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Why Isn’t My Automated Supply Chain More… Automated?

by | Apr 29, 2019 | Blog Posts

5 Ideas to Increase Order Automation

-by Lanie Farkas


Years ago, I heard a hospital materials manager say – “I love your system. It gives me one place that I can go and print out all my purchase orders, so I can file them in my filing cabinet.” It still makes me smile, and it still makes me wonder – are we doing all we can to get more automated?

In our Best Practices program this month, we took a deep dive into improving Order Creation processes. Because Order Creation is a key foundational piece of better overall order management, it’s worth a quick check-up.
Here are 5 best practice tips to consider:

1. Manage spend by creating an electronic purchase order for everything you buy –

– Include all med-surg, capital, maintenance and service agreements.
– What doesn’t need a PO? A few things like utilities, and travel & entertainment expenses.


2. Build an enterprise-wide product formulary to ensure greater savings and visibility to spend –

– Are you using Envi to identify product consolidation opportunities?
– Have you maximized contract utilization, to take advantage of GPO pricing and discounts?
– Are you directing buyers to contracted items and can you immediately identify off-contract spending?


3. Drive your organization to maximize electronic transactions –

– There’s a simple “food chain” for ordering, moving from greatest efficiency to least:

o Email
o Fax
o Phone orders


4. Create accountability and responsibility at all levels of the purchasing process. Set up users with proper security, roles and responsibilities for approvals of non-standard, non-contract items –

– Do you have a process to make and approve changes to purchase orders?
– Is your team managing orders by exception?
– Have you built in GL classification coding? It gives you more visibility to spend and better analytics.


5. Track and measure!

– Track returns, get credit. It’s simple – create a return PO and track the item back to the vendor, then check back to be sure credit is received.
– Measure vendor performance, including on-time ship rates, backorder and fill rates, and EDI capabilities.


As you improve best practice-based order creation processes, you’ll not only reduce costs, you’ll also save staff time, increase control, standardization, contract utilization and visibility to spend. Plus your reporting will improve, as more of your purchasing is captured electronically. Win-win!

I’m excited to work with our customers to continually create Best Practices. I’d love to hear your thoughts and comments, and if you need help implementing any of these ideas – or if you’re not yet using Envi and want to learn more about automating order creation – be sure to call the team at IOS.


About the Author

Lanie Farkas

Director of Projects and Implementations

Inventory Optimization Solutions (IOS)

With in-depth healthcare and supply chain knowledge, Lanie Farkas also brought hands-on Envi expertise when she joined IOS in 2006, after being a super user at a large organization with more 50 veterinary labs across the U.S. With a passion for creating a better healthcare supply chain, Lanie delivers real-world, best practice-based expertise to IOS customers. As the Director of Client Services and Implementations/Projects, Lanie is the lead on customer experience from the moment an organization signs an agreement through go-live, including system build, data collection, training and everything fun in-between. She guides IOS customer through the process, making sure they’re ready for success. When she’s not working, Lanie takes her Ducati out for two-wheel therapy and enjoys bringing her bulldog to local veterans’ homes in the Las Vegas area.