Shaping new behaviors for integrated resource planning must include
a new measurement system in which each health care facility is
focused on supply chain processes. These are measurements that
establish new cultural norms and expectations, and measurements that
behavior and standards of performance. It is important to change the
processes before trying to implement system improvements, or else
you wind up with project teams in constant conflict. Project team
members will have different ideas, expectations, and measurements
brought in from the unaligned organization.
There is one rule that all project management educators and experts
agree on: Lack of employee ownership of the process will end in
expensive disappointment and/or failure. Use project objectives to
justify outside education and training in best practices, or
utilize reliable software training applications. Involvement in
education and training often helps soften attitudes against change
and opens the opportunity for process ownership. How do you know you
won't like it if you don't try it?
Designing the New System Requirements
Align organizational measurements and goals. Enforce procedures.
Provide rewards and, most importantly, create a formal
communications loop—a diverse forum representing all players—to
raise, address, and settle business issues in nonthreatening ways.
Implement a reliable decision-making process to resolve major
business questions. Use information system tools to identify and
document information flows and key milestones. And most importantly:
educate, educate, educate and train, train, train.
Continuous improvement and monitoring of the new system is reality.
Your system will never be perfect. As it grows, document process
performance. Set a performance baseline for tracking and reference
for assessment at a later date. Use benchmarking as a change
management tool. Know thyself; question existing practices. Trace
the value chain: are you getting what you need and expect? Identify
best practices, aiming for reasonable efficiency and effectiveness
(never 100 percent). Identify causes and effects within your roles
and processes. Why are you doing what you are doing in the way in
which you are doing it?
Standards of Performance Like What, for Example?
• Like measurements that embrace supply chain management best
practices and the APICS body of knowledge
• Like measurements that require procedure flow charts and
coordination with all stakeholders when implementing supply chain
• Like vendor performance measurements that promote dependable
deliveries and reduced lead times, rather than contingency storage
• Like measurements that allow/require cross-functional
participation in product standardization, new product introduction,
and old product phaseout.
Focus on decentralization. That is, getting everyone closer to the
supply chain. All employees need to be made aware of how they make
demands on the supply chain and ultimately need to become part of
the supply chain solution. We in health care need to learn from
other industry successes. Process ownership within health care seems
to be a novelty. Many players don't take ownership or see themselves
apart from those who manage and integrate supply-demand chain
resources. Departmentalization needs to fall by the wayside and
sharing of process steps needs to tightly map against supply chain
integration points. ERP solutions have already provided real
examples of supply integration that have already proven successful,
for example, an employee keying in an online requisition keying in
detailed order information directly sourced from a single data table
or item master within the system. Every time a specific item is
ordered the data is consistent. Everyone works off the same item
master reaping benefits of product consistency.
Clearly, developing a single item master for the whole institution
is an incredible task, but a goal that is already proving to be
cost-efficiencies of a process-centered solution. Other ERP goals
are to formalize more item master processes with clear and
enforceable rales and definitions. We want to expand bar code usage
as a means of product identification and replacement for manual data
entry. We want to promote and implement e-commerce and universal
product numbers. We want to get better, more useful information out
of the system that more people can really use. We want to implement
and use workflow routings, approvals, conferencing, and networking
within our own walls. We believe that embracing and applying
technology upgrades will drive a lot of our integration and
inherently change legacy systems.
To Be Continued
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