Healthcare procurement always faces evergreen challenges such as controlling costs, managing inventory, and assuring regulatory compliance in an ever-evolving industry. More recent factors that have impacted procurement and accounts payable in the healthcare space have included inflation, staffing difficulties, and supply chain disruptions that place pressure both on everyday operations as well as the organizational bottom line.
Leaders in procurement and accounts payable more than ever understand the value of being proactive and forward-looking. It’s no longer enough to rely on outdated processes and workflows that lack transparency and accountability, don’t deliver up-to-the-moment reporting and oversight, and hinder financial efficiencies. This can be especially true in the upcoming winter months when obstacles and challenges can include:
- Supply Chain Disruptions
Disruptions in the supply chain impact healthcare year-round but can be especially detrimental in the winter months. Winter weather can mean delayed shipments of goods and delayed delivery of services.
- Seasonal Supply Demands
Certain in-demand supplies may become harder to obtain in the procurement process.
- Contingency Planning
During winter emergencies, knowing alternative suppliers and vendors can become key.
- Budgeting Challenges
Rising prices along with operational expenses such as staff overtime and price hikes can have an outsized impact.
- Inventory Fluctuations
The winter season can see a sudden spike in demand for inventory items related to cold and flu season, or winter storms.
Leverage Automated Solutions for Greater Resilience in the Winter Months
Meeting the challenges of the winter months in healthcare procurement and accounts payable is a matter of preparation and flexibility in every step of procure-to-pay processes and workflows. Procurement and AP professionals need every tool at their disposal to ensure adequate supplies of inventory at each facility, contract compliance, the ability to pivot with suppliers and vendors, and accurate and prompt payments to ensure fiscal health.
Automated software solutions in the healthcare procure-to-pay space are key to operational efficiency, resilience, sustainability, and accountability. Professionals in the procurement and accounts payable space are opting for modern, digital processes over outdated paper-based ones. This enables them to have a complete overview of their inventory, access to real-time reporting and alerts, improved contract compliance, a wider range of vendor and supplier options, and centralized invoices and accurate payments that eliminate errors and inefficiencies.
Procure-to-pay automated software solutions maximize the experience and abilities of procurement and accounts payable professionals, which in the winter months means:
- Shoring Up Supply Chain Resilience
In a winter emergency or supply shortfall, automated functions such as Procurement Partners’ Punch-Out Catalog make it easy and efficient to seek out supplies from different vendors.
- Maintaining Total Inventory Visibility
Inventory management with P2P automation means all goods and supplies can be checked and monitored with the push of a button. This eliminates excess inventory and the waste of perishable items, while programmed alerts can let procurement officials know in advance when supplies are low.
- Promoting Fiscal Accountability
Easy-to-use dashboard items such as spend against budget let both finance and procurement know when winter emergencies are placing a strain on fiscal resources.
- Enabling Proactive Planning
Automated procurement solutions make it easy and efficient to identify major cost centers and year-to-year patterns in spending and inventory. This can lead to proactive planning by ordering bulk supplies, recognizing seasonal spikes in prices, and identifying alternate vendors and suppliers in advance of any foreseeable shortfalls in the supply chain.
- Strengthening Accounts Payable Processes
Leveraging AP automation can lead to immediate benefits such as cost savings from duplicative payments. Automated AP also makes sure that invoices and payments are processed accurately and on time, even during wintertime staffing disruptions.
- Driving Contract and Regulatory Compliance
Maintaining solid relationships with vendors and suppliers based on accurate data, transparency, and accountability is key to operations and finance, and P2P automation drives contract compliance in real-time, along with regulatory compliance. Winter emergencies and disruptions that might otherwise throw the procure-to-pay process into turmoil can be managed constructively and proactively.
- Ensuring Availability of Trained Staff
Winter emergencies can make already-strained staff efficiency even more of a major issue, particularly when trained and knowledgeable people miss time at work. Automated healthcare procurement solutions, when backed by the right support, simplify order placement for multiple users on various devices, increasing staffing resiliency.
- Establishing Metrics for Future Resiliency
Tracking key data-driven performance indicators in budgeting, procurement, inventory, and AP enables leaders to accurately identify areas and issues that need improvement as they plan for winters to come.
Looking to Reduce Your Annual Spend?
Procurement Partners helps customers reduce their annual spend by more than 10% with an easy-to-navigate procure-to-pay solution where users can place orders and process invoices for all suppliers. Procurement Partners is the leading procure-to-pay management system for post-acute, non-acute, and continuum of care providers and has helped organizations achieve 40% time savings and 95% supplier contract compliance through automating the procure-to-pay process.