Step #2 in high-value global sourcing for self-distributing hospitals and IDNs: put your clinicians in the spotlight with an inside-out approach

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Your global sourcing program for your hospital or IDN is up and running and you are now receiving dozens of your common, commoditized consumable hospital products direct from the factory, circumventing the big distributors and enjoying 20-50% savings.

What now? You are now ready to move on to phase 2 and another high value proposition: a deeper dive into clinicians' pain points, needs and desired refinements to those products.

Because you now have factory direct relationships for your medical products purchasing program, you don't have to simply accept what a distributor has to offer. You can affect subtle, yet high value, changes to many of those products informed by the clinicians using them every day. We call this an "inside-out" approach to hospital supplies: start with clinical input before the products are manufactured and bring the design closer to the patient experience.

Proficient hospital purchasing and supply chain executives know that their effort is needed to effectively deliver products to the end users and that their value analysis team relationship is critically important. Imagine the power of presenting nearly limitless options to the value analysis team for improvement or refinement - at their suggestion and specifications - to dozens of product categories they use every single day.

Would your clinical team like a lab or operating room jacket an inch or two longer? Would they like to reposition the PPE gown snaps to make them easier to use? Are the tie downs on the ISO gowns on the sides or centered in the back? How about a patient amenity kit you would be proud to hand one of your family members? Those are just a few specific examples among hundreds of opportunities for clinician-driven improvements to your hospital product purchasing program.

"It's the little things that make big differences in the lives of the patient," says Kathy James, clinical supply chain manager for Northside Hospital. "While there are many commercially available products we could have had relative to our patient comfort kits, we wanted it to be part of a personal experience. By going directly to the source manufacturer, we are able to get exactly what we want at very high quality and reduce costs at the same time by eliminating multiple layers of middlemen."

"All of these efforts to improve the quality and utility of our hospital branded, patient amenity and other products sourced through ASP Global have done nothing but improve our HCAHPS scores," Kathy says.

Your global sourcing partner will work through the required product design adjustments with the factory, acquire the needed samples and ultimately deliver an increasing number of clinically improved products, frequently at lower costs, to your clinicians, patients and item master. The sampling and approval process can take just a few weeks.

Related: 3 qualities of hospital products ripe for big savings.

Global Sourcing is becoming one of the top value propositions for self-distributing hospitals and IDN's. For self-distributors, how many of your common commoditized hospital products receive clinical improvements on an annual basis? How would you like to give your clinicians more of exactly what they want while assuring quality, mitigating risk and saving 30% or more on those items? Those self-distributors who make it through step 2 on the path to global sourcing will tell you it is more than a worthwhile endeavor, it is becoming a 'must do.'

In order to help our customers achieve this, ASP Global has developed what we call our "Up, Down and Out Methodology." Quality up, risk through transparency down, and cost out.

"Ultimately my goal is to get the product the clinicians want and get it to them efficiently," Jim Connor, vice president of supply chain operations, Westchester Medical Center Health Network tells us. "Global sourcing saves an average of 27% on 33 SKUs currently in the program. For one particular product, our partner ASP Global generated a better product at half the price. We save $70,000 per year on one particular product alone and trimmed three SKUs down to one."

Joshua Sandler, director of business development at Mercy Health owned Resource Optimization and Innovation (ROi) said recently that ROi is expecting to save Mercy $2 million on high volume products this year and $4 million next year through their global sourcing program.

About the author
Lorne Tritt is Founder and CEO of ASP Global. With headquarters in Atlanta and operations in the Pacific Rim, ASP Global is a leader in global sourcing strategies and programs that enable IDNs, hospitals and large group practices to take advantage of lower costs and improved quality in hospital medical supplies available through direct sourcing, an efficient supply chain model and the global marketplace.

The views, opinions and positions expressed within these guest posts are those of the author alone and do not represent those of Becker's Hospital Review/Becker's Healthcare. The accuracy, completeness and validity of any statements made within this article are not guaranteed. We accept no liability for any errors, omissions or representations. The copyright of this content belongs to the author and any liability with regards to infringement of intellectual property rights remains with them.​

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