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Improving Healthcare Supply Chain Efficiency with Data

PwC recently released the results of its annual Health Research Institute (HRI) report. This report polled thousands of US healthcare executives about the top healthcare industry issues of 2021.

HRI found that 86% of healthcare provider executives say improving their healthcare supply chain efficiency is a top priority this year. And they plan to do so by making supply chain operations more flexible.

Is your supply chain strategy causing inventory problems at your hospital? Then maybe it's time for an upgrade. That's where supply chain data analytics comes in.

What is supply chain analytics? And how can BlueQ Analytics help you respond to the top supply chain challenges of 2021? We're answering these questions and more in this article.

The Top Healthcare Supply Chain Challenges in 2021

Supply chain analytics give you real-time insight into information about your inventory while also providing visibility into your suppliers' inventory. And it can provide valuable data regarding your logistics partners.

But why specifically should your hospital be concerned with supply chain analytics? These insights have the potential to solve all the following significant inventory challenges.

Low Flexibility

Are you constantly adjusting to supply chain disruptions? Do you feel limited in how flexible you can be because of a lack of actionable insights? Then you need to create a more resilient supply chain strategy.

With data analytics, you can stop scrambling to respond to problems as they arise. Instead, you'll estimate challenges before they affect you.

A resilient supply chain can survive any challenge thrown at it. During surges, your inventory manager should be able to flex to ever-changing conditions. Meanwhile, they should also prepare for a post-COVID-19 reality.

Supply chain disruptions have the potential to affect margins. Worse, delays can lead to shortages. And supply shortages can cause poorer patient care delivery and lower patient satisfaction scores.

With data analytics, you can stop scrambling to respond to problems as they arise. Instead, you'll estimate challenges before they affect you. That way, you can easily flex your strategy to meet oncoming supply and demand changes.

Limited or No Visibility

Why are we experiencing low flexibility in medical supply chains? Much of this issue stems from the fact that hospitals can't see all of their inventory network nodes (supply rooms). And the data they can see isn't always in real-time.

41% of healthcare provider executives said improving transparency is their #1 solution for inflexible supply chains.

Without visibility into every facet of your supply chain, you may not know how to forecast future demand. Many hospitals are even blind to what's in stock in their supply rooms. And this makes it nearly impossible to avoid shortages.

Imagine if you could see all your inventory data in a centralized, real-time analytics system. You would have more insight into what you need now and in the future, boosting supply chain resilience.

Indeed, in the PwC study mentioned above, 41% of healthcare provider executives said improving transparency is their #1 solution for inflexible supply chains.

Difficult Cost Management

When demand rises and medical equipment supply can't keep up costs skyrocket. You can't afford to hold excess inventory during these times. That's why intelligent inventory management is so critical.

...history could become redundant when unforeseen events pop up.

But how do you know what's "excess" for your hospital if you have no visibility into supply utilization rates? And how do you reduce waste in the future without the ability to do demand forecasting?

The majority of providers make inventory orders based on historical models. Yet, the pandemic showed how history could become redundant when unforeseen events pop up.

Integration Challenges

Do all of your hospital systems "talk" to each other? Do they "talk" to the IT solutions your medical supply and logistics vendors use? If not, this is hamstringing your organization's ability to analyze inventory data.

Poor system interoperability is one of the top reasons for higher inventory costs. Lacking technology integrations also makes it impossible to get complete visibility into your supply chain. This is a well-known challenge with ERP systems.

And, as we've mentioned, your supply chain is only as flexible as your ability to see into it.

As you can see, integrating your hospital systems is critical to solving the above problems. That's because resolving interoperability issues will allow you to overlay an analytics tool that can do all the supply chain strategizing for you.

How Can BlueQ Analytics Solve Your Inventory Issues?

In today's day and age, your hospital can't compete without reliable and actionable data and reporting. That's why tools like BlueQ Analytics exist — to help you achieve greater visibility into and flexibility with your supply chain strategy.

BlueQ Analytics is an easy-to-use tool that integrates seamlessly with your ERP and all of your current POU systems or favorite BlueBin inventory management solutions, like Kanban.

Get real-time visibility into supplies on hand, utilization rates, and equipment spending. BlueQ Analytics produces easily digestible visualizations to enable predictive forecasting as well as contracting and cost-cutting.

Additional BlueQ Analytics features include:

  • A supply room heat map to show inventory organization and inform ordering decisions
  • Expiring item alerts to reduce inventory waste
  • Utilization rate charts for accurate forecasting
  • Aggregate spending information to cut costs
  • A fast-moving supply dashboard to prevent shortages

BlueQ Analtyics also comes with built-in performance reporting. You can visualize the performance of your suppliers and your own purchasing decisions. All of this will enable you to cut costs, reduce shortages, and improve patient care.

Get the Inventory Solutions You Need from BlueBin

The COVID-19 pandemic revealed notable shortcomings of the average hospital's supply chain management strategy. These challenges are a lack of flexibility, poor visibility, proper cost management, and system integration issues.

Do you need a supply chain and inventory analytics solution to boost your hospital's ability to compete? Then, you've come to the right place.

BlueBin isn't just your hospital's go-to source for Kanban inventory management supplies. We're also the makers of BlueQ. Contact us today to learn more about our data analytics solution for hospitals like yours.


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