Digitising the procurement and supply chain

Digital change and knowledge mobilisation have helped improve procurement and supply chain processes while bettering patient outcomes within Monash Health.

The Graduate Research Industry Partnership (GRIP) program is a partnership between Monash Partners health services and Monash University where PhD students address healthcare problems through digital and data-driven innovations.

PhD student Tayla Wilmot has been working with the Monash Health Procurement and Supply Chain team, exploring how knowledge management can be enhanced across the supply chain, improving data quality and information sharing.

This research aims to generate insights that can be shared with other health services and assist in improving procurement and supply chain management across Monash Partners.

In 2019, Monash Health began the process to improve its current procurement and supply chain system. They worked to move to a larger distribution centre, secure operations on-site and digitise processes. A warehouse management system and source-to-pay system were introduced, allowing improved delivery of clinical products to hospital wards and end users.

Other digitised processes have included:

  • e-signatures and electronic approvals;
  • review and action requests on mobile devices;
  • status tracking of requests and receipt of real-time notifications;
  • real-time analytics and dashboards for improved visibility of spend;
  • review and evaluation of tenders online;
  • smart and guided procurement for non-catalogued requisitions;
  • enriched catalogue content with images and product compare options; and the
  • ability to source quickly through pre-approved suppliers and panels.

Ms Wilmot said this system change has positively impacted patients and ward staff within Monash Health.

“Monash Health recognised they needed a space to keep more stock and create more trust through the supply chain. They knew that if they didn’t do something, their supply chain would break down at some point,” said Ms Wilmot.

“This new system has improved trust throughout the whole system. Hospital staff now know who to contact for products and really value having a relationship and interacting on-site with a designated person within the warehouse.

“Ward staff trust product availability and turnaround times which has reduced the high inventory held in wards and ensured patients receive what they need, when they need it,” said Ms Wilmot.

The new system processes also offer better outcomes in clinical safety and quality while demonstrating scalability and cost-effectiveness.

“The work undertaken distributing PPE and products for the State Supply Chain during COVID-19 was made possible due to Monash Health’s increased warehouse capacity and newly introduced digitised processes. This provided validation that we had headed in the right direction and provided an insight into the ability of the new warehouse and supply chain processes,” said Ms Wilmot.

The next steps of the project will see further work on the source-to-pay system. This will consist of enhanced catalogue buying, improved end-to-end spend visibility, increased compliance and lay the foundation for further rationalisation and standardisation of products.

The GRIP project being undertaken by Tayla Wilmot will conclude in early 2023.

The new Monash Health distribution centre in Scoresby.