The limited articles publishing facts and metrics for hospital supply chain staffing presents a gap of the what, where, and why of supply chain labor. The supply chain manager may believe having a person working in each task is the most efficient use of staffing without matching each person’s productive hours to overall productivity. In almost every hospital measured, we found the supply chain manager’s perspective may be the biggest obstacle to the department having lean and productive staffing.

At one large health system, we analyzed buyers in terms of best practice PO line per year total across facilities. The average metric came back at 36,785 PO lines per year per person doing purchasing or buyer tasks. What we realized after comparing staffing is the same metric applies to a receiver because they are receiving what the buyers buy.

It appears that correcting pricing and processing customer POs is similar in processing time per PO to receiving processing time. Therefore, this metric can serve the same purpose for receiving. However, there may be hospitals that are inefficient on materials management information systems (MMIS) numbers for routine items or redundant paper requisitions (rather than using electronic requisitions), resulting in manual entry and edit time to process, extending the processing time on the buyer’s side.

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Author: Charles Taylor