Materials management information systems help improve business operations. Specifically, supply chain management which encompases a range of activities used to plan, control, and execute a product’s flow in the most effective way possible. MMIS have a variety of benefits, yet a majority of the healthcare industry isn’t utilizing this service to drive improvement. The potential to improve efficiency and eliminating the disruption of product availability is explored with materials management information systems.
Materials Management Information System Benefits
Two of the biggest benefits gained using materials management information systems include reducing time spent manually ordering items and the ability to track orders. We have all heard the saying “time is money” and this is especially true when it comes to day to day materials ordering and procurement. Ordering and procurement activities are extremely time consuming, but are essential processes for healthcare facilities. When healthcare facilities utilize MMIS for ordering and procurement needs, they are saving valuable time and therefore saving money. Tracking orders is also important and can be a hassle. Utilizing the resources in materials management information systems to track orders reduces the uncertainty of an unknown status of an order. Not only are MMIS used to track orders, but they are also used to track cost savings. The ability to know how much a product is and whether the price has fluctuated over time results in greater control for a materials manager. While reducing ordering time and tracking orders are major benefits, automating processes is an additional benefit of material management information systems. Automation within MMIS is a benefit that increases efficiency. It is critical to have all necessary materials when procedures occur and inventory control allows operations to streamline business.
The Problem: Why Surgery Centers Lack MMIS
A few of the most common reasons why healthcare facilities are yet to utilize materials management information systems is the technology needed, costs, and the lack of knowledge regarding MMIS. “If I did not have a MMIS it would require more time placing orders and this takes away time that you could be researching cost effective alternatives, completing other tasks, or focusing on contracts and other services to ensure you are getting the best price.”, says Natali Higgins, Purchasing Coordinator for Carolinas Center for Oral & Facial Surgery. A majority of healthcare facilities are still using the old school process of manually writing and printing purchase orders to go through separate vendors. It can be difficult to make the switch to a more advanced technological process for an employee who has never used a supply chain software. Healthcare facilities face a variety of high valued expenses regularly and there are many different decision making factors to consider before investing in a technological service. Among those factors to consider, there is the time and energy required to research different MMIS options. Since MMIS are still a relatively new software, there are many facilities that are not even knowledgeable that this service exists. Supply chain management in manufacturing and automotive have been utilized and valued for years, but why hasn’t the healthcare industry taken advantage of this service? Often ordering and procurement is handled by a part-time materials manager in a small office or in larger facilities in the basement, yet the value of this service is seen through enhanced business operations. Hard dollar cost savings can be thoroughly analyzed when using MMIS and being aware of these savings allow facilities to make smarter decisions and avoid delays in performance.
The Solution: How MMIS Drive Improvement
“I love the program (MMIS). It has really made ordering easier for me and much quicker.” - Eden Villarreal, Senior Surgical Tech at Solano Plastic Surgery, Inc.
Materials management information systems create value for healthcare facilities. This supply chain software makes ordering easier and speeds up the process with the opportunity to consolidate a multitude of different vendors into a single platform. Using a MMIS to order, track costs, and analyze different products from vendors integrates work processes to increase productivity. The redundancy of manual processes isn’t ideal. Imagine the time saved from spending hours going through hundreds of different purchase orders weekly because the technology is available with one click. The consequences of not having materials present when needed disrupts business and can cause a series of consequences. Patient care is disrupted, appointments get pushed, patients and staff become stressed and so much more. That is why automation and having a materials management information system improves business, because the materials are always there when needed most. Healthcare facilities that become aware of the increase in performance using supply chain management and employ MMIS never look back. The improvement is noticeable to the point where looking back at their previous materials management is devastating because of the amount of time lost with manual efforts.
“The one problem with running manually is mistakes, and also a lot of time is spent placing orders. I would have to go around the facility and write down every item I need to order. Return to my computer, manually put the orders into my system, print out the PO’s and then you either have to call or go to a company’s website to place the order. That is very time consuming, but now I scan and go!” -Terri Crow, Materials Manager at Springhill Surgery Center
Supply chain management within a materials management information system is largely underutilized in the healthcare facility, but the benefits and operational improvement are there. Strategically speaking valuing, adopting, and using this available technology is ideal for the industry and facility owners.
Interested in how a MMIS can benefit your facility? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org! Connect with Hybrent, Inc. to learn more about how we can help you drive improvement and create long lasting success. Join the conversation via Linkedin, Facebook, and Twitter.