The Benefits of Implementing Kanban System in Healthcare Supply Chains

/ By DSI Marketing TeamApril 10, 2023

Managing the stock levels within a healthcare organization is paramount in meeting patient demands. Without the right amount of stock at the right time, an organization may fail to completely meet the need that is present.

In order to consistently meet this need for patient demand, healthcare facilities have to adapt and implement innovative means of tracking stock that is on the shelf. The Kanban system is an effective means of tracking stock that has been used whilst also ensuring that there is a constant flow of supply to the organization.

This guide will have a closer look at the Kanban system and the potential benefits that it may provide for a healthcare facility.

What is Kanban System?

The Kanban system is a form of inventory management that is highly effective within the healthcare industry. This method of stock checking is visual in nature. The Kanban system often utilizes two bins for stock that alternate between one another.

This system is effective because it allows all the stock to be used, without one or two medical supplies being left on the shelf. A common means of unnecessary expenditure within the healthcare sector involves the inefficient use of medical supplies.

This often happens when certain suppliers are purchased but left on the shelf for long durations of time.

Much like many other products, healthcare supplies also have a limited shelf life. When a new stock comes in, the old stock can often be pushed to the back and remain unused for a long duration of time.

This results in a gradual yet great loss for the organization because additional resources are required to purchase an unnecessary quantity of supplies. The Kanban system is an effective and accurate solution to this problem.

How Does the Kanban System Works?

As previously mentioned, the Kanban system is a visual representation of stock. There are often two bins that are utilized in this system and are rotated between one another. The first bin is where the current stock of a material is gathered from, and the second bin, often empty, is where newly purchased medical supplies are dropped off.

When one bin empties, a note and order are made for additional materials, and the filled bin replaces the now-empty bin. This allows all raw materials to be used whilst also showcasing how much of each medical supply is left over, and ensuring a good flow of materials to the organization.

What are the Benefits of Implementing the Kanban System in Healthcare Supply Chains?

Effectively implementing the Kanban system into a healthcare facility can come with a range of additional benefits. These benefits can include productivity, optimizing workflow, and ensuring that the organization does not encounter unnecessary expenditures.

Let's have a closer look at how the Kanban system can assist a healthcare organization.

Improved Inventory Management

Inventory management is key for any organization, especially so within the healthcare sector. The Kanban system is specially designed to ensure that the task of inventory management is optimized and streamlined by maintaining a consistent inventory level.

Since this is a visual form of inventory management, it makes the process of tracking available stock easier. The rotating bins also provide a visual representation of what stock is needed, what is most used, and what the organization is lacking.

This data can be used to forecast what supplies are in demand and where the bulk of expenditure should be focused.

Increased Efficiency

The Kanban system can greatly improve the efficiency of a healthcare facility. When this system is properly implemented into an organization, it makes the task of finding needed supplies simpler. This speeds up processes and removes the need to find supplies.

When supplies are accurately stored and maintained, the organization has a good grasp on what tasks can and cannot be completed whilst allowing the organization to accurately pinpoint the next actionable steps that it can take.

Efficiency is key within the healthcare sector, and providing patients with the care that they need, when they need it, is the first crucial step toward a successful healthcare facility.

Better Communication and Collaboration

Communication and collaboration are what truly make a team successful. The Kanban system greatly assists a team in understanding what can and cannot be done.

Since this form of inventory management provides visual information instantly, teams can immediately decide what the best course of action should be. This speeds up processes such as raw material procurement, completion of tasks, and the creation of innovative solutions for pressing matters.

Reduced Waste & Cost Reduction

Wasted supplies and excess inventory is one of the greatest inventory costs that a healthcare facility can face. When supplies are not accurately and effectively stored, supplies can often go unused and wasted for a large duration of time.

The Kanban system provides a great means for healthcare facilities to safely, accurately, and effectively store supplies whilst lowering the potential waste that may be created.

Since the rotating bin system is utilized in the Kanban system, healthcare professionals are able to swiftly determine which stock is newer, and thus ensure that the older stock is used before its expiration date.

Reducing waste is a great means for healthcare organizations to improve on financial decisions and free up needed resources that can be focused elsewhere.

Improved Quality and Patient Safety

 As a healthcare provider, the safety of your patients is paramount. Using medical supplies that are expired or nearing their expiration date may endanger patients or prove inefficient in their recovery process.

The Kanban system allows for the accurate tracking of supplies whilst minimizing the potential risks that may come with expiring products. Since raw materials are constantly removed and added to the Kanban system, a healthcare facility can always ensure that each and every material that leaves the storeroom is of the highest possible quality and standard for its patients.

Let Distribution Systems International Help You Implement the Kanban System in Your Healthcare Supply Chains

Having an effective means of storing and tracking your inventory is a crucial step toward the total success of your healthcare organization.

When a system such as the Kanban system is efficiently implemented, the organization may reap a range of benefits that can completely change the organization's structure, decision-making, and landscape.

Through years of our experience and a talented team of supply chain professionals, we are able to optimize and revolutionize any organization’s healthcare supply chain.

To get the help you need in implementing your very own Kanban system that allows your inventory management to perform at peak levels, contact us at 800-393-6090 at Distribution Systems International today!

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