The Benefits of Lean Inventory Management for Stockrooms
Lean management originated in Toyota’s quest for the perfect manufacturing process in the auto industry. In the 1940s, Toyota implemented ...Read Post
Johnny Gacio joined FastMD over two years ago as a stem cell technician, but he was also tasked with implementing a more efficient and accurate method of accounting for inventory usage and quantity within all four locations.
“We needed an alternative to manual walkthroughs of inventory,” he says, referring to the previous system of having one person drive to every location (over 120 miles roundtrip) and personally count each item for the inventory report. “We needed a technology to tell us when we were running low so that we could spend time ordering instead of counting things.”
With an average of 250 items or more at each location — including personal protective equipment (PPE) syringes, needles, tape, etc. — the previous system was hugely inefficient. “Your whole day was gone before getting to the ordering phase, which had been a totally manual process, as well,” Johnny says.
FastMD had been using a different inventory management app, but the software felt clunky because it required separate handheld scanners. It also didn't have the features nor support FastMD needed. Staff were reluctant to use it because it was so complicated. “That process wasn’t refined, which seemed to discourage usage and take up time,” Johnny says.
Because FastMD performs surgical procedures within their facilities, inventory item availability is essential. “If an item is needed in our OR, our doctors expect it immediately. That’s why we needed our scanning system to be as simple and easy-to-use as possible.”
When FastMD discovered eTurns, things became much easier and simpler because the team could use the tablets they already had in the offices.
Johnny uses the eTurns app to check which items’ quantities are low, and reorder as necessary based on upcoming surgeries and each locations’ minimum inventory levels. “A week in advance, we look at eTurns, see what quantities are low, and see what we need to order,” Johnny says. “There’s less chance of something missing for that surgery day. Plus, every time we scan something out, our COO gets reports on pulls for that day.”
One of the benefits of working with eTurns was the ability to run reports that tell the value of everything within the office storage rooms. “That’s something management had wanted to see for a while,” Johnny says.
In the healthcare industry, the availability of the right products is essential to ensuring that patients are properly cared for. Having real-time data about supplies on hand, as well as the value of those supplies, can also help stabilize income and clarify net profit.
For FastMD, eTurns demystified the cost associated for every item for each surgical day. “If we made X dollars from a surgery, then we’d also know right away that we spent Y dollars on inventory,” Johnny says. In this way, eTurns clarified FastMD’s net profit on a weekly basis by helping show the actual cost and revenue from each surgery.
FastMD COO Lindsey Wisniewski finds this aspect of the eTurns service to be a big benefit when it comes to transparency. Reports on inventory received and inventory pulled are sent to her on a monthly basis wherein she can view costs associated with the month's surgeries, as well as the value of inventory on hand.
“Since eTurns gives me a report on the cost of supply utilization for each surgical day plus total usage per month, I am able to keep a pulse on our net surgical profit consistently and without burning up too much of my time. It is great to track all procedure material costs and our real-time inventory status and value to determine how best to proceed through the various regulations and requirements arising out of COVID-19. Since our inventory manager is now 30% more efficient with his time, I can have him spend additional time focusing on the other qualities that make FastMD unique,” Lindsey says.
The time savings, scheduled reporting, and convenience eTurns provided FastMD has been one of its biggest benefits. “Being able to jump on eTurns and filter by quantity to get a better picture of overall inventory has been huge,” Johnny says. “That convenience in and of itself is why we needed eTurns.”
Johnny no longer needs to get in the car and drive to separate locations. Now, he can check the eTurns TrackStock App, query low items, and order exactly what the offices need for the upcoming week of surgery. In fact, FastMD increased its efficiency by 30%, saving 10-12 man hours per week thanks to eTurns.
Another benefit of eTurns is the ability to easily check inventory at other offices. Because eTurns tracks all inventory items across multiple locations, the FastMD team can transfer items from one location to another. This is especially useful during the COVID-19 pandemic, when making use of existing inventory rather than ordering new can save money.
eTurns helped FastMD get on track with a more efficient, accurate way of inventory tracking. With the COVID-19 pandemic, this came at the perfect time. As a group of surgical centers, FastMD had to make some immediate changes in the way it has operated during the coronavirus pandemic.
“eTurns TrackStock helped us reallocate our existing inventory levels to keep our business operating while ensuring that we were able to support our community and local first-responders by deeply scaling back our PPE supply orders. Evaluating what we had on hand allowed us to donate some necessary items to those in our community and even first responders in New York City who needed them most,” Lindsey says.
With eTurns, FastMD has reliable and accurate reports indicating that orders are down due to fewer surgeries. “We’ve postponed PPE orders. That is reflected in the reports,” Johnny says. FastMD is confident they have complied with the directive to do fewer surgeries and use less PPE.
When FastMD implemented eTurns in one location, doing the same for two subsequent locations was smooth and simple. “Using the same file of information and knowing item 101, for example, was the same item from office to office has helped us to be far more efficient.”
FastMD plans to continue implementing eTurns in its remaining location later this year.
Want an eTurns demo? Contact us here.