Take the use per treatment and calculate the facility’s mean daily use, or the demand of each supply each day. The next step is to identify the shipping time or lead time of each vendor.
A facility should only keep a safety stock equivalent to the lead time of the vendor from which the supplies are ordered. If a vendor can provide you supplies in two days, keep no more than two days worth of extra supplies on your shelves from that specific vendor.
Another mistake facilities make is implementing arduous manual processes to control inventory. I have seen many control procedures in facilities across the nation. The procedures ranged from no controls, to whiteboards listing supplies needed, to a controlling biomed technician who hides supplies from the floor staff, to in-depth spreadsheets.
Every facility implemented what they thought was an appropriate control for their situation. However, the expenses associated with manual processes far outweigh the expenses of an appropriate electronic solution. I performed an analysis comparing the cost of a manual processes versus an electronic solution. I found that a facility can easily spend $190 per week in labor by maintaining a manual process. If the same work is done with an effective functional electronic solution, labor costs can average around $25 per week.
Over the course of a year, a facility would save more than $8,500. Further, this could free up 572 hours a year that employees can spend on their primary duties. Since inventory is often a second or third job for an employee, a facility could significantly cut down on the number of overtime hours incurred by its employees.
Other expenses associated with manual processes are the cost of errors and events going unnoticed. For example, I worked with a dialysis program that has excellent inventory controls and policies and procedures in place. They have an extensive process for tracking supplies across multiple facilities in different areas.
Even with their excellent inventory controls, I recommended they implement an electronic, Web-based inventory system with real-time, dialysis-specific reports. As soon as the system was implemented and reports generated, I noticed the facility was spending a disproportionately large amount on a particular drug.