Lean supply management can have a significant impact on the day-to-day operations of a facility. By creating a more structured, optimized way of storing supplies, healthcare facilities can see many positive changes to their supply management systems.
1.Improved Availability of Supplies and Improved Quality of Care.
Clinicians need the right supplies at the right time and in the right location to do their job of caring for patients properly. The implementation of a Lean Supplies Management system spearheaded by Kanban works to eliminate shortages at the point-of-use. Kanban simplifies the act of stocking and pushing out supplies by creating a visual inventory process. This process is not only easier to track, but ensures that supplies are ready when they are needed most.
2.Improved On-Time Starts.
Having supplies in the right location at the best time will also help improve your on-time starts. One of our hospital clients started with an average of 17 shortages per day, and had all but eliminated shortages within a year, primarily through the implementation of Kanban.
3.Reduced “Hunting” Time for Clinicians and Improved Quality of Care.
Rewind your day and take a look at the amount of time spent hunting for supplies…. Probably more time than you’d care to admit. Now imagine if they were in exactly the same spot, perfectly stocked every time you needed them. Having a more organized supply system takes the time away from hunting down supplies and gives back that time to your patients.
4.Reduced Inventory and Increased Inventory Turns.
A typical Kanban implementation will result in reductions of 50% of the beginning inventory within the first year. Depending on where you start, you may be in for much more significant savings. The norm in any hospital department is that you have too much of what you do not need and never enough of what you do need. After implementing a lean strategy, some items may end up with higher inventory levels than what you started with, while the majority will have lower inventory levels or none at all. The typical savings for a hospital-wide implementation is easily in the millions of dollars, depending, of course, on the size of the initial inventory.
5.Reduced Working Capital Requirements.
Otherwise successful hospitals can go bankrupt because they overspend on inventory. When medical supplies are used in patient care, they become revenue and cash. When medical supplies expire, they become money down the drain. When medical supplies sit without being used, they become frozen cash. The reduction in inventory expected from a Kanban implementation will provide the hospital with a one-time cash infusion.