Even short-term shortages can pose a significant risk to patients who need non-acute healthcare. For example, an inability to access vaccines or an implant for a surgery can impact peoples’ lives. To help mitigate shortages and keep inventory in stock, organizations must improve their planning and procurement processes. These optimizations often require the help of outside experts, such as specialists with a group purchasing organization (GPO).
LONG-TERM PLANNING FOR ESSENTIAL PRODUCTS IS MANDATORY
Organizations have experienced delays for myriad items that are in high demand, including some personal protective equipment (PPE) gear. However, delays aren’t limited to the most commonly used products. Even infrequently ordered items, like office furniture or parts for capital equipment, may experience months-long delays.
Short- and long-term planning must take into account essential items such as flu and COVID-19 vaccines. The planning should also consider food that’s subject to unstable pricing or shortages. Organizations should even look at regularly used items that have not experienced shortages, but could face new demand or sudden price surges.
Tactical procurement planning that utilizes a data-driven forecast and has a strategy for longer-than-normal lead times can help prevent potential inventory shortages. A GPO can help in these areas. GPOs work directly with suppliers to identify supply chain bottlenecks or other issues then notify members to help them plan for delays.
Another GPO-enabled benefit is identifying buying behaviors. For example, GPOs use data and analytics to pinpoint seasonal buying habits, which allows organizations to gain better visibility into potential problems and plan ahead for upcoming changes in purchasing volumes. If there are product delays, GPOs can oftentimes recommend alternatives that can be substituted for the original product in order to keep a facility running at the speed and scale required to meet patient needs.