In dire times like we are facing right now caused by the CoVID-19 pandemic, most hospitals are running out of PPE or personal protective equipment. It is causing many troubles, putting the healthcare workers at risk of contracting the virus, crippling the healthcare system.
On the other hand, hoarding PPE will have adverse effects, too. Since most manufacturers control their supplies, buying too much, PPE may cause a shortage, leaving other hospitals and establishments with less or nothing to buy at all.
The best way to work with this problem is to find the best PPE inventory management solutions to ensure that every healthcare worker is well protected. A good inventory management solution can balance your PPE supply – not too much and not too few.
The best strategy to balance your supply is based on your unique needs and how you manage procurement and how you use it.Below are some inventory management solutions that may work for your needs.
Same or next-day PPE delivery
Working with a supplier that can make deliveries PPE the next day, the exact day you need it is the simplest form of inventory management for PPE. You don’t need to stock PPE for future use, and call your supplier any time you think your supply is running low.
This approach is ideal for small hospitals or clinics that place small or limited quantities of PPE. However, this approach only works as an inventory management solution if you have a supplier with items ready for immediate dispatch.
Remember to look for suppliers that can provide an OTIF (On Time in Full) dispatch data.
If you need a higher PPE volume, making multiple orders every month to keep up with your demand can be very expensive and inefficient. The consignment approach solves this problem. This type of approach will allow your supplier to take control of your on-site stocked and keep your inventory replenished.
With consignment, your PPE supplier will check your stock levels and tops up your inventory regularly. You will never run out of stock, and you will find your storeroom well-stocked based on your agreed quantities.
With consignment, you will be charged once every month for the stock you have used for the previous month. The good thing about this approach is you don’t need to tie up capital in stock, and you don’t have to place an order to replenish your storeroom.
Also known as a virtual warehouse, buffer stock is an additional inventory held by your supplier for you. Stocks will be allocated exclusively for your use and pay for it as you order them.
With buffer stock, you are ensured that even the most special PPE will be available for you within 24 hours. If your people suddenly need an item with higher quality or special features, you can rest assured that you will have the items even in the event of an unpredictable spike on demand occurs.
Moreover, this approach is the best solution to delays caused when products need branding. Customization may take around two to three days to finish. The best supplier for this type of inventory management is willing to store a large quantity of pre-branded PPE ready to be delivered anytime.
This is also a good choice for more extensive businesses who need their specialist PPE to be available at short notice. Additionally, you don’t need to pay for the items in advance. However, your supplier must know you work and project the right quantity of stock that you need.
Vending solutions is one of the most popular ways of PPE inventory management solutions. Instead of having a stock room filled with PPE, the vending machine provides more control over PPE issuance with a complete record over who uses what.
Vending comes with unique advantages. It utilizes ID tags or swipe cards to get a PPE. Vending machines are placed in a central area, reminding the wearers to wear their PPE at all times. In most cases, a vending solution can alleviate the need for a stock person, saving you money.
Moreover, a vending machine can be used for more oversized items that would not fit in a machine. An unmanned store with controlled access can offer self-service PPE issuance, even after hours.
The supplier is the most important thing to consider when you are choosing the right inventory management solution. If the supplier understands your options and is willing to know how your business works, they can offer the best advice and guidance in selecting the best solution for you.
Author: Darcy Reed