Robert W. Yokl
As we begin this New Year of 2016, I thought I would offer my view on how to get unstuck from the endless loop of our supply/value chain worlds. The goal would be to freshen up, enthuse, and motivate yourself and your teams to get even more results than you ever thought possible in less time with less effort.
- Refresh Your Strategic Value Analysis Plan: The beginning of a calendar year is a good time to refresh your strategic plan for your value analysis team. It is too easy to get caught up in the endless motion of the value analysis process but as they say, “A professional must go back to basics at least once a year.” Going back to basics for a VA leader is to go back and revisit your strategic plan to see if you have accomplished your goals to date and are on track to meet your goals for the rest of your upcoming year as well. More importantly, try to look to the future (6 months, 1 year, 3 years, etc.). This is key to your short and long term success! As the healthcare supply chain makes the switch to utilization versus price savings, make sure you incorporate your next actionable steps in your VA strategic plan now and in the future.
- Don’t Ignore Education: There is nothing better to improve your focus, your teams’ focus, and to enhance your quality improvement and savings programs than to offer quality training for you and your teams. One of the reasons we get caught in the loop is that we only have the knowledge that we have. We must always push ourselves forward to gain the next level or we will get caught up in the muck. Always be on the lookout for new and better training techniques, webinars, certifications, and the like. This will keep your perspectives moving forward.
- Advance Your Technology Tools: If I had to spend all of my 24 years as a value analysis professional using only Word and Excel documents they would have had to lock me up and throw away the key because that would have just created insanity for me. I imagine that many of you feel the same and are eager to find the “better mouse trap.” There are so many great tools, software, and knowledge bases out there to choose from that, in many cases, are customized to your value analysis program, but you have to look and be open to new and better tools. Changing to new tools may have some challenges but the results will be worth it.
- Eliminate Your Bottlenecks: I remember a number of years back we had our own National Best Price Database comparisons (we still have those). Our team used to spend hours and hours on making comparisons and benchmark savings recommendations. It was great that we had a database to look up these items but it was such a drain on time and resources to accomplish this. I decided to show the database to my programmer and told him about the bottleneck issue. He came up with a fix in less than three hours ($375 programming time charge) that turned a job that was 15-20 hours into less than 10 minutes. Plus, it was more accurate and showed more savings for our customers! Seek out the tools that will eliminate your bottlenecks.
Whether you take note of the suggestions above or not, to be successful in the value analysis and supply utilization world today you must push yourself and your programs to new levels. Keep it fresh, keep it fun if you can, and remember to enjoy the process!