By Joe Hardin
Wouldn’t it Be Great if These Medical Device Supply Chain Challenges Didn’t Exist?
5 Major Challenges Facing Sales & Field Ops in the Orthopedic Medical Device Industry
Do you remember that time when your operations team had a clean inventory audit, knew where every product was, easily sourced everything they needed, every surgery was shipped ahead of time, and then you grew wings? No? Really?
Neither do we, because it never happened.
Until now. The good news is that some of those things are now becoming realities (sorry – not the wings). Most medical device field logistics systems are rudimentary at best, leaving the real challenges up to you and your team to figure out. These systems might provide management with some information on product turns so they can forecast demand, or it might provide a listing of products but what is it really doing to help your team? To help the people that make it all happen? Probably not much, or is even causing you more work than help.
5 Major Challenges of Facing Field Operations:
- The system says one thing, while the shelves say another.
- Because of demand and supply issues ops team members are spending a good portion of the day hunting down products to fulfill incoming orders. All. day. long.
- Orders are placed at random intervals, often right after you just sent the last one.
- Order are made later than they should. Now the Sales Reps are definitely messing with you.
- Changes and additions to orders come in at the last minute or at the very end of the day.
All of these problems can be solved.
3 Ways to Solve the Major Industry-wide Challenges:
Continuous Real-time Auditing
As long as the term has been around, inventory audits have been perceived and executed as what can be called One Big Event. Inventory discrepancies eventually have to be reconciled, but because it can be so difficult to hunt lost or found product, the activity is pushed off as long as possible. Then comes the time for One Big Event. This equates to frustration, long hours, flimsy (or completely absent) explanations, and losses – a topic that doesn’t go over well with management. The way to change auditing is not to add a GPS tracker to each product or to shift the onus to Sales Reps, although those options sound interesting.
The secret to auditing is –
to do it more often, do it all the time…
Now this may sound bad, but “more often” doesn’t mean what it you think it means. Instead of One Big Event, inventory should be continuously reconciled as part of normal operations but not through manual effort. A well-designed system will have the ability to keep track of product transfers from one location to another. This means that when a rep borrows(steals?) product from one surgery for another, it can be transferred immediately in the system to reflect its new location. The system should also help to encourage greater lead times on cases to avoid the stealing scenario in the first place. This platform should also be able to help you identify and reconcile lost and found items as they are discovered. If a return comes back to the warehouse and it has an extra product, that product should be scanned and immediately tagged as “found”. Later, when a product is reported missing from its expected location, the system should use that previous scan to locate and reconcile the product. When products are reconciled continuously, performing an audit is as easy as running a report. One Big Event becomes simple, little everyday events.
Real-time Automatic Sourcing
One of the most frequent activities for any Field Ops team is locating products to fulfill orders. This hunt-and-peck activity of locating the product, while it may be fun for people who like scavenger hunts, is simply unnecessary. If your organization is managing logistics by scanning products (if they aren’t, they should be) each scanning activity should update the location of the product. From there, the system can automatically source all the products you need for an order by using the location data. This “auto-sourcing” capability removes the burden of hunting down products from the Field Ops team and lets them focus on more valuable uses of their time.
Automatic Scheduling Process & Sourcing Platform
This thought must cross every Field Op’s mind at some point: “if only we could get a better demand signal, we could group more shipments together and get them delivered earlier.” Fortunately, this dream is now realistic. By using a system with an integrated mobile app for Sales Reps, combined with a little training, Sales Reps are much more likely to scheduling surgeries and request product right away. There are only 2 things needed to make this happen:
- Have a system that allows reps to easily board surgeries (schedule and request product)
- Train the reps to board surgeries immediately (break the old habits). This will be a quick exercise once the Reps realize it makes their lives easier.
Once surgeries are boarded in the system earlier, the Field Ops team has the insight they need in order to consolidate shipments. The end result is that teams do more in less time, with less cost, and products get shipped earlier. Last-minute orders magically start to decrease. Everyone wins.
Bringing It All Together
In order to actually accomplish these results, you need a comprehensive platform that allows this to happen. Movemedical is the only platform that is capable of solving your operational, sales, and inventory management issues with one connected solution.
Contact Us: 877.469.3992 | email@example.com
or Learn More: www.movemedical.com/product
A good medical device supply chain sales & medical device inventory solution is worth its weight in gold, a fully integrated medical device specific operations and sales force effectiveness platform is priceless.
A complete medical device sales & inventory tool should be able to or have:
- Full Inventory Management
- Consignment / Consigned Inventory
- Surgery Scheduling (+ Calendar)
- Surgeon Preferences / Preference Cards
- CRM / Case & Opportunity Management
- Inventory Control & Visibility (All Locations, All Buckets)
- Active Order Visibility
- Opportunity/Lead Management
- Customer/Account Management
- Sales Metrics / Data (Reps, Leaders, Corporate)
- Shipping Coordination (FedEx, UPS Integration)
- Directed Picking & Put-away (Bin Mapped)
- Auto Product Replenishment
- Commission Calculations
- Expiration Notifications
- Direct Orders
- Send & Receive Tools (Rep to Rep etc.)
- Contract & List Pricing (Real-time)
- Audit/Cycle Counts
- Reporting & Billing
- Image & File Sharing
- Secure HIPAA Compliant Communication
- Mobile Usage Capture
- UDI Compliance
- Barcode Scanning
- RFID Integration & RFID Reconciling (HF/UHF)
- ERP/CRM/EMR Integrations
- Demand Planning Tools
- Consignment/Loaner Management
- Pluggable Workflows (Programmatic Integrations, Integrated Prediction Models)
- Sourcing Matrix Tool
- HIPAA Compliant Communication (Messages, Calendar, Usage, Notes, Files)
- Sourcing Optimization
- Future Stock (Virtual Inventory Assigned to Future Events)
- Atomic Inventory (UDI Ready, Piece Level Tracking, Serialized or Not)
- Hybrid Kitting (Skinny Kits, Kit Management, Kit Versioning, Tracking)
- Cross Boundary Workflows
- Lost & Found (Automatic Cycle Counting )
- Merger/Acquisition Integration
- Par Management
- Multi-Catalog Management
- Loan Optimization (1 Loan Per Day)
- Separate or Combined Sales & Operations Alignment
- Cost-to-Serve Metrics
- Turn Ratio Dashboards
Need to talk with someone? We understand. Call anytime.