3 Questions to Ask Yourself (And Your Staff) Before Placing Your Next Supply Order

Keeping your hospital’s supply room fully stocked is imperative to running an effective and safe operation. Every supply order that you place needs to accurately reflect the needs of your hospital, predicting usage volume and preparing for unexpected procedures.

It’s likely that you’re spending so much time trying to keep your head above water that you haven’t considered your supply ordering process in awhile. Are you relying on old habits to inform your purchasing, or are you taking a step back to collect timely qualitative and quantitative data to make the right call?

Today, we’re talking through the three questions you need to ask yourself (and your staff) before you place your next medical supply order for your hospital. Your responses will result in a more accurate picture of what your hospital system is using, what you’re wasting, and what you need to monitor more closely.

What supplies do we run out of too quickly?

As the manager of your hospital system’s supplies and equipment, you probably have an analytical answer to this question. You know which items you’re ordering more than the others, but do you know which equipment and supplies hospital staff wish they had more of? They are the ones reaching for supplies, day after day, and by asking this simple question you’ll be able to tell which supplies they feel like they’re always searching for. You know it all too well – out of stock supplies can lead to tragic results in a hospital setting. By asking your staff what supplies they worry about having around, you’ll prevent disaster.

What supplies expire on our supply room shelves month after month?

As you’re completing your periodical audits, are you finding specific supplies that have expired each and every time? Are there simply some pieces of equipment that have never been used (and have gone out of date) and probably never will be? Asking your staff these questions is a good place to start before you place your next supply order.

Items that frequently expire in your supply room do not need to be purchased as often. By reducing your order size on these lesser-used items, you’ll save your hospital system money and decrease your waste.

How accurate is our expiration date management system?

If you’re using a 2-bin or a manual system, you’re inviting human error into the mix. Your supply order may not be accurate if you’re using a manual system, as you may still have expired products in your supply room that need to be replaced or removed from your order list altogether.

Unless you’re running a full audit every month, there are likely expired items on your shelves that could be potentially used on a patient. Implementing a software expiration date management solution can help you protect your hospital system from this risk and liability. As a bonus, you’ll have access to quick, thorough reports on your inventory so you have a better understanding of which products expire often and which are frequently out of stock, along with proactive alerts that let you know when an item is about to expire.