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Getting the Most Out of Your CSC Software


A consolidated service center (CSC) offers health systems the opportunity to leverage scale and increase supply chain efficienciesIt is highly efficient, delivers standardization of work processes across multiple facilities, and can significantly improve service levels to the facilities it serves.  And what’s more, self-distribution provides health systems with the supply chain resiliency to rapidly respond to, and recover from, supply disruption events like COVID-19.   

But how does one leverage their existing and new technologies to ensure they’re getting the most out of their self-distribution strategy?  In planning your CSC as a viable response to the current healthcare environment, here are a few best practices to consider. 


1. Keep the future in mind...and plan for it

How you configure the CSC technologies upfront matters.   

Getting the most out of the CSC in the long run means you’ll need to consider the future needs of your organization. Being underprepared for future change will force you to retrace your steps and redo the setup.  This is not only painful, but it can be costly too.  Taking an agnostic view of the CSC’s operating system, to allow for flexibility along the way, is key. 

For example, choosing a CSC that functions independent of the ERP can give you the ability to support any facility within your health system, regardless of whether or not they are on the same ERP. It will also allow you to support or serve those outside of your health system such as through management agreements, partnerships or joint ventures. 

And given the times we are in; this type of flexibility is crucial. The pandemic has lost health systems and hospitals more than $200 billion in forgone revenue and COVID-19 related costs. These financial hardships have led to an uptick in the acquisition of independent provider groups and hospitals, a trend that is likely to continue. 

The healthcare environment is dynamic, and your CSC should be too. By planning up front your supply chain will be flexible and ready to respond as your health systems requirements evolve over time. 


2. Leverage industry-proven software systems to operate efficiently

To fully realize the benefits of your CSCleveraging your WMS, DMS, and other technology solutions is another point of focus. The systems you deploy and how they are configured and integrated, will impact your ability to achieve greater than 99% service levels and your ability to maximize the financial potential that can be achieved through the self-distribution model. 

Your core operating systems, DMS and WMS, are foundational to maximizing this opportunity. Being able to properly and fully support both the customer facing order-to-cash (OTC) and supplier facing procure-to-pay (P2P) processes is central to this foundation. Through detailed use case development and applying distribution best practices, these systems will allow you to drive supply chain efficiencies with customers and suppliers while at the same time being able to drive funding in ways that are not possible when the wrong operating systems are utilized, or not implemented to their full potential. 

A common and costly mistake is in the setup and configuration of the WMS. Many health systems will take their internal materials management processes and translate those to the distribution center. When transitioning to a self-distribution model it is important to implement best practices from other industries and those that are unique to healthcare. Implemented incorrectly, this can cause high labor costs, poor space utilization and increase the likelihood of service issues. 

You need to leverage other systems as well. Most notably these should include demand planning and forecasting, delivery management, master data management, and sourcing and contracting among others. Collectively, these systems will bring your health systems supply chain from being costly and somewhat reactive to its needs, to a strategic asset that is proactive and drives financial value.  

And keep in mind, as you look to consolidate additional services into your CSC, there are other technologies you will likely need to acquire and potentially integrate. The key is to remain nimble and flexible. 


3. It's all about the data

Turning data into information that is actionable is required in every facet of what we do in healthcare. Actionable data provides intelligence for the supply chain to continue improving and to adapt as needed.  

We’ve all heard the term, “garbage in, garbage out”. If data in the operating systems is not clean and managed poorly it is impossible for the supply chain to operate efficiently and achieve its financial potential. A master data management strategy is a key requirement for success. This includes a rigorous and well-controlled data management process in addition to a master data management solution. Properly deployed, this system should support the various supply chain technologies to include the ERP, EMR, Inventory Management, and Point of Use (POU). 

Another factor is the ability to get to the data, let alone good data. This can be impacted by how the system is configured. Setting up and configuring these systems in a way that the right data can be extracted will help the health system in making meaningful and informed decisions. Access to the right resources on how to fully tap this information can make a huge difference in getting the most out of your supply chain. 

Knowing how to get actionable data out of the system can be another challenge. Think of commonly used software such as Microsoft Excel. Most people can create a worksheet, format it, build formulas, and even develop pivot tables. However, this is only tapping a fraction of what Excel can do. It is no different with supply chain technologies. To get the most out of your operating systems, you need resources that know operations and understand the technologies being utilized. 


4. Continuous improvement through KPIs and metrics

Your organization is looking for supply chain to deliver cost savings while developing flexible strategies to deliver long-term value.  Executed effectively, a consolidated service center can accomplish just that. One more step to getting the most out of your CSC is to measure and improve.    

Having access to resources that understand the technology and know how to operate best in class supply chain operations will help you build the KPI’s and metrics you need to continue elevating your game. 

It is important to realize that one-size does not fit all. While best practices can span industries, each distribution center, and the supply chain that it supports is unique. Constraints based on the physical building, how the warehouse is engineered, what technology is usedand skill sets of deployed resources are just some of the things that can impact the day-to-day operations of your CSC. Defining the right business requirements, extracting the right data, and creating reports and dashboards will allow you to communicate your success and to continue to drive improvements in your operations.  

Not all solutions are optimal for healthcare, so you cannot be too careful in your planning, scrutiny, selection, configuration and integration of these interconnected operating systems. Leverage these best practices, understand your options, and your CSC will be on track to achieve the goals set in your business plan and strategy. 

Interested in learning more about how RiseNow helps IDNs develop their own supply chain system road map?  We’ve implemented more CSCs than any other firm, so we help you avoid common pitfalls and realize your business case.  Visit us at https://www.risenow.com/healthcare