If you are responsible for procuring the medical equipment and medical for your local hospital, what inventory management techniques are you currently using?
Hospitals and staff are always reminded about how to manage medical supplies. This is sometimes done in an inefficient and wasteful manner, causing unnecessary expenditure. It can lead to an increased budget for medical inventory when that money could be used elsewhere.
In this article, we will explain some simple inventory management methods you can implement in your hospital. This will stop the wastage of medical supplies.
Read on to learn more about what you can do as a procurement specialist.
Organize Your Supply Room
We all have that one cupboard or supply room that is, frankly, a bit of a mess. Having a messy or poorly organized supply room can be detrimental to how supplies are inventoried or arranged.
This could lead to supplies being lost, damaged, or unused due to staff not being able to find the correct items. It can also contribute to supply orders being wrong and inaccurate because you are then reordering items you already have.
Arrange your cupboard or supply closet so that your most-used tools or supplies are the easiest to reach or find.
If you have items with expiration dates, have the items that will expire quicker at the front of their section so they will be used first. This is also to prevent wastage from expired products.
Simplify Your Inventory System For Easy Re-Ordering
Hospital procedures and policies can be overly complicated. Instead of having an inventory system that is complex, use a system that is easy to understand and clear for all your staff members.
Problems arise when members of a team are unsure of protocols and have to make an educated guess.
Using technology such as barcode scanning or another method of digital inventory allows medical orders to be more precise and clear to the procurement specialists.
Speak To Your Teams and Ask For Feedback
The way in which inventory management can be improved is to address the existing problems. Sit down with your various team members and ask them what are some of the problems they face when it comes to medical tools and inventory.
You will be able to get a comprehensive and well-rounded view of the current policies that are in place and assess the weak spots. Perhaps more training is needed so that everyone is on the same page. Or maybe the software that tracks your inventory has glitches or is ineffective.
Every hospital and its procedures will be different. It's about working out ways to streamline the processes.
Protecting Your Supplies
Once your medical items arrive onsite your staff members need to make sure they are storing them safely and accurately.
This will include making sure they are stored at the right temperature and removed from the original packaging.
Whatever your storage procedures are, it can be useful to store items in clear, strong containers. It means that staff members can see what the products are inside and how many of them are left.
By not removing them from the original packaging staff members might end up causing damage to them when moving supplies around. This will render the items useless and will contribute to unnecessary wastage.
Reduce The Distance Between Supplies and Staff
In hospitals, medical items are often needed with little to no preparation time. This will lead to doctors or nurses grabbing the first available item and leaving it somewhere, which will then get lost or misplaced.
This will contribute to wastage and inaccurate stock taking. Reduce the distance between staff members and supply cupboards so they are able to retrieve items and replace them if necessary.
It also helps with managing stress and response time as the staff aren't worried about having to run long distances to retrieve and locate items.
Standardize Your Medical Kits
Everyone on your staff should be able to read the labeling of your medical kits and know what the items are. All of the items within it should be the same and of the same dosage.
You will also need to consider that many hospitals have staff members who speak different or multiple languages. Find out whether you will need to label your products in a language other than English and what language will be most useful for your staff.
Including an easy to read guide on all of the different items in your medical kits and how to use them will help to prevent any unnecessary wastage. Also, check any expiration dates on the items to ensure they are used first.
Encourage Training on Certain Medical Items
Human error is an unfortunate part of many hospitals. If you are aware of a medical item or tool that is continually being misused or staff members are not confident with it, set up training for this.
Whether it is an email with a step by step guide or an actual training session, this will prevent inventory mistakes in the long run. Be proactive with new methods of tools and medical items to ensure that every staff member is confident with what they are doing.
Inventory Management Techniques: Where Can I Find Out More?
We hope that this article on what you can do to improve inventory management techniques has given you some points to consider when organizing inventory.
By making some small changes and streamlining some processes you will be able to maximize the number of medical items your hospital uses and prevent wastage. This will, in turn, provide a better overall expenditure and keep you within your budgets.
If you have any further questions or queries about inventory management or any of our existing products, contact us directly!