Case Study

Allied Physicians Surgery Center Automates Procurement and Inventory Management with ENVI®

November 8, 2021
Operating room
Allied Physicians Surgery Center performs approximately 1,000 procedures each month. The ambulatory surgery center (ASC) in South Bend, Indiana, was facing a range of challenges with its procurement and inventory management processes. 

These challenges largely stemmed from time-consuming manual processes that were inefficient and limited visibility into savings. Plus, Allied didn’t know for sure if it was benefitting from the best contracts.

“Our materials team didn’t have time to keep up with ongoing contract management, checking to see what was expiring, what had fallen off, gaps we needed to close to achieve tier pricing,” says Tracey Opaczewski, CASC, CPHRM, director of quality management and regulatory compliance.  
This resulted in several goals Allied wanted to achieve:

  • Advance order management by moving from manual to digital processes.
  • Reduce overhead and improve control over what is being ordered.
  • Leverage the right contracts to ensure the best pricing to save the most money possible.

Relying on manual order and inventory management processes resulted in Allied’s materials management team spending hours each day on paper-and-pencil inventory keeping. The ordering process was severely outdated, too. The team entered data to create individual orders for each supplier, which were submitted via fax.
“We were drowning in paper and we spent hours each day keeping up,” Opaczewski noted. “With a broad range of service lines, there are a lot of supplies needed to meet the needs of our clinical teams and patients.”
Allied knew there had to be a better way to handle both inventory and procurement. It was already using Provista as its group purchasing organization (GPO), but was not leveraging Provista’s vast portfolio of offerings and expertise to their fullest capacity.
In addition to using Provista’s offerings, Allied was also managing local contracts for supplies through several vendors. This added to the complexity of the ASC’s procurement.
“We needed to improve our contract management — and make sure we were getting the best contract price — to improve our bottom line,” Opaczewski says.
Then Allied made the strategic decision to implement Envi. The materials management software platform drove modern procurement processes that enabled new levels of efficiency, time and money savings, and enhanced visibility.

““With Envi, we now walk our supply areas with an iPad, take pictures of items and create replenishment orders. It’s an extremely automated process.” ”


Envi had a tall order to fill. Allied wanted a procurement solution that supported automation and integrated with its practice management system, called HST Pathways. The solution also needed to enable Allied to reach its goals faster for having better control over what was being ordered, optimizing contracts and improving the bottom line.
The Provista procurement team and the Envi platform were tasked with addressing these goals and filling gaps in processes.
“Our Pathways team recommended Envi as an option for an integrated procurement solution, and Provista Procurement for ongoing contract management,” Opaczewski explained. “We wanted to improve automation and order management for all service lines, so it was important we could integrate purchasing with practice management.”
This resulted in Allied partnering with the Provista team and leveraging Envi to improve order and contract management. Day-to-day work became easier and more manageable.
“Our business partners helped us not only improve our processes, but also our data foundation,” says Craig Coburn-McDonald, shipping and receiving clerk. “For example, HST helped us compile six months of usage data, which we imported into Envi to create a new item master based on what we were actually purchasing and using. We had a fresh start, with usage data that showed what we really needed.”


By moving to Envi and utilizing Provista’s expertise and contracts, Allied was able to reach its goals of realizing new efficiencies, identifying cost savings and improving contract management. 

“With Envi, we now walk our supply areas with an iPad, take pictures of items and create replenishment orders. It’s an extremely automated process,” Coburn-McDonald says. “We use Envi to create orders, then push to pending. Envi creates separate POs [purchase orders] for each vendor, then we submit to Provista Procurement where they review, check price and availability, and ultimately place our orders. They manage everything and if needed, jump in to locate substitute products or identify new vendors. They’re like extensions of our team. We get great follow-up, and they’re quick with answers.”

Allied saw several results across procurement:

  • Achieved more than $220,000 in product and non-contract product savings.
  • Improved contract management
  • Aligned all resources around new processes

“The procurement team provided more visibility to costs associated with distributors and helped us negotiate a solution that allowed us to move most of our business to a single distributor and achieve significant savings,” Opaczewski says. “Being as large as we are, we found we were overlooking some contract issues. Our procurement lead helped show us where we were paying higher costs.”
Even during the COVID-19 era, with supply costs running higher than usual, Allied achieved six-figure cost reductions. The savings and process automation now span the entire Allied organization.

“Our AP [accounts payable] team uses QuickBooks with an Envi interface, and with Envi’s three-way price matching, as soon as we receive an invoice from a vendor, we price match to ensure the correct contract price,” noted Coburn-McDonald. “We’ve increased the accuracy of pricing across all supplies.”

For organizations considering a materials management platform like Envi, Opaczewski has some advice: “It’s easy for management to invest in a new solution, but end users — from AR to materials to nursing — all need to work together. Bring team members in early for better alignment. Get input right away, and help each team member understand the whole process so you know how to implement most efficiently.”

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