to break down silos and build interdepartmental teams. This creates higher efficiency and decreases redundant activities.

This model also includes vendors, suppliers, and other third parties as part of the group. Open discussions among everyone contributing to product availability foster innovation.

Everyone benefits by working smarter. Internal audits seek answers to critical questions and test the success of processes.

Supply Chain Internal Audit Guide

These steps provide a guide for addressing critical questions in your audit. The endpoint goal is to identify valuable activities and areas for improvement.


1. Decide What You Want to Learn From the Audit

Auditing your supply chain begins by deciding which key points to assess. Make sure that goals are measurable so that it’s clear if the facility has met them or not. Avoid generic concepts such as, “Be more resilient”.

For example, “Work one-on-one with supplier A to meet our sustainability policy”. Now you can define specific items to look for.

Does supplier A always adhere to regulatory standards? Are they able to meet our product supply needs?

Define any risks involved in working with this supplier. Are they offering the best materials in the most cost-effective manner?


2. Develop a Visual Depiction of How Each Product Moves in the System

Healthcare supply chains are complex and dynamic. By current state mapping of the product’s movement, you can look for suboptimal paths.

The audit must examine each current state workflow mapping individually. This helps you clearly see opportunities for improvement.


3. Identify Key Stakeholders at Each Stage of the Supply Chain

Many different individuals play a part in the supply chain’s workflow. It’s key for the facilities to identify the key stakeholders for each step. When audits find areas for improvement, include these parties in follow-up discussions.

The auditor provides a beneficial outside perspective. Yet, they may not understand all factors that led to the current state. Effective communication among these teams leads to better solutions using all perspectives.


4. List the Cost of Each Part of the Supply Chain

Examine every charge involved in your supply chain. Honing the supply costs (2nd only to labor) has a huge impact on the organization’s financial health.

Are there costs that you can cut? Would you see a better return on investment if you buy an automated system?

Are you storing materials that aren't frequently used? Could you arrange with a vendor to quickly get the item only when needed?

Ask for clinical input on their preferred materials and why they work best. Based on that information, consider ordering one standard item that's used a lot. This costs less than ordering several different products that serve the same purpose.


5. Create a List of Product Shortages and High-Risk Items

One of the biggest nightmares for healthcare providers is supply shortages. This directly impacts their ability to provide optimal patient care. Thus, this is one of the biggest overall reasons to perform supply chain audits.

Shortages may occur due to failures in the supply chain or from wasteful practices. The audit also looks for potential supply shortage risks on the horizon.

An audit before COVID-19 should have considered the risk if Chinese supplies stopped. This identified vulnerability could have then led to the development of contingency plans.

Audits should search for potential disasters that can impact the supply chain. Examples involve natural disasters, cyberattacks, war, and more. All hospital supply chain players must remain vigilant since the risks keep evolving.


6. Resources to Help with Audit Action Items

Once you’ve completed the audit, you may have an overwhelming list of action items. The good news is that you have identified plenty of opportunities to pursue.  You can partner with companies that have built solutions to meet your needs to help take full advantage of all the opportunities identified. New technologies and supply chain management software streamline workflows and expenses.

Supply Chain Audit Software

Healthcare facilities can decrease administrative burdens and costs with supply chain software. This promotes life-saving innovations while, at the same time, limiting risks.

State-of-the-art supply chain audit and management software facilitates seamless processes. You gain a full view of your suppliers’ sustainability protocols and financial stability.

Documented workflows and compliance standards ensure consistency along the supply chain. Software solutions offer training and certification for employers and business partners. This ensures that even temporary workers know how to step into their roles.

BlueQ Analytics is a supply chain solution that provides data-driven decision support for supply chain operations. You have rapid-fire access to key performance indicators for decision-making. This software also gives you efficient and reliable data to optimize supply replenishment.

Why Partner with Supply Chain Audit Companies?

Supply chain audit services use highly trained, expert auditors. This means they’re better at finding problems. Their broad experience allows them to provide novel suggestions for greater improvement.

Is It Time to Renovate Your Supply Chain?

The first step is to complete a meaningful supply chain audit. At BlueBin, we focus on working with organizations to optimize their supply chain. We view materials management as a key part of the patient care cycle.

Our solutions include hospital supply chain analytic software. We also offer subscription products to ensure ongoing continuity. Contact us today to learn about our solutions and subscription products.


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