It seems silly to assume that organizations like major U.S. medical device manufacturers and large hospitals wouldn't have already deployed software and technology systems to modernize their supply chains for expensive specialty medical devices , but as this Wall Street Journal article published last month indicates, they haven't.

U.S. hospitals spend tens of billions of dollars annually on high-tech surgical implants. But the supply chain for the devices is anything but high-tech. And that drives up costs both for hospitals and implant makers

Supply chains, just like almost every other aspect of our professional and personal live, can benefit significantly from technology upgrades. In the shipping industry, companies have turned to wireless solutions to improve efficiency and provide transparency to customers. Manufacturers are utilizing big, (and fast) data analytic programs to understand forecasts, orders, shipments, and inventories. RFID and inventory optimization software continue to grow.All of these technologies are used to drive down costs while meeting customer demand.

But as the Journal article notes, hospitals are still processing a lot of their orders for implantable medical devices as if it was 1984, and not 2014.

One problem with the traditional ordering system is that much of it is manual. For instance, in many cases, operating-room nurses peel bar-code stickers from empty product boxes during surgeries, paste the stickers onto a clipboard and later type the information into an order form that wends its way through the hospital's administrative channels. Suppliers also do much of the paperwork for orders manually, and complications often arise when someone on either side of the transaction incorrectly records a product code. The transmission of orders and bills is often done by fax. 
"Hospitals don't appreciate the cost of these back-office operations, and device makers haven't had to think about it because their profit margins have been so great," saysSteven Chyung , vice president at Sisters of Charity Leavenworth Health System Inc., a nonprofit based in Denver that is using the new software. But, now, he says, "we're all in a declining reimbursement situation."

Whether your company's profit margins have been "so great" in the past that you didn't have to worry about improving your supply chain's efficiency, chances are that it is certainly worth a look now at whether or not your current technology is keeping up with the competition.

Fortunately, Source One has a successful history of helping our clients identify best in class solutions, and taking technology initiatives to market to find the right supplier who can provide competitive pricing along with superior service levels.

If you believe your company can benefit from Source One's experience in sourcing complex IT products and services, contact us today.
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Jamie Burkart

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