Tackle the Supply Chain Challenges in Your ASC

by | Apr 27, 2018 | Blog Posts

Tackle the Supply Chain Challenges in Your ASC

-by Jeff Lawrence

Supply chain in healthcare is complex – with patient care as the output, the focus on safety, quality and cost means supply chain leaders in provider organizations have enormous challenges. And often, supply chain management seems even more challenging for Ambulatory Surgery Centers (ASCs) and similar outpatient facilities.

The Most Common Challenges Among ASCs

ASCs often share persistent supply chain challenges – things like disconnected systems, process gaps, highly manual tasks and disparate data sets. For these organizations in particular, too much paper and too many manual processes make it very difficult for managers to perform even foundational tasks well. It’s hard to know if they’re getting the best price on purchased products; limited reporting and analytic capabilities make it difficult to run their multi-facility business efficiently; and often, using paper-based processes means there’s no way to run an integrated supply chain throughout the continuum of care.

And the challenges keep going. Many of the supply chain managers I talk with say their supply chain processes aren’t particularly good. But the hard part is defining what good – or especially best-in-class – might look like. Among ASCs, there aren’t easy ways to obtain and share best practices.

Look for Best Practices

In my role I work across many organizations, and have found I can offer industry perspective to help determine specific supply chain objectives, then compare those to best practices. There’s definitely progress being made in organizations throughout the continuum of care – and you can find best practices that have worked for other clinics. Start by defining objectives. Once these are established, a roadmap can be developed and the work to improve supply chain efficiencies by implementing new technology and business processes can begin.

Garner Support for Supply Chain Initiatives

The key to ensuring success is getting executive support as objectives are defined, systems are evaluated, and finally, new technology is selected. Through executive leadership, effective communication to the entire organization can take place, letting team members know of the strategic decision to more effectively manage supply chain. In many organizations, it helps to leverage leadership to present the value to the organization, the value to the individual, and to reinforce the need for regular reviews for compliance and success. Having top-to-bottom organization alignment of this key initiative drives toward a stronger supply chain.

Ready, Set, Measure

The ASCs we’re working with consistently report improvements in streamlining manual processes, creating new efficiencies, obtaining greater visibility throughout their facilities and cost savings. Specifically, supply chain teams in ASCs are measuring:

  • Improved standardization of products and vendors
  • Increased contract compliance
  • Increased visibility to supplies
  • Increased quality throughout their facilities
  • Reduced labor and time spent by clinicians
  • Reduced costs overall

In the next blog, I’ll provide the list of “10 Things an ASC Team Can Do – Today! – to Start Improving Supply Chain Processes.”  We’ll look at ways to use current technology to close some common gaps.


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.