Magazine article Health Facilities Management

Honing a Vision to Better Manage Engineering Supply Costs

Magazine article Health Facilities Management

Honing a Vision to Better Manage Engineering Supply Costs

Article excerpt

Over the past decade, hospitals have stepped up efforts to better manage supply chain spending. Typically, the predominant focus has been on medical-surgical products and the most expensive medical devices. Significant savings have been achieved through close collaboration among materials managers, surgeons and other clinical leaders and by automating nearly all areas of product procurement.

Now, some supply chain leaders are broadening their focus. McLeod Health, a five-hospital integrated delivery network in Florence, S.C., has created a vision for implementing the same sorts of parameters and best practices for the organization's engineering department as it has demonstrated successfully in its clinical supply chain.

The program, which is in its early stages, will focus on such areas as product standardization, consistent use of electronic procurement, utilizing a supply chain data exchange to capture and better analyze costs and product usage patterns, as well as other tactics.

"As we've been focused on improving operational efficiencies in the hospital across our system, engineering can't be forgotten," says Dale Locklair, vice president of procurement and construction at McLeod Health. "We believe we're on a journey and as we take on the engineering aspect of it, we think those opportunities represent real savings to the hospital system and ultimately to our patients."

One way Locklair plans to achieve these savings is through consistent adherence to electronic procurement of products. He notes that there is significant disparity in how engineering department products are purchased and managed, with a heavy emphasis on vendor-managed inventory. The plan is to automate the procurement process wherever practical.

"We are working to set up our inventory so that when a work order is issued for an item that requires a part to be pulled out of stock that there will be a minimum and maximum value and a product automatic replenishment level set for those items. When a threshold level is reached, the system automatically will kick out a replenishment order," Locklair says.

As simple as this may sound, it will take significant collaboration with internal supply chain leaders and vendors serving McLeod Health. Elsewhere, Locklair and his team will focus on collaborating with the engineering department on product standardization. The aim is to identify standards for heavy equipment replacement for such systems as boilers, chillers, generators and air-handling units. …

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