Expert Tips: Master ASC Supply Chain Management Efficiency

Effectively managing the supply chain is extremely important in the ambulatory surgery center (ASC) space, and becoming efficient at it can save your center tens of thousands of dollars annually. Along with the supply chain, other big decisions regarding expense management, strategic sourcing, and contracting decisions need to be made. Depending on the ASC, this responsibility may fall on different or multiple staff members; they all play a crucial role in determining how ASC funds are allocated, selecting supplies, setting price points, and ensuring adequate inventory for the cases your center manages.

Several ASCs still manage their supply chain in the old-fashioned way, using manual processes using Excel spreadsheets and paying with paper checks. While those methods might have been effective early on, they are not scalable today, given the high volumes of ASC cases, frequent price changes, and backordered items.

According to Tonia Kraus, VP Head of Strategic Supplier Engagement at triValence, featured in Becker’s Healthcare, with 30+ years in non-acute healthcare leadership and 20+ years as an executive in group purchasing organizations, “Automation and new technology platforms help ASCs drive greater efficiency and increased cost savings and manage all the heavy lifting. Staying ahead of the game and being informed will help a center better manage their supplies and operational costs.”

Tonia’s advice for achieving greater efficiency includes taking advantage of price decreases with suppliers when possible, as ASCs should not leave money on the table. In addition to direct contracts and leveraging GPOs, ASCs should negotiate early payment terms with manufacturers and distributors; discounts vary based on supplier, supply volume, spending, and payment terms. She also recommends maintaining solid relationships and conducting annual business reviews with key suppliers for contract connectivity, optimal pricing, and terms and conditions. 

Tonia advocates that ASCs would benefit from automation and the implementation of an all-in-one supply chain and expense management platform to gain financial visibility. This will ensure that ASCs validate pricing and contract connectivity and reduce the need for manual audits and verification, allowing centers to save up to 50% of staff time and 10-15% of supply costs. 

In the dynamic landscape of ASCs, adopting modern supply chain solutions is not just a choice but a necessity. Automation and advanced platforms not only enhance efficiency and cost savings but also position ASCs to navigate the complexities of contemporary healthcare. Stay ahead of the curve, leverage technology, and maximize your ASC’s potential for success.

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