Data drives actionable insights and logistics program performance

Too often, hospitals and health systems have more data than they know what to do with. And while leaders know data is crucial to identifying performance gaps and driving efficiencies, staff shortages, squeezed budgets and fragmented data hinder such efforts.

Operations and supply chain leaders are no stranger to these challenges, amid mounting pressure to do more with less.

Becker's Hospital Review recently spoke with Carson Friend, national vice president of sales and services at Cardinal Health™ OptiFreight® Logistics, about the crucial role data and analytics play in shipping and logistics optimization.

Question: In healthcare, now more than ever, there is a heightened focus on reducing costs and finding additional savings. Why is access to data so important when it comes to monitoring shipping spend costs?

Carson Friend: Healthcare organizations often overlook shipping costs as an area for savings.  The right data and analytics will increase transparency into shipping spend and shipping practices. Larger organizations can find advantages by monitoring and comparing shipping activities across locations. Our customers don’t have time or resources to analyze and determine next steps on their own – they need direction on what action to take based on insights uncovered. 

That is where OptiFreight® Logistics comes in – we act as an extension of their team, bringing together technology and our expertise to deliver results. We use data to provide actionable insights to help organizations improve their shipping and logistics performance. As a result, they can manage more shipments, optimize modes and services, and reduce add-on costs, where possible. Our data and expertise help our customers optimize their shipping activities, realize greater savings, and operate more  efficiently year after year. With an easy-to-use platform, healthcare organizations can see how they’re tracking to prior year performance and break down ways to save on shipping.

Question: You mentioned shipping costs are often overlooked. Do healthcare organizations have a good handle on this data and how to access it?

Carson Friend: Great question – the simple answer is many times they do not, especially in larger more complex organizations. Data and shipping spend information can be very fragmented and hard to extract from various systems. At OptiFreight® Logistics, we recently launched a new, web-based Customer Data Upload Tool to help address this pain point. This flexible, simple and safe data exchange tool gives customers more options – they can use various file formats, file types and can drag and drop.  We provide secure transmission options that enable us to safely capture and process customer data to uncover savings opportunities. 

For our customers, this provides the added benefits of increased:

  • Control with visibility to shipping spend details plus supplier fees and activity.
  • Volume by improving supplier compliance and facility participation.
  • Savings through applying the OptiFreight® Logistics discounted shipping rate to more shipments.

Supply chain policies and shipping terms evolve and we are proud to provide the innovative tools, data and analytics, and support our customers need to make truly impactful adjustments to their shipping practices. I can’t underscore enough the value that clean, comprehensive shipping data provides for us as a logistics management provider. It allows us to make recommendations, provide actionable insights and benchmarking metrics for our customers.

Question: What types of tools does OptiFreight® Logistics offer healthcare organizations when it comes to data analysis and reporting?

Carson Friend: Data is important but single data points won’t tell the full story. A comprehensive view into the total value of a logistics management program is critical. TotalVue™ Insights empowers customers with unparalleled logistics data to help them realize the full potential of their logistics strategy. 

TotalVue™ Insights is our cloud-based platform and includes multiple dashboards with unique focus areas. With TotalVue™ Analytics, healthcare organizations view shipping volume and spend details as well as identify cost savings opportunities. They can also track the status of shipments using TotalVue™ Tracking. Healthcare organizations can engage clinical stakeholders as they identify at-risk or delayed shipments and quickly remedy those situations.  Better visibility into shipment statuses can also improve resource and space planning activities. Customers can access this information directly from easy-to-use dashboards and other tools.

Our innovative tools consider everything that influences shipping costs — including shipping methods, volumes, rates and add-on costs to tell the full story and show where to save on shipping spend and how to improve program performance. 

Question: Can you tell us more about what types of opportunities healthcare organizations can uncover using data and analytics?

Carson Friend: Cost per pack is a common way to measure program performance – and while it is important, many things play into that single number, including changes in shipping volume, service mix, general rate increases and fuel. Visibility to all these components helps us determine which lever to pull to improve program performance. 

Our TotalVue™ Analytics platform empowers users to analyze their behaviors like: a supplier that is shipping too many packages overnight, or a location that is not using the program or missed savings due to shipments not being managed through the logistics management program. We work alongside our customers to map out the best course of action and tackle opportunities to drive savings and compliance. Access to the data allows us to help customers set measurable goals and track performance to those goals. 

OptiFreight® Logistics helps customers gain greater control of their shipping and logistics operations through our team of committed experts, tailored solutions and continuous innovation and insights. With greater control comes greater confidence to meet critical goals of optimizing shipping costs and improving efficiencies within your healthcare organization — today and in the future. To learn more about OptiFreight® Logistics, click here.

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