Operating rooms in need of better supply chain management systems and analytics
The operating room (OR) needs better supply chain management systems and analytics to help reduce costs and support patient safety, according to a new Cardinal Health survey of surgical staff and hospital supply chain decision-makers.
Nearly half (40%) of respondents revealed they've actually canceled a case, and more than two-thirds (69%) have delayed a case because of missing supplies.
Furthermore, 27% have seen or heard of an expired product being used on a patient, and 23% have seen or heard of a patient harmed due to a lack of supplies.
"Financial challenges persist across health care systems, and the operating room is one of the most costly areas to run," said John Roy, vice president and general manager at Cardinal Health Inventory Management Solutions.
"Fortunately, there is a clear solution to support patient safety and reduce surgical case cancellations: better supply chain management."
In addition, more than half of frontline clinicians say inventory management is "complicated" or a "necessary evil." In fact, 64% of respondents admitted to hoarding supplies and cited wasting or overuse of supplies as significant problems within their organisation.
The survey found that OR surgeons and nurses are frustrated with their hospital's current manual inventory process. The majority (83%) of respondents' organisations are manually counting in some part of their supply chain, while only 15% have automated RFID systems.
However, respondents see the benefits of automation. One in four say automated systems free up time to focus on patients and support better outcomes, and 39% agree automation reduces costs.
"Fixing these challenges requires thinking beyond the shelf," said Roy. "We believe streamlining processes and gathering real-time data through automated inventory systems can transform inventory management from a 'necessary evil' to a powerful tool that supports better quality of care."
Nearly all (92 percent) frontline providers surveyed see the need for an inventory management system designed for the specific volume and nature of supplies in the OR.
Although supply chain decision makers are most responsible for cutting costs, surgeons and OR nurses recognise the importance and are up for the challenge. The majority (77%) would like to be more involved in supply chain decision-making, nearly half say "saving money helps us all," and three in four contend that quality patient care can be maintained while reducing costs.
"OR surgeons and nurses work under intense pressure and depend on a large volume of varied supplies," said Roy. "While different OR stakeholders all face their own distinct challenges, together they can form a partnership to make important changes that move their organisations forward."
EU and US agree end to Airbus-Boeing supply chain tariffs
The EU and US have agreed to resolve a 17-year dispute over aircraft subsidies, suspending tariffs on billions of dollars' worth of goods that have plagued procurement leaders on both sides of the Atlantic.
Under an agreement reached by European Commission Executive Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis and US Trade Representative Katherine Tai on Tuesday, the tariffs will be halted for a period of at least five years.
It will bring an end to punitive and disruptive levies on supply chains that have little to do with the argument, which became embroiled in the trade battle. Businesses on both sides of the dispute have been hit with more than $3.3bn in duties since they were first imposed by the US in October 2019, according the EC.
The US imposed charges on goods upto $7.5bn in response to a World Trade Organisation ruling that judged the EU’s support of Airbus, its biggest aircraft manufacturer, unlawful. A year later in November 2020, the EU hit back. The WTO found the US had violated trade rules in its favourable treatment of Boeing, and was hit with EU duties worth $4bn.
In all the tariffs affected $11.5bn worth of goods, including French cheese, Scotch whisky, aircraft and machinery in Europe, and sugarcane products, handbags and tobacco in America. Procurement leaders on both sides of the fence were forced to wrestle with tariffs of 15% on aircraft and components, and 25% on non-aircraft related products.
Boeing-Airbus dispute by the numbers
- The dispute began in 2004
- Tariffs suspended for 5 years
- $11.5bn worth of goods affected by tariffs
- $3.3bn in duties paid by businesses to date
- 15% levy on aircraft and 25% on non-aircraft goods suspended
Both sides welcome end to tariffs
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen branded the truce a “major step” in ending what is the longest running dispute in WTO history. It began in 2004.
“I am happy to see that after intensive work between the European Commission and the US administration, our transatlantic partnership is on its way to reaching cruising speed. This shows the new spirit of cooperation between the EU and the US and that we can solve the other issues to our mutual benefit,” she added.
Both aircraft manufacturers have welcomed the news. Airbus said in a statement that it will hopefully bring to an end the “lose-lose tariffs” that are affecting industries already facing “many challenges”. Boeing added that it will “fully support the U.S. Government’s efforts to ensure that the principles in this understanding are respected”.
The US aerospace firm added: "The understanding reached today commits the EU to addressing launch aid, and leaves in place the necessary rules to ensure that the EU and United States live up to that commitment, without requiring further WTO action."
This week’s decision expands upon a short-term tariff truce announced in March this year. The EC says it will work closely with the US to try and further resolve the dispute, establishing a Working Group on Large Civil Aircraft led by each side’s trade minister.
Airbus last month signalled to suppliers that post-pandemic recovery was on the horizon, telling them to scale up to meet a return to pre-COVID manufacturing levels. “The aviation sector is beginning to recover from the COVID-19 crisis,” said Airbus chief executive Guillaume Faury, adding that suppliers should prepare for a period of intensive production “when market conditions call for it.”