Supplying the unexpected

When an unexpected event occurs, like the recent blizzard roaring through the East Coast, we are faced with the ultimate dilemma: is our supply chain ready?

To answer this, you'll need to consider some additional questions:

  • Do I have a reliable crisis team in place?

A reliable crisis team should be established prior to any unexpected events. This team will be responsible for not only ensuring resources are not being used wastefully, but communicating with vendors to obtain necessarily supplies.

  • Is my staff prepared to stretch our resources?

Stretching resources in your hospital can range from reducing linen changes to limiting your cafeteria menu to spreading resources among departments and floors.

  • Do I have contact numbers for my staff, and will they need assistance getting to work?

The supply chain team should have contact numbers for all staff. You'll also need an assistance plan in place to aide employees that cannot make it to the facility on their own.

  • Do I have relationships with a wide enough array of vendors?

It is important to maintain relationships with several vendors with different ports of service. Depending on the event, your routine supplier may not be able to provide your needs, and you will need an alternate source.

  • Do my current vendors have documented emergency plans?

It is important to maintain and review these plans before an emergency occurs. Do you have a contact list for your primary vendors like Med/Surg, pharmacy, linen, food, etc.?

By planning ahead and preparing your staff, you can greatly reduce the negative effects and unnecessary stress of an unexpected event.

George Malik, the CEO of Quality First Solutions, has been in the healthcare industry for the past 30 years and has saved millions for hospitals nationwide.

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