Stop me if this routine sounds familiar: It's 9 AM; you walk into the office, knowing exactly which tasks are on your to-do list for the day and with a clear plan of how you intend to tackle them. You say, "no problem – taking care of these today should be a piece of cake." You check your voicemail. The emails start coming in. Your boss requests a meeting. Next thing you know, it's 6 PM and none of those items have been crossed off your to do list, and even worse, somehow half a dozen more have found their way on there. I'd ask for a show of hands if this sounds familiar to you, but odds are you're busy wishing you had extra hands as it is.
How You Can Do More With More.
For a variety of reasons, including declining reimbursements and responsibility for more contracts as health systems merge and Supply Chain efforts are centralized, the “less” part of the clichéd but ubiquitous mantra “do more with less” [and faster!] refers primarily to “resources and time”. Health systems everywhere are feeling the crunch, and every day it seems like budget cuts and financial concerns are depleting resources to the point where it feels like you’ve got to try to contract with one hand tied behind back; Supply Chain departments tasked with meeting lofty savings goals often do not have the budgets to bolster staffing, much less to go out and hire armies of consultants, analysts or software packages.
So where to turn?
Fortunately there are technology solutions which can significantly impact savings goals without putting a strain on your department’s budget – From a purely economic standpoint, finding an eSourcing technology solution makes perfect sense because you can complete more contracts faster leading you to quicker realization of savings and headway towards departmental goals.
A moderated real-time e-Negotiation can drive tremendous ROI. If you aren’t sure exactly what an e-Negotiation is, let me help put it in perspective. Think first of a rational negotiation: you get proposals, and maybe there's sufficient data to rule narrow down the pack to a range of qualified candidates. Off to a good start. Then begins the parade of meetings and haggling with each vendor individually, which had the potential to draw out over days, weeks or even months, as new details emerge from each conversion and additional due diligence must be done.
Using an e-Negotiation format, that process is distilled down to hours. Imagine having the ability to converse with each qualified vendor simultaneously in a forum in which you, the buyer, has total visibility on the critical financial and contact details of each vendor's offer, and that you can communicate your feedback to them on the areas of their proposal in which they need to more competitive, and then watch in real time as they make concessions and submit new tenders, AND THEN have the ability to reflexively measure the impact of those concessions and use them as leverage with the other vendors.
The competitive atmosphere a moderated real-time e-Negotiation generates drives the most aggressive pricing, adherence to SLAs, value added offers, and favorable contract terms for your hospital and could average savings of 24% in Purchased Services and the ability to process bids three times faster. Click here to see a demo of how an e-Negotiation process works.
The next logical question is, what should you be looking for when you are evaluating the best solution for your organization? First, you should look for a solution that is tailored specifically for healthcare needs. The healthcare industry has very unique challenges and the solution should be flexible so you can evaluate the attributes and various features that will help you to best meet the needs of your organization. For a hospital specifically, the platform should be able to negotiate beyond just price and also focus on quality and value.
Whether those goals involve contracting for a 20+ facility IDN, or an independent single-facility hospital, the technology platform should:
- Help you achieve your savings goals.
- Help you increase contract throughput while simultaneously lowering transaction costs.
- Provide a transparent and level playing field for all suppliers.
- Provide your stakeholders with all information they need in order to make the best decision for the health system.
- Include the option for e-sourcing consultancy services which can effectively enable your Supply Chain team to do more with more by combining the advantages of additional FTE support.
- Help you to work smarter by engaging with you on a per-project basis, specifically on their RFP solicitations.
- Provide options from full-service procurement concierge support for all aspects of the RFP process, to access to software to augment and streamline the capabilities of your existing staff, and everything in between.
In addition to technology there are other ways you can work smarter and free up time.
When you don’t have enough “hands on deck”, you may find that you need more than just eSourcing technology help and it may make sense to bring in an outside resource. When considering this as an option, you should ensure they have first-hand knowledge of your organization and come armed with extensive category knowledge to complete the most critical and time-consuming responsibilities of the RFP process including:
- Gathering and validating spend & utilization data from current suppliers.
- Writing RFPs.
- Creating detailed analyses of supplier proposals.
You can also offload the mundane administrative tasks to an outside resource such as dealing with vendor phone calls and emails which are often unplanned and have a large potential to disrupt productivity in the daily workflow.
Though often taken for granted in productivity calculations, simply by having an external partner as the front line for fielding supplier inquiries during the RFP process alone can lead to significant time savings. From the moment your initiative is kicked off, all suppliers would be instructed to direct their inquiries to the appropriate contact so that they can be consolidated and filtered prior to reaching supply chain. During this process, your partner can make sure that all participating suppliers understand the rules of engagement, from restrictions on contacting to end users, to assisting them with submitting their proposals through a sealed online e-Sourcing platform. While acting in this “gatekeeper” capacity, it should be made clear (and hopefully goes without saying) that your partner will assume no authority to make decisions on behalf of the health system.
Using an outside resource to take on these laborious tasks will help shorten the contracting cycle time. In addition, stakeholders will benefit by being able to focus on the most critical pricing & service level details of the category being sourced and base the ultimate award decision off of an extremely robust and digestible synthesis of the relevant data detailing exactly how each supplier’s proposal will impact your organization from a financial and operational standpoint.
Overall, working with the right partner should feel like an extension of your staff, and will free up time so your team can concentrate on other tasks and increase overall department throughput.
The irony of this blog post is that if you had time to read this far you may have more than enough time on your hand. Or the truer reality may be that your team is able to handle your existing categories just fine, but think of how much more your team could process and save with the right eNegotiation solution in place. 24% average savings three times faster. That is a powerful value proposition.
If you want to learn more about eSourcing and could some help with the heavy lifting of your contracting efforts in order to help you maximize the productivity and efficiency of your staff, and simply put, help you do more, with more. Contact us at www.medpricer.com. We can share powerful testimonials of the great things we are doing with our customers to maximize productivity and savings.
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