In Orthopedic Logistics, Planning Isn’t Your Only Problem…

Sometimes, creating a plan for inventory amounts is easier than taking proper action. The idea that better planning will solve all inventory issues is one of the biggest misconceptions in orthopedic logistics. Countless organizations run their operations using antiquated systems which forces them to use inefficient processes, which results in inefficient management of inventory. Better execution is how you can really know that everything works.

  

The Problem

As a result of inefficient systems, tools, and processes, medical device manufacturers find themselves with more inventory in the field than they need or want, and have far higher shipping costs than necessary.

Yet, they know that there is a solution. It’s so tangible that they can feel it. So they naturally gravitate towards the central tenet of logistics: better planning. This is where things take a wrong turn.

Every attempt to solve the classic inventory planning problem using forecasting algorithms, big data analytics – you name it, and it has been tried and didn’t create the desired result.

These attempts don’t work because they target the problem, not the source of the problem. The source of the problem is not bad planning, but not having the accurate demand data to plan better in the first place. While they may be getting products delivered on time, doing so often involves a whirlwind of hunting down inventory manually (because the inventory system doesn’t reflect reality), using multiple systems to connect various processes, hand-jamming orders into an ERP system, and texting or calling colleagues, or even using a white board to keep track of information.  The result is that, while the case needs get fulfilled, the process simply isn’t efficient and it’s definitely not easy for those involved. The byproduct of the inefficient process is more; more manpower, more inventory, and always more cost.

Advanced planning doesn’t fully solve these problems. Especially when the tools are cumbersome and don’t reflect reality.

Why is this problem so hard? Why have so many tried and have yet to really succeed?

It’s because orthopedic inventory management is difficult. Lack of true visibility magnifies the problem. Working to manage constantly changing pools of inventory with short case lead times and lack of visibility is complex and hard to do.

The Solution

Better tools, systems, and processes. A better process combined with the right tool that drives execution, that is then followed by planning will help start to reduce field inventory and shipping costs. In other words, execute just enough to plan. You read that correctly, execute well first, then start planning better.

Once the tool and the improved process starts providing accurate asset visibility, advanced planning is not only possible, it is much easier. Think of it this way: how much easier would it be to trim down your inventory if you knew exactly where every piece of it was?  The right technology will not only enable the right process to occur, it will also give you the ability to perform the heralded advanced planning in a way that actually achieves results.

Many organizations will attempt new processes and technologies all in one fell swoop, but that is yet another common mistake. The biggest gains in asset utilization and cost reduction begin with piloting a comprehensive solution that provides value in the form of visibility and better processes that drives benefits sooner; and then guides a smooth transition to advanced planning at a broader level.

Movemedical provides a path to pilot that gets a region, territory or distributor the most needed benefits as soon as possible. By shifting the focus from a “big bang” system, the process is flipped to a pilot that dials in execution first so that the planning naturally follows.

The challenge of improving asset utilization and cost reduction is the very reason why Movemedical is a valued partner.

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