April 7 is World Health Day. The World Health Organisation uses World Health Day to raise awareness of different health issues. This year's theme is food safety. More information can be found here. In this blog, we're going to explore how Business Intelligence can assist hospitals, health and medical suppliers.
If a vital piece of medical equipment or supplies go missing, are delivered to the wrong location or are damaged, this can have serious consequences to a healthcare provider (hospitals, universities, clinics, and so on).
When it comes to selecting suppliers, healthcare providers focus on three key factors: quality, service and reliability, with price as a secondary consideration. The medical supplier that maintains exceptionally high standards of quality, service and reliability that can contain costs and prices, will be well ahead of its competitors. One way to help them do this is Business Intelligence and analytics.
Medical suppliers typically use information systems that contain a wealth of data. However, this information will not hold any value if not analysed for insights. There are 4 key things that an analytics / BI tool can help medical suppliers with:
1. Process improvements
With an analytics tool, you can harness the data stored in your systems to identify opportunities for innovation and improve processes to enjoy greater efficiencies. Additionally, these tools enable medical suppliers to extract data and analyse reports from every aspect of their supply chain and distribution network. This will help medical suppliers obtain greater efficiencies in sourcing, production and distribution.
2. Demand planning
However, medical suppliers shouldn't only be concerned with delivering efficiencies, they need to ensure their supplies can meet their customers' demands. Using analytics and BI to analyse their data, medical suppliers can identify potential growth areas by product, geography or customer. They will then be able to forecast future demand and ensure they engage in effective demand planning to keep up.
In some cases, to meet additional demand, they may need to establish new facilities or expand existing ones. Regardless, analytics will help medical suppliers prepare for future customer demands, and ultimately, improve sales results.
3. Overcoming challenges
Not only should medical suppliers be concerned about meeting potential increased demands by healthcare providers, they must also be prepared for low demand. They need to analyse sales and inventory data to identify slow moving products or products that are being overstocked due to a decrease in demand levels.
In addition, it is necessary for suppliers to always be aware of potential bottlenecks in distribution and delivery. Through analytics, you have the ability to monitor the lags and put in place the means to overcome this, to ensure you are delivering to the expected standards of service and reliability.
4. Managing costs
Supply and distribution channels vary considerably by geography, product type, local regulatory approvals, commercial relationships, and other factors. Through analytics, you have the ability to breakdown the costs for each link of the supply-chain. You can also identify the factors contribute to those costs. For instance, if you find that shipping and transportation costs are too high, you could take action immediately to get a handle on your costs.
Also, greater insight and visibility into the supply chain can facilitate greater collaboration with customers and partners. This collaboration will lead to the reduced likelihood of stock outages and surpluses.
The right reporting and analytics tool
The supply-chain for a medical supplier can be a complex environment with data buried in multiple systems. Analysing and reporting from this data can be complex, time-consuming and at times, downright frustrating.
You need a reporting and analytics tool that can extract that data easily from a variety of systems and present it in a manner that is user friendly. The ideal tool will also offer you the ability to drill-down and reveal the underlying issues to help you identify opportunities for improvements and ensure you always deliver the highest standards of quality, service and reliability.
To learn more about how business intelligence can help medical suppliers, download our whitepaper 'Keeping your Fingers on the Pulse' below.