By Mareo McCracken
Too Many Disconnected Tools Drive Down Inventory Performance
Medical Device Field Inventory Is Massively Complex
With too many tools and disconnected process, it makes the work even harder.
With the right tools in place, major medical device implant manufacturers can finally have real-time inventory visibility, accurate forecasting all while driving asset utilization, and reducing waste.
There are too many tools.
Medical device field sales and operations are complex. There is no other industry that is even comparable. In order to solve these challenges, people have been building specific tools to solve specific problems.
Often, a branch manager for an orthopedic implant company will need to use a tool to manage lot control and pricing, then another for scheduling inventory, then another to request loaners from corporate, and then another for cycle counts, and even another to keep track of trunk stock….
The field team is forced to used multiple, disconnected systems because every time they had a job to do, someone would “build” something:
A tool was built to handle loaner inventory.
A tool was built to do field audits/cycle counts.
A tool was built for sales reps to schedule cases.
A tool was built to manage consignment inventory.
A tool was built to try to allocate inventory to surgeries.
A tool was built to focus on helping replenish consigned stock.
Yet, everything they built was new and different.
And then other processes never had a tool build for them, they were just done manually – like usage capture, or product requesting (loans/consignment), billing, replenishment. Sometimes they are using excel, notebooks, scans, faxes, and phone calls just to get the basics done.
The tools are not connected.
On top of so many tools being used, there are other serious issues. The tools were not unified together. They were not integrated into the ERP. This creates visibility issues. This creates double and triple work on the backend. Often support teams need to take info from one system and re-enter it into another. This causes more work and increases errors.
Without true ERP integration, automation is not possible. ERP integration is hard, that is why most people don’t do it. Master data, compliance, validation, pricing, billing, orders, and catalogs all take precision to get right, and most people don’t or can’t do it. This lack of integration causes huge problems.
When too many tools are not part of a unified process, which creates waste and promotes inconsistency.
The tool the sales reps use is not the tools that support & operations use.
Sales reps just want to sell. They want to serve the patients and the surgeons, but often they do admin, logistics, and other busywork that limits their time and effectiveness.
Sales reps need to communicate with their ops teams because they lack visibility. There is not a proper process in place to do so, so they use email, text, messaging services, and phone calls. They have to constantly communicate the same information over and over again because the systems and processes in place are not the same. Often, they are not even integrated.
For sales reps when they have a tool that makes their job easier, they will use it.
The best solution is often the easiest (to use and support).
If everything the entire field team (sale, ops, support) needs to do is located in one comprehensive platform then visibility goes up and wasted effort goes down.
When scheduling, requesting, communication, inventory management, usage capture billing, are all part of the same tool, then there is true clarity.
When a tool is unified and robust it drives three immediate results:
- Improved Inventory & Schedule Clarity. Real-time schedule that is viewable by sales and ops with preference cards and custom catalog management to make requesting exactly what is needed easy. Without this knowledge, work is cumbersome, and often the time it takes to fulfill one surgery is more than tripled.
- Improved Team Communication. Things change and people need to talk. Centralizing communication inside of one system provides instant context to every message saving hours of a week per user. How do reps and ops or reps and reps talk today? This is life-changing.
- Improved Usage Capture. No more paper charge sheets. Scan any barcode, get pricing, and submit PO’s. Supercharged order to cash straight into Oracle/SAP (or any of the other 40 ERPs). Compare that to today and the results are outstanding.
*You can get all of those without having to integrate inventory and even the ERP. The integrations will just drive even more automation and time-savings.
The best benefit is the ability to trust your data.
When you trust your data, you can forecast properly.
When you trust your data, you can eliminate waste.
When you trust your data, drive asset utilization.
When you trust your data, everyone begins to trust each other as well.
When you have robust data, you can build trust.
Your world is complex. We understand. This is all we do.
What is needed is a validated, integrated platform that connects all your users and objectives into one cohesive system. What is needed is Movemedical.
If you want to discuss:
- Set Planning and Kit Versioning
- Inventory Tracking (RFID, Bluetooth, Mobile Phone Barcode Scanning)
- Inventory Optimization (Auto Replenishment, Par Level, FedEx, UPS, 3PL)
- Field Inventory Visibility (Real-time)
- Requesting & Usage Capture (Mobile Phone)
- Allocation (Consignment, Loaners)
If you want true visibility and real-time control of your field inventory, let’s talk.
Contact us: 858.956.0219 or firstname.lastname@example.org