Inventory Optimization Solutions (IOS) is pleased to announce Foothills Surgery Center has received the Q2 2020 Best Practice Award. Foothills has demonstrated outstanding capabilities in using the Envi® solution to create automation, accuracy and visibility throughout their supply chain processes. IOS continually identifies and shares best practices from among healthcare provider organizations to help educate the community on supply chain automation, and each quarter, recognizes an organization demonstrating supply chain excellence.

The Foothills Surgery Center is a multi-specialty ambulatory surgery center that provides surgical services including ear, nose and throat, general surgery, neurosurgery, ophthalmology, orthopedic, pain management, urologic surgery and podiatry procedures, and consistently drives the highest patient satisfaction ratings. In 2013, the facility opened and received Medicare certification and accreditation from The Joint Commission. The team at Foothills is committed to positive patient outcomes through the delivery of compassionate, high-quality outpatient surgical services. Not only is the organization recognized for clinical excellence, the IOS Best Practice award recognizes their exceptional performance in supply chain management.

Setting Goals to Direct Supply Chain Improvements

Prior to implementing Envi, the materials management team at Foothills Surgery Center manually managed supplies. Staff members walked the center to find supplies and identify inventory levels, writing down item codes and on-hand quantities. Inventory areas weren’t well-labelled and items were often stored in various locations. If supply bins were empty, it could be difficult to identify what was missing.

“We needed to find ways to improve accuracy and free up time for my team,” said Loren Anderson, CMRP, Materials Manager, Foothills Surgery Center. “Prior to Envi, we didn’t have a materials management system and our processes were slow and manual. We had no way to validate the accuracy of items and orders.”

Anderson and his team set goals to make their supply chain processes more accurate, starting by ensuring all items in inventory were stored and labelled correctly, with correct item codes, descriptions and par levels. “With storage space at a premium, we created a specific location for every item, then worked to right size all the bins, and label everything with barcode labels and min/max levels.” Then, the team shifted their focus to process automation, building new ordering accuracy and efficiency, data capture and visibility, back order management, and greater overall supply chain resiliency.

Best Practice Improvements

“2020 has undoubtedly pressure-tested the healthcare supply chain,” said Anderson. “Organizations have been challenged to maintain on-hand stock for even the most common items. It’s become clear that visibility to all available inventory, wherever it may be located, and understanding lead times and back orders, is vitally important to overall supply chain health.”

The team at Foothills has leveraged powerful Envi reporting tools for data analysis. “We constantly use our data to illuminate areas of potential improvement with information such as categorical spend, spend by vendor, and rep-delivered versus stock spend,” said Anderson. “By identifying products with a classification hierarchy, we’re able to see where our money goes, and if we have categories where spend isn’t proportional to revenue, we can identify red flags.”

In addition, Foothills is recognizing improvements in labor through time savings and direct savings from on-contract purchasing. Anderson added, “The most important change for us has been having a real materials management system. It’s important to our supply chain processes, and leveraging the full functionality is key. I know there will always be more ways for us to leverage the system and the data. The overall supply chain is pretty fragile and improving the way we manage our inventory – and building more visibility to supplies – will be important for success in the future.”

Addressing the Challenges of the Healthcare Supply Chain

“2020 has delivered unprecedented challenges to the healthcare supply chain,” said Steve Britt, President, IOS. “Throughout this year, one thing has become clear – our entire ecosystem of healthcare supplies depends on having exceptional visibility throughout. As the team at Foothills advanced from manual to automated processes, they did all the right things. They focused improving the management of their physical inventory, then moved into building data accuracy to support their goals around automation. Now they’re actively managing backorders and vendors, ensuring all ordering is done electronically to increase visibility, and using reporting tools to give their leadership team insights into how their supply chain is performing. They’ve built an outstanding model of supply chain excellence.”

About Inventory Optimization Solutions (IOS)

Inventory Optimization Solutions (IOS) provides healthcare organizations with the Envi supply chain solution, delivering visibility, control and automation throughout an entire enterprise. For over 15 years, IOS has partnered with customers to develop best practice-based, proven technology that’s pure healthcare. By putting the power and agility of Envi at a user’s fingertips, they’ve got what they need to manage the entire supply chain, from the storeroom to the boardroom. A smarter supply chain solution means organizations spend less time managing supplies and more time doing what matters most – caring for patients. 

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