Search our website

Self Study Series
White Papers
Webinar Series
Special Reports
Resources & Agency Listings
Show Calendar
HPN Hall of Fame
HPN Buyers Guides
HPN ProductLink
Issue Archives
About Us
Contact Us

Receive our

KSR Publishing, Inc.
Copyright © 2016

         Clinical intelligence for supply chain leadership



September 2011



Embedding supply chain in the equipment planning process

What follows are 42 strategies and tactics for incorporating supply chain executives and managers into the equipment planning process, recommended by experts who spoke with Healthcare Purchasing News.

• Communicate, collaborate and coordinate before you are needed to support a project. Develop an understanding of the equipment planning process and the effect it has on a project when the process works.

• Be involved in your organization. Know what the technological needs of your customers are and proactively research ways that you can assist them in their efforts. Don’t wait on them to come to you. Be informed.

• Be willing to admit there are areas that you cannot help. However, emphasizing your willingness to learn, adapt and provide support in those areas will normally generate a positive response from the design team.

• Use the equipment planning process to encourage standardization as well as reviewing existing standards for upgrades/changes with your value analysis teams.

• Depending on the size of the organization and the frequency/size of projects, consideration should be given to assigning/designating someone as the single "go-to" person for projects. In turn, that individual should be encouraged to pursue education/certification/training on such things as project management, basic construction terminology and processes. Being able to "walk the talk" in the same language as the design team can add incredible value and respect to the supply chain management representative.

– Ric Goodhue, CMRP, principal/owner,
Goodhue Planning Services Inc., Lincolnton, NC

• Meet with the project team to determine the design team’s and contractors’ needs for project completion and gain understanding of the overall project schedule. This will establish team camaraderie and help you quickly integrate into the project planning process. This will also assist in establishing facility standards, protocols for equipment selection and procurement that need to be integrated into the overall design team and contractors planning process.

• Ask to be part of the equipment planning process during critical points in planning process. Although you may not need to be involved in every design team meeting, establishing periodic reviews of the medical equipment documents will help you stay informed on current progress, design changes, and potential issues.

• If consultant contracts are already in place, determine the equipment planner’s scope of work for the project. The equipment planner may be engaged to only develop a basic list of equipment with manufacturer’s specifications for the building’s basis of design or may include procurement assistance with construction administration services. Understanding this will help define any planning gaps and address any project team assumptions that may need clarification.

• Maintain good working relationships with the design team through establishing a clearly defined communication process. Understanding the entire team’s preference for communication process and protocols will help the project run smoother and avoid confusion.

• Understand the design team responsibilities. Determine which team member will be responsible for each task from early planning thru procurement. Given the merging medical equipment integrations with information technology systems and electronic medical records, be sure to establish responsibilities for who is planning, budgeting, designing, implementing, programming, developing construction documents and commissioning IT systems, and associated middleware integrations. These items are often overlooked and have substantial budget and planning impact to the project. Given the growing complexities of these areas consider engaging an experienced IT/Communications consultant.

– Ted Hood, senior vice president and COO,
Gene Burton & Associates, Franklin, TN

• Make sure all vice presidents and department managers are aware that you – the supply chain leader – needs to be involved in any/all activities, quotations, budget exercises, etc., involved with the project (i.e., you are there and you need copies of all correspondence, budget estimates, quotations, etc.)

• Make sure all your equipment vendors are put on notice that no quotes/budgets, etc. are to be submitted to anyone within your organization without at least copies coming to the supply chain department.

• Be sure to engage physicians or other clinical leaders in the early stages of the project to get their thoughts and specifications/preferences.

• Make sure the architect, general contractor and key subcontractor leaders know who you are and that they invite you to all planning/construction meetings.

• Make sure you participate in all budget and timeline planning meetings and that you have a strong voice in setting realistic budgets and time requirements for quotes, equipment lead times, etc.

• One of the biggest deficiencies in equipment planning projects is that all internal hospital players grossly underestimate the time requirements for all staff in planning, bidding, evaluating, ordering, delivery, set-up, education and testing of equipment and furnishings. The supply chain leader needs to conservatively free up 25 percent of his or her time for the duration of the project; other key department heads like operating room, radiology, laboratory, etc., need to be able to flex their workloads by at least 10 percent to allow for the countless meetings, evaluations, etc. These time commitments are dictated by the engineering and construction process, so the hospital staff has to be the flexible party and make the time when it is needed for the project timeline.

– Tom MacVaugh, principal, Healthcare Strategic Resource Solutions Inc., Landisville, PA

• Identify all renovation and construction projects. Keep a list of all and obtain a schedule for each.

• Ensure that if supply chain management is procuring equipment that is not an exact match of same manufacturer, model, and options/capabilities as specified in the plan, that the clinical staff and the project manager are informed of potential changes and have them approve the alternate item and verify that the new model will function in the space as is intended. We have seen supply chain management staff order what they thought was an equivalent item only to find out that the infrastructure and utilities were not functional for the new mode requiring expensive change orders and delays in the project.

• Supply chain management should not control the equipment planning process nor should they oversee the process. Their contribution should be limited, as this is not their only job and equipment planning can get very intense and time consuming.

– John J. Skreenock, MBA, HEM, senior associate,
Applied Solution Group, ECRI Institute, Plymouth Meeting, PA

• Network with peers to learn best practices used on other projects that could benefit the project at your healthcare organization.

• Understand the project goals and manage to those goals.

• Understand that some of the consultants may be equipment experts. Avoid the potential to put them on the defensive and look for ways to collaborate.

• On a project, time is money. If you’re keeping things on schedule, you’re an asset. If you’re causing unnecessary delays you’re a burden that’s adding to the cost.

• Be a problem solver, not just a problem identifier. Look for solutions that avoid delays, reduce cost and eliminate change orders.

– Nik Fincher, vice president, analytics, VHA Inc., Irving, TX

• Clearly communicate to the correct audience the "value-add" of the service.

• Have a solid understanding of clinical equipment preferences, as well as opportunities to standardize.

• Approach equipment planning from a customer service perspective first, then a materials management or purchasing perspective.

• Engage "highly detail-oriented" support staff in the process. Successful equipment planning requires attention to detail, not a "macro" perspective approach.

• Maximize the use of planning software tools, such as Attainia, for a consistent deliverable.

– Mike Rush, director, materials resource management, Carolinas HealthCare System, Charlotte, NC

• Look for early successes to win credibility and confidence.

• Make sure you understand the issues and situation in order to [gain] the confidence of all participants.

• Take a collaborative and non-controlling style, but always push the envelope.

• Share credit and savings with everyone.

• Be humble and team-oriented.

– James Dickow, president and CEO,
Dickow Consulting Group LLC, Mequon, WI

• Be aware of Web-based collaboration tools, such as Attainia.com, etc.

• Be aware of strategic sourcing groups, such as EMTSolutions.biz, etc.

• Be aware of third-party logistics (3PL) resources, such as FDSI and Beltmann, etc.

• Utilize Web-enabled group contracts and group buys, such as MedAssets, Novation and Premier, etc.

• Utilize Web-based product comparison tools.

– Anil Singhal, M.D., vice president, supplier programs,
Attainia Inc., Mountain View, CA

• Get to know the C-Suite, gain their trust and confidence, show them what you know and how you can help.

• Indicate the importance of having a hospital supply chain that knows the hospital, the employees (clinicians), the direction, the GPO issues, etc., involved.

• Indicate that [supply chain management is] not getting involved to "run" the project per se, but to contribute to the appropriate checks and balances.

– Jennifer L. Myers, vice president, SELECT Health Technology Service, ECRI Institute


Drawing a blueprint to break barriers

Understanding total cost of ownership

Embedding supply chain in the equipment planning process

When shopping around for a CT, remember CE

Facing rebuffs, rejections in the equipment planning process