Most of us in hospital supply chain management look to other hospitals for even better savings ideas. Yet, this should just be the starting point for you to scan the worldwide marketplace to improve your innovation. Meaning, to be truly innovative you will need to search across all industries to glean the best-of-the-best savings ideas.
One such supply chain best practice that we discovered from our market scan in the retail industry and which is being advanced by Wal-Mart is “Collaborative Sourcing Programs”. This is where Wal-Mart, is piggybacking on its supplier’s purchases to boost its own buying power. Wal-Mart is now buying its sugar, (which goes into its store-brand soda), bags and paper to cut even bigger deals by consolidating its purchases with its suppliers. You might consider this a form of group purchasing — with a twist. There is no middleman cost (i.e. no administrative or marketing fees) incurred in this kind of collaborative purchasing.
We wouldn’t have uncovered this best practice if we had just looked to the healthcare organizations for our best savings ideas. That’s why the pathway to even a higher level of savings performance is market scans, which is an assessment process to identify the best supply chain practices in all industries.
We have found that the best way to do so is to subscribe to magazines and newspapers inside and outside of our industry. For instance, Business Week and The Wall Street Journal have great articles on all industries that we all can learn from. We also subscribe to supply chain magazines in other industries (e.g., Supply & Demand Chain Executive) that scan all industries for their supply chain best practices. Lastly, we have found that Google is another great resource for new and better ideas on how other industries save money.
So as you can see, a market scan that includes all industries will yield you even more savings ideas for your hospital than just looking to other healthcare organizations for the best savings ideas. It isn’t really difficult to do, if you are scanning the best business periodicals and resources inside and outside our industry. Let us assure you that your investment in time to do so will be well worth it in new savings ideas.
Filed Under: Benchmarking