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Healthcare Business Solutions
August 1st, 2014

How can improving the supply chain benefit you?


Last week, we introduced the latest addition to the Cook family: the Supply Chain Improvement Team. We think that dedicating a team to solving supply chain issues will benefit ourselves and our customers, especially because we’re approaching it in a unique way.

The team’s job is to listen and identify opportunities to improve the way we do business with customers. In order to make the changes that are needed in healthcare, we need to hear the specific issues our customers are facing every day as they try to get products from our warehouse to their patients. Then, we develop tools to improve the process. Experiences such as our transition to GS1 standards and e-commerce have taught us that the challenges for one customer are similar to the challenges of many. So we’re trying to scale the solutions we develop so they can be applied across healthcare.

For example, one recent focus of the SCIT team has been freight management. Cook has historically guaranteed overnight shipping at no cost to the customer for orders exceeding $200. However, the vast majority of products are not needed the day after they are ordered. Especially for facilities that are located within a two-to-three day delivery area for ground shipping, a lot of extra cost was being put into managing that freight when the expedited delivery wasn’t all that valuable. We worked with individual hospitals to transition from overnight shipping to ground. This confirmed that managing freight more efficiently would strip extra cost out of the supply chain with no negative impact on patient care. This model can be applied across many hospitals, compounding the savings and creating a more efficient process overall.

Approaching the supply chain in this way allows us to focus on a range of opportunities. Whether it is trying to save a few dollars per transaction by aligning our data systems with a hospital’s, or saving tens of thousands a year on a freight management pilot program. Each of these efforts lowers costs across the healthcare system.

We’ve already learned a lot about what hospitals and health systems are facing, and we’re proud of each forward step we’re taking with our customers. Let us know what we can do to improve your supply chain. We’re listening.