Part 3: Embracing technological solutions and digital workforce
The future of work encompasses changes in work, in the workforce, and in the workplace. In preparation for these changes, supply chain executives will need to identify innovative ways to become an agile organization. This can be accomplished through the combination of empowered organizational design, robust talent strategies and implementing innovative technologies. Reimagining supply chain will prepare leaders with the insights needed to proactively prepare for the future of healthcare and further help their workforce to operate at the top of their license. This blog will focus on three strategies to help supply chain executives prepare to make the shift in future of work: (1) digitizing supply chain (2) activating automation and (3) optimizing the workforce.
DIGITIZING SUPPLY CHAIN
Digital supply chain optimize costs, reduces unnecessary variation, enhances patient care delivery, and addresses new value-creation priorities. According to a Deloitte Insights survey, only 6 percent of supply chain executives feel that they have the visibility of supply chain operations needed to make informed strategic decisions.1 Much of this limited visibility is due to the linear nature of traditional supply chain, composed of silos which limits visibility into the entire end-to-end delivery. Transforming from a static sequence to a dynamic interconnected digital supply network (DSN) creates transparency; through this transparency leaders can achieve enhanced decisions making, enable best practices and evaluate trends over time.
For health systems who have solidified their digital core a next step would be the implementation of a Control Tower. This scalable, adaptable, and centralized hub uses technology, processes, and talent to compile and exploit supply chain data, execute increasingly dynamic business models, and provide analytics and information to support executive decision-making. The control tower can build trends and analyses that recognize purchasing abnormalities in real-time, alert decision makers on deviation from optimal paths, and facilitate root-cause analyses.
What are the Control Tower use cases for Providers?
• Optimizing cost: Conventional supply chain models typically track inventory and purchasing; however, a supply chain control tower can provide more real-time visibility into these areas and offer powerful artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities that move beyond a traditional support model. For example, the control tower can build trend analyses that recognize purchasing anomalies in real time and promptly alert appropriate decision-makers.
• Reducing unnecessary variation: The control tower reduces likelihood of human error by constantly collecting and analyzing data and using its machine learning capabilities to recognize the optimal path for executing a process. In addition, the control tower can alert decision-makers when there are deviations from that path.
• Enhancing patient care, delivery, and engagement: A digitally connected control tower enables proactive, strategic data interpretation to better identify low-value activities and facilitate root-cause analysis. The control tower can then direct automation of the more menial tasks to free up staff time for more impactful activities.
• Addressing new value-creation priorities: The control tower helps health care providers achieve real-time decision-making by align supply and proactively managing resources to improve the customer experience.
You can gain digital FTE’s by activating AI, Cognitive automation to improve day to day operations. Currently, a significant portion of supply chain delivery consist of manual processes for contracting, analytics, and invoice approvals. Through AI and digital FTE’s supply chain leaders can standardize workflows and introduce automation in the form of robotics process automation (RPA), cognitive automation, or artificial intelligence (AI) technology.
The picture above outlines the continuum of automation, describing the three tiers within automation – Robotics Automation, Cognitive Automation, and Artificial Intelligence. The organizational gains from implementing automation translates into the ability to use data to plan and track influenza medication, use blockchain to track assets across the care continuum, improve inventory visibility through the adoption of radio frequency identification (RDID) and building automation within accounts payable. The implementation of automation across the enterprise will create cost savings, improve quality and accuracy, and free up talent to work on higher value-add activities, such as big data and AI development.
Developing high performing teams is critical to optimizing the workforce. This involves digital FTE’s and an operate model to build a hybrid team to deliver or scale up or down your team to achieve goals. As we transition into the future, digital technology will change the types of jobs and skills necessary to optimize supply chain. New roles and competencies will be created and centered around supply chain professionals working with technology to streamline processes and make informed decisions. Informed decision making by leadership will be accomplished by using various types of information to make decisions versus defaulting to existing relationships or preference. Professional development in the form of workshops and certifications that provide upskilling opportunities will be a primary driver for staff retention and recruiting top talent. Enhancing capabilities such as data analytics and the ability to collaborate across functions will become a core skill essential to success
New roles will be centered on the implementation and operation of digital solutions, requiring the ability to analyze and interpret, and produce data to drive insights. For example, a logistics manager role will transition from primarily focusing on logistics to developing forecasting scenarios based on true demand forecast. This example highlights the breadth and depth of change expected to occur for the future workforce of supply chain.
The future of healthcare will continue to become more complex and complicated for supply chain. Through the adoption of innovative technologies organizations will reduce the processing time, redundant workflows, and revenue loss experienced today. Upskilling and recruiting top talent ensures the workforce is equipped with the necessary skills to successfully support transformations efforts. For leaders embarking on this journey please view other blogs such as “Supply Chain Transformations in Healthcare Providers: Making Sense of a Complex Web” and “Unlocking Critical Capabilities in Supply Chain through an Operating Model Transformation”for further inspiration on operating model redesign and transformation guidance in preparation for the future of work in supply chain.
1Kate Patrick, “Only 6% of companies believe they’ve achieved full supply chain visibility,” Supply Chain Dive, February 26, 2018, https://www.supplychaindive.com/news/supply-chain-visibility-failure-survey-geodis/517751.