The Benefits of Lean Methodologies for Healthcare Supply Chain Management

/ By DSI Marketing TeamApril 12, 2023

Within any industry, waste is one of the greatest factors that affect all aspects of the organization. In healthcare, this is omnipresent. By reducing the total waste that occurs within an organization, one can drastically decrease the number of resources and unnecessary expenditure that occurs at all levels.

Having the right procedures and processes in place to combat this waste is essential for the organization to find growth. Lean methodologies were first created by Taiichi Ohno of Toyota. Although this methodology originated from the manufacturing industries, its principles of waste reduction can be used within any industry, especially that of the healthcare sector.

Lean methodologies follow seven fundamental concepts of how to reduce waste within an organization and how it can benefit an organization. Let's have a closer look at what lean methodologies are and how they can benefit an organization.

What Do Lean Methodologies Mean?

Lean methodology is a system that attempts to streamline processes and focuses on a quality-driven approach toward customers, payers, and patients. The main idea of the Lean system is to reduce waste throughout the entire organization.

While waste can come in the form of a physical product, waste can also be created in many different non-physical forms.

The seven fundamental waste reduction steps that the Lean system aims to tackle are:

  1. Waste created from over-processing - This comes in the form of taking unnecessary steps and resources to assist patients that do not add value.
  2. Waste from injury and movement - An unnecessary movement that takes up too much time creates a waste of energy that could be focused elsewhere. The more movement exists, the higher chance of injury can occur.
  3. Waste from overproduction - This waste is created from the overproduction of something, which could mean that there is redundancy within the supply chain or certain unnecessary process are undertaken which could be time spent in other facets of the organization.
  4. Transportation waste - This is the time and resources needed to move patients, medical supplies, medical equipment, and other essential resources needed for a given task.
  5. Inventory waste - When medical supplies are over-purchased or underused, this can cause the most common form of waste. Many healthcare facilities often order more stock than is needed or do not have the right inventory management procedures in place.
  6. Defect waste - Defects are another form of inventory waste. Having the right processes in place to identify defects can streamline other processes and provide the organization with a return on the valuable resources used to acquire these supplies.
  7. Waste created from idling and standing around - When the team idles, this can create a large amount of waste within the organization. Meetings can go on longer due to members not being present or late, patients may require longer treatment times due to idling healthcare professionals, and waiting lists may drastically extend due to idle processes.

The Lean methodology requires all members of the organization to be attuned to its systems in order for it to be truly successful. When this methodology is effectively implemented in the organization, waste can be reduced across the board and productivity can increase drastically.

Benefits of Lean for Healthcare Supply Chain Management

The Lean methodology not only requires all members to be on board with its teachings but also for the organization to be completely aware of what is going on throughout its day-to-day operations.

Close analyses and systems of measure are always necessary, and if this is done correctly, the organization can reap a range of benefits. Let's have a closer look at some of these benefits.

Streamline the Supply Chain Processes

The supply chain forms the fundamental basis for any operation. Without a stable supply chain, processes and tasks may become severely bottlenecked.

When a healthcare facility correctly implements the Lean methodology, the supply chain can receive noticeable streamlined benefits. This thus increases productivity and efficiency when conducting tasks at all levels.

Reduced Waste

Since the main goal of the Lean methodology is to tackle waste at all levels, reducing this factor can greatly assist the organization in staying on the right track. When waste is present within an organization, noticeable detriments can greatly affect day-to-day tasks.

Waste can severely cripple the efficiency of tasks, deeply affect the availability of resources, lower morale, and hurt productivity. When waste is reduced within the organization, these drawbacks find a positive change.

Tasks get completed efficiently, resources are more readily available, morale increases and productivity finds a much-needed boost.

Increased Cost Savings

Money is a healthcare facility's greatest resource. When funds are readily available and easily accessible, tasks such as acquiring needed resources become easier and patients can receive the assistance they need, when they need it.

Having funds readily accessible also allows for the healthcare facility to bolster facets and processes that may be struggling due to neglect. This strengthens the facility across the board and allows the organization to tackle large-scale issues as they arise with less difficulty.

Improved Quality of Care

Patient care forms the basis of any healthcare facility. When a healthcare professional is able to assist a patient the moment that they need help, this improves the quality of care and satisfaction that they receive.

Having the necessary resources present and the efficiency to seamlessly conduct tasks is a crucial means for any healthcare organization to find success.

Get the Benefits of Lean Methodologies When You Hire Distribution Systems International Today!

At Distribution Systems International, we lead a team of supply chain management professionals that specialize in assisting healthcare organizations with their waste reduction and cost-saving needs.

Through years of experience, innovative problem-solving solutions, and state-of-the-art technology, we have positioned ourselves as an industry leader in assisting those that assist others.

Healthcare organizations often have a lot on their plate, and being able to tackle hindered processes within the organization whilst meeting patient demand can be a difficult task to undertake.

Getting in touch with us at Distribution Systems International is the first step toward receiving the supply chain management assistance that your healthcare facility truly needs.

By implementing systems such as the Lean methodologies, or even the Kanban inventory management system, your healthcare organization can reap major benefits that will increase productivity and streamline the efficiency of tasks across the board.

To learn more about our services, contact us at 800-393-6090 at Distribution Systems International today!

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