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Practices of Supply Management

This chapter would first look into the current practices of supply management in the American healthcare industry. In the previous chapter, it was seen that all respondents generally agreed with the fact that the following tools of supply management are being used in the healthcare industry: (1) the Global Location Network; (2) the United Nations Standard Products and Services Code; (3) the Global Trade Item Number; (4) the Global Data Synchronization Network; and (5) the Radio Frequency Identification.

These results supported the findings of researchers such as Burke (2007), Sargent (n. d. ), DeJohn (2008), Garvin (2006) and the articles written and published in the Healthcare Resource and Management News (2005) as well as in Materials Management in Healthcare (2006). Without a doubt, the incorporation of these practices in the healthcare industry is brought about by their recognition of the importance of supply management practices, McCormack and Lockamy (2004) discusses.

They feel that it is through the proper management of supplies that the industry and its member institution hopes to solve their problems such as the increasing levels of global competition; satisfying the demands of their customers and their employees; the shrinking product life cycles; and finally, the decrease in acceptable response

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times. Aside from this, the use of the said tools to effectively manage supplies within the healthcare industry could bring about other positive benefits such as the following, as enumerated by GS1 (2007), considered to be the owner of all global standards for all the industries.

First, the use of such would be essential in tracking the different products and materials physically. Second, the adoption of such practices would contribute in reducing the disputes between the partners belonging to the supply chain which may be accompanied with the proper coordination of orders, receipts and other invoices. Third, these practices would allow for the elimination of inputs that are accidentally duplicated.

Fourth, it would help in saving time that is usually devoted to the preparation of products, its shipping and receiving. Fifth, it could also pave the way for the improvement in tracing the products which could also help in eliminating the risks that the patients of the healthcare industry may encounter. Sixth, this could also enable the targeted and efficient management of those products that are subject to recalls. Seventh, it would pave the way for the improvement of the quality of service that medical care units provide.

Lastly, the use of the aforementioned practices allows the members of the American healthcare industry to record their data, thereby improving the quality of information that they have as well as the synchronization of data. It was Scalise (2006) who first discussed the importance of the Radio Frequency Identification Technology or the RFID. In the fourth chapter, the results of the study reveal that all respondents agreed that the RFID is being used in the healthcare industry, with a mean of 4. 93 and a standard deviation of 0.

25 which was obtained from the responses of the survey participants. Scalise (2006) noted that this particular supply management tool promises so much in improving the efficiency of the supply chain for it includes devices which can be used to track assets, allows for the better management of improvement and finally, to improve the safety of the patients. This is being widely used by members of other industries. More notable users of the RFID include the Department of Defense of the United States of America as well as Wal-Mart.

The practices of the aforementioned then contributed to their success and this eventually influenced healthcare organizations. However, its adoption among healthcare organizations has been limited (Scalise, 2006). The Global Location Network is also being used within the American healthcare industry. The importance of such is also widely recognized amongst the members of the said industry. The survey respondents rated the presence of such in the previous chapter and their responses produced a mean of 4. 96 with a standard deviation of 0. 20, thus only showing that this has been widely used in the industry.

Its importance lies in the ability of such as it also guarantees the organizations to aid in trade processes, reduce costs and errors and most importantly, to improve the safety of the patients. Nonetheless, as Sargent (n. d. ) pointed out, there must be significant improvements made in the manner by which this tool is used in order to ensure its contributions to the efficiency of the processes of supply management. The United Nations Standard Products and Services Code is also being widely used in the healthcare industry, as discussed by Sargent (n. d.

), the article published in the Materials Management in Healthcare (2006) as well as in the results of the survey that has been earlier presented. Once again, this supply management tool obtained 5 (strongly agree) as the highest rating given by the respondents and only 4 (agree) as the lowest. Because of this, it produced a mean of 4. 93, with a standard deviation of 0. 26, only showing that many healthcare organizations have indeed recognized the importance of the United Nations Standard Products and Services Code in helping them make their processes of managing supplies more efficient.

The Global Trade Identification Number also becomes of high significance in the healthcare industry, as discussed by Sargent (n. d. ) and Gavin (2006). Basically, this is a system by which identification numbers are provided for most trade items, products and other services. It is from this point that healthcare institutions wish to make use of the barcode strategy. As discussed in the fourth chapter of this study, this particular supply management tool received 5 (strongly agree) as the highest rating given and 1 (strongly disagree) as the lowest, thus producing a mean of 4.

91 and a standard deviation of 0. 35, showing that they in general, agree that the global trade identification number is indeed being used in the American healthcare industry. This quite disagrees with the claim of Sargent (n. d. ) which said that there are only a significant number of institutions that make use of integrated systems of total inventory, leading to one of the challenges of global trade identification number as a tool for the management of supplies.

The last tool of supply management covered in this stud was the Global Data Synchronization Network which was also evaluated by the respondents, producing a mean of 4. 92 with a standard deviation of 0. 27. This shows once again that all respondents recognized the presence of such within the healthcare industry. This generally helps the members of the healthcare industry in managing and sharing vital information, thus being the reason why the different organizations are making use of this tool to efficiently manage the supply chain.

Without a doubt, the results of the study concurs with the findings of previous researchers with regard to the adoption of tools of supply management that are considered to be essential due to its ability to produce benefits for the different organizations of healthcare. However, the result, to some extent, also invalidates the claim of other researchers such as Sargent (n. d. ) who mentioned that not all members of the healthcare industry incorporate these tools into their supply management practices. However, the researcher recognizes the possibility that the research done by other scholars may have been outdated to this point.

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