We all know the stories – clinicians hiding supplies in the ceiling tiles, lockers, desk drawers – heck, there’s probably something stashed right now behind the coffee filters in the break room. What that urban myth (or maybe, true story) is telling us is that clinicians need to find what they need, when they need it. And at the same time, supply chain leaders need to manage inventory and spend, without overstocking and the resulting overspending. So how do you find balance?

With more than 5,000 provider facilities using Envi, we’re now documenting and sharing best practices across the industry, to help the entire IOS community benefit from successful supply chain management.

Recently, we shared Best Practices in Inventory Area Organization. As the end of a quarter (or end of a fiscal year) approaches, you might be getting ready for a physical count. Or maybe you’re just ready to take on the task of better organizing your inventory areas, to help reduce supply stashing.

Here are a few quick best practice tips to help reduce staff time and make physical counting faster, easier and more accurate, while improving downstream activities and making supplies easier for clinicians to find:

1 – If you buy it, use it or count it – label it! Create labels for every item, bin, or shelf –
  •  Envi users can easily print out barcode labels and place on each shelf or bin
  • Make sure products are clearly and consistently identified on the label – when it’s easy to match a product to an empty bin or shelf, you’ll save time whenever you replenish
  • Scanning barcode labels makes your inventory processes faster and more accurate
2 – Know what you’ve got and organize your areas –
  • Walk your inventory areas to know what’s stored where. Be thorough, and get your eyes on everything. Don’t assume you know where everything is – supplies can move around!
  • Group similar items together – it will make physical counting easier, and in the future, make it faster for you to replenish and clinicians to find items (especially on “grab and go” supplies)
3 – Minimize the number of locations where the same item is stored –
  • Overstocking is easy when an item is stored in multiple locations, especially if you’re not actively managing inventory
  • Use Envi to improve oversight and management of every item in each inventory location – you’ll avoid overstocking and overspending with enterprise-level visibility

We’re continually working with the entire IOS community – including our internal experts and our IOS customers – to create Best Practices for IOS users and the industry. We welcome your input and feedback, and if you need help implementing any Best Practice ideas, please don’t hesitate to call the team at IOS.


About the Author

Jeff Lawrence
Vice President of Business Development
Inventory Optimization Solutions (IOS)

With a substantial background in healthcare supply chain technology, Jeff Lawrence joined Inventory Optimization Solutions (IOS) in 2009 as the Vice President of Business Development. For over 20 years, Jeff has focused on leveraging supply chain technology to build a more efficient and sustainable healthcare industry. With hands-on experience helping providers implement technology to improve business processes, Jeff works in partnership with his customers, sharing best practices to increase automation and improve overall business results.  Jeff’s career has included roles in business development and sales, along with finance, implementation, operations, and strategy development. He brings a strong blend of customer focus, business strategy, innovation and execution, which helps IOS quickly and efficiently deliver inventory and supply management solutions to provider organizations throughout the continuum of care.