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Mobile Supply Chains in Healthcare

The healthcare leaders of today require a greater understanding of the true costs of the supply chains. Knowing how much they can save by integrating and automating their supply chains can pay off in dividends. With today's increased demand for external (and even internal) accountability, supply chain cost analytics need to be extremely strategic and calculated. To highlight this need, I will reference to Infor Lawson's Supply Chain Management for Healthcare system.

I was speaking to an associate of Mainspring Solutions about his time as an intern in the corporate office of a large local healthcare system. He told me that in the corporate office, all the supply chain orders and demands had to be fulfilled and distributed throughout the entire enterprise, comprised of roughly 4 hospital locations and 10+ emergency rooms. They did not have an integrated mobile supply chain system, and instead had a courier system that was orchestrated by a call-in phone line; think of this as an outdated hospital system's UPS. A operator would have to call a delivery-person at the distribution center, give them the order, and it would have to be physically driven to the correct location, and then signed for on a piece of paper which was often misplaced. The process was extremely time consuming, costly, and would often culminate in returned products or non-deliveries.

Lawson's Supply Chain Management for Healthcare system attempts to mitigate your staff's routine paperwork, follow-up, and administrative duties, allowing for those staff members to spend more time on strategy. This strategy can include: value analysis, inventory optimization, contract administration, and discovering the practicality of putting more areas of spend under management.

Though this does sound like it would be used for high level supply chain transactions and acquisitions, such as surgical equipment, my associate told me that this was an enterprise wide system that would also interface directly with patients. Practical uses such as ordering and delivering flowers to patients would also be done through this courier system. Lawson's integrated mobile supply chain solution can help healthcare systems integrate & streamline their supply chain processes to increase efficiency and minimize latency.

Lawson is used in this instance to provide a concrete solution example, however the means of this article is to urge healthcare management to invest in integrated mobile supply chains. The following benefits (aside from what are formally mentioned) entail:

- Automated replenishment to ensure right product at right time

- Integrated spend analysis

- Strategic applications created to manage sourcing processes and relationships between suppliers, distributers, customers, etc.

- Mobile applications for simplified inventory management, patient charging, and management of surgical equipment.

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