Every single day Healthcare Providers across the country receive and process thousands of inbound deliveries. While this is part of everyday life for supply chain professionals, the realities of tracking hundreds and thousands of packages from the point of receipt to final delivery can be a highly manual and often an error-prone process. Moreover, a misplaced package can result in delays, shortages, and in some cases even having to cancel or postpone a procedure.
When you think about the ease with which you can track orders from your favorite online retailer, it's not unreasonable for internal healthcare customers to expect the same of their supply chain team. The reality is, we have all grown accustom to emails and push notifications alerting us to a completed delivery, along with signature tracking and even photo confirmation. In the age of nearly real-time visibility to packages and deliveries, isn’t it time that we offer internal stakeholders the same level of service?
Healthcare Inventory Tracking and Deliveries
During the Oracle Healthcare Industry User Group (HIUG) 2020 Interact Conference, RF-SMART presented alongside UWHealth as they discussed their journey from PeopleSoft to Oracle Cloud, using RF-SMART Mobile Materials Management. A key piece of the puzzle was specifically how they leveraged technology to get a better handle on delivery tracking. The session, “Eliminating the Supply Chain Black Hole: How to Ensure Visibility from Dock to Destination in your Facility,” was a chance to discuss with attendees about the challenges faced by many hHealthcare Providers relative to tracking packages from the dock all the way to the final delivery point.
Most attendees indicated they do not have a process in place to track packages from receipt to final delivery or that they utilize a manual process, such as collecting signatures on paper at time of delivery. While there is no question that nearly every healthcare Provider is processing receipts of Purchase Orders (POs) in their MMIS or ERP system, that is often the final checkpoint before the product is sent for delivery to a department or end-user. While this process helps to ensure the product did in-fact arrive, it is largely a supply chain and financial transaction that provides little insight to end-users about where the package’s whereabouts are after it leaves the receiving professional’s hands.
During the presentation, we discussed RF-SMART's end-to end mobile supply chain solutions for Oracle Healthcare, including Healthcare Package Delivery Tracking. Using our Delivery solution for healthcare supplies deliveries, UWHealth and other RF-SMART customers are able to log each and every package as soon as it arrives on the dock and then track that package through every step of the process: logging, PO receipt, staging, and ultimately delivery. Upon delivery, photos or recipient information can be captured all with the goal of providing near real time visibility. As we discussed with attendees during the presentation, the efficiencies created with a streamline mobile delivery solution have greatly increased productivity. Data visibility in the form of the Delivery Console has also given greater range of decision making for day-to-day operations.
How Does It Work?
Given the Delivery solution is fully integrated to Oracle Cloud, much of the data already exists and very little data entry is required to enable this process. So how does it work?
As inbound shipments arrive at the facility, every package that has a carrier barcode (ie. FedEx, UPS) is logged using a handheld mobile device.
Packages with a PO are routed to the Receiving team and using a handheld device or PC the receiving professional can verify the shipment, process the receipt, and create a delivery all in one step. No PO, no problem – a delivery can also be created ad hoc.
A delivery label is then printed and affixed to the package with clear information on the label about where the product is going and to whom.
The delivery can be staged to a cart by a simple scan of the delivery label.
When the delivery is completed, a delivery agent can scan the delivery label and capture a photo or recipient name using a mobile device. The device works in offline mode in case the delivery is occurring in an area without WiFi or mobile data coverage and will auto-synch when back in coverage.
The best part is, not only is the package tracked at each step along the way, but end-users across the organization can see the status in real-time in a simple to use console without endless calls and trips to the receiving dock. As the audience confirmed, having this type of visibility into deliveries can dramatically improve operations and help to eliminate the blackhole.
Want to learn more about RF-SMART and delivery tracking?
About the Author: Bill Brewer currently serves as Healthcare Product Manager at RF-SMART in Jacksonville, Florida. In this role Bill is responsible for overseeing RF-SMART’s healthcare supply chain strategy and roadmap. Prior to his appointment at RF-SMART, Bill served as Regional Director, Materials Management at USPI/Tenet Healthcare. He has also served in supply chain leadership roles at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center UFHealth, and University of Missouri Healthcare. Brewer holds a Master of Health Administration and a Master of Science in Health
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