Three Ways to Improve Supply Chain Processes: Dictionaries, Eliminating Paper, and Electronic Transactions

Supplies are the second biggest operating expense for hospitals after labor. Many organizations struggle with paper intensive supply chain processes, not leveraging system automation or technology, all resulting in a number of frustrations. These frustrations include, high inventory levels that increase inventory carrying costs, high dollar inventory adjustments, inaccurate cost information in system, and a lack of timely and accurate reporting. We have identified multiple opportunities to improve supply chain processes by leveraging existing MEDITECH functionality, and updating associated procedures:

  1. Dictionaries – Three key dictionaries within supply chain include vendor, item, and stock. All which provide a foundation for the MEDITECH system processes. These dictionaries need to be actively managed to support supply chain. Organizations should limit enter/edit access to dictionaries to ensure consistency, and accuracy, for processes and reporting. It’s important to have defined procedures in place when adding or editing entries, and limit the use of miscellaneous type entries. This allows other system functionality to be leveraged for accurate reporting.
  2. Eliminating Paper – There are multiple manual steps required when completing processes that originate from paper vs. electronically. These steps increase cost to process orders, increase error rates, time to order, and time to receive supplies that could have negative impact on hospital operations. MEDITECH has functionality for stock inventory and non-stock purchase requisitions, which send information in the system to correct individual(s) for approval. This provides capability to create, and send orders in a more timely and accurate manner. Creating templates for stock and non-stock requisitions, allow departments to have catalog of commonly used items. However, this functionality requires strong dictionary foundation and requests should be monitored by a requester.
  3. Electronic Transactions (EDI) – Electronic Transactions, support the timely exchange of information and follow-up. Supply chain involves multiple processes that have associated industry standard electronic transactions. This includes, purchase order (850), purchase order acknowledgment (855), price/sales catalog (832), and invoice (810). Organizations typically submit orders by EDI, fax, vendor provided website, email, or phone. MEDITECH has standard functionality to support these various electronic transactions and studies, indicating that it cost approximately 50% less to send a purchase order via EDI vs. the other options. There is continued movement by hospitals, to utilize electronic transactions due to immediate and long-term benefits, at minimal cost.

Though it can be quite challenging, offering your team a strong dictionary foundation and leveraging automated processes, can ultimately streamline efforts and combat the complexity that continues to build around supply chain. Our team has the experience, and expertise, to work with your organization and determine optimization opportunities, as well as, how to approach and execute them successfully.

Depending on the scope of your Supply Chain assessment, these projects typically involve a quick two-week process (off and on-site) where our team will review current system configuration, data, system utilization, conduct series of interviews with key users and then provide both short term and long term recommendations for optimization.  Included in this process is involvement with leadership including CFO that provides CereCore better understanding of hospital objectives for Supply Chain. For more details on the Supply Chain assessment CereCore provides, you can download our solution overview here. To start a conversation or schedule a meeting, please email us at or call us at 855.276.9112.


Connect with Us

Sign up for our newsletters or follow us on social.

Lower Call Wait Times, Consistent Issue Resolution, and Cost Savings

Learn more about the value of outsourcing support by downloading the case study.

New call-to-action

Request a Consultation

Please fill out the form below and one of our experts will promptly respond to your inquiry

Subscribe to our Blog

Get articles and insights from CereCore.