Centralized Inventory System for Sustained Cost Savings & Customer Satisfaction

State: FL Type: Model Practice Year: 2011

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St. Johns County Health Department’s (SJCHD) implementation of a Centralized Inventory System is a best practice that continuously supports an operation consisting of 17 Service Centers including a Public Health Mobile Center and a Special Needs Shelter. Public health services provided by SJCHD include Pediatric Primary Care, Immunizations, Pediatric Dental Care, Environmental Health Regulatory Compliance services as well as analytical testing services for potable drinking water. The SJCHD Centralized Inventory System includes a Centralized Inventory webpage (SJCHD SharePoint) which serves as a “one-stop-shop” for the submittal of standardized, paperless supply orders. The SJCHD Centralized Inventory Team researched and developed a supply catalog listing the best available products at the best value available through state approved vendors.

The Centralized Inventory Supply Catalog eliminates the need for staff to research products and vendors and results in more efficient use of staff time. A “Supply Ordering Schedule” was established to ensure a sufficient quantity of critical supplies for each service center. Additionally, our supply inventory is maintained in one central location at all times. Through this system, we know exactly how much of any given item is in stock. We know how much of any given item has been distributed. Additionally, our internal controls and tracking system allows us to plan appropriately for bulk which often results in greater savings for the agency. This practice required the streamlining and consolidation of supply ordering procedures, and the cataloging, tracking and inventorying of ALL critical organizational supplies.

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St. Johns County Public Health Department
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Centralized Inventory System for Sustained Cost Savings & Customer Satisfaction
St. Johns County Health Department’s (SJCHD) implementation of a Centralized Inventory System is a best practice that continuously supports an operation consisting of 17 Service Centers including a Public Health Mobile Center and a Special Needs Shelter. Public health services provided by SJCHD include Pediatric Primary Care, Immunizations, Pediatric Dental Care, Environmental Health Regulatory Compliance services as well as analytical testing services for potable drinking water. The SJCHD Centralized Inventory System includes a Centralized Inventory webpage (SJCHD SharePoint) which serves as a “one-stop-shop” for the submittal of standardized, paperless supply orders. The SJCHD Centralized Inventory Team researched and developed a supply catalog listing the best available products at the best value available through state approved vendors. The Centralized Inventory Supply Catalog eliminates the need for staff to research products and vendors and results in more efficient use of staff time. A “Supply Ordering Schedule” was established to ensure a sufficient quantity of critical supplies for each service center. Additionally, our supply inventory is maintained in one central location at all times. Through this system, we know exactly how much of any given item is in stock. We know how much of any given item has been distributed. Additionally, our internal controls and tracking system allows us to plan appropriately for bulk which often results in greater savings for the agency. This practice required the streamlining and consolidation of supply ordering procedures, and the cataloging, tracking and inventorying of ALL critical organizational supplies.
This practice addresses public health infrastructure, the provision of core public health services, and community preparedness. With projections of future budgetary constraints as well as an organizational culture that fosters and empowers all employees to embark on process improvement initiatives, the SJCHD team members (the SJCHD Purchasing Agent and member of the General Services department) recognized that there was an opportunity for improvement and believed that we could be more accountable with our resources and, simply, “do more with less” without sacrificing the level of service our customers deserve. Our Centralized Inventory System (1) supports each of our 17 service centers, (2) strengthens our Continuity of Operations Plan, (3) ensures availability of critical supplies for the entire agency at all times, and (4) ensures that we are ready and capable of responding to our communities needs during Public Health emergencies. It’s important to note that the centralized inventory system was used throughout our H1N1 Flu Mass Vaccination campaign. Normal business operations were sustained since our supply inventory was continually maintained at sufficient levels as a direct result of our use of the Centralized Inventory System. High levels of customer satisfaction were sustained in almost all service centers. Most importantly, the provision of public health services to our community did not lapse during the pandemic planning and response period, as a direct result of our use of our centralized inventory system.
Agency Community RolesSJCHD’s organizational culture fosters and empowers all employees to embark on process improvement initiatives. With projections of future budgetary constraints as well as an organizational culture that fosters and empowers all employees to embark on process improvement initiatives, the Centralized Inventory Team recognized that there was an opportunity for improvement and believed that we could be more accountable with our resources and, simply, “do more with less” without sacrificing the level of service our customers deserve. As such, the Team presented this idea to the SJCHD Senior Leadership Team and the Sterling Performance Excellence Committee for review and commentary. The practice was approved and fully launched in June of 2009. Costs and ExpendituresSt. Johns County Health Department’s (SJCHD) implementation of a Centralized Inventory System is a best practice that continuously supports an operation consisting of 17 Service Centers including a Public Health Mobile Center and a Special Needs Shelter. Public health services provided by SJCHD include Pediatric Primary Care, Immunizations, Pediatric Dental Care, Environmental Health Regulatory Compliance services as well as analytical testing services for potable drinking water. The SJCHD Centralized Inventory System includes a Centralized Inventory webpage (SJCHD SharePoint) which serves as a “one-stop-shop” for the submittal of standardized, paperless supply orders. The SJCHD Centralized Inventory Team researched and developed a supply catalog listing the best available products at the best value available through state approved vendors. The Centralized Inventory Supply Catalog eliminates the need for staff to research products and vendors and results in more efficient use of staff time. A “Supply Ordering Schedule” was established to ensure a sufficient quantity of critical supplies for each service center. Additionally, our supply inventory is maintained in one central location at all times. Through this system, we know exactly how much of any given item is in stock. We know how much of any given item has been distributed. Additionally, our internal controls and tracking system allows us to plan appropriately for bulk which often results in greater savings for the agency. This practice required the streamlining and consolidation of supply ordering procedures, and the cataloging, tracking and inventorying of ALL critical organizational supplies. Prior to implementing this system, each service center ordered and received supplies directly from an approved vendor. The ordering process and wait-time were lengthy. In some instances, a service center had to wait several weeks for supplies. With the premise of providing continued service excellence to our community by identifying the best available products at the best value, the implementation of this best practice has resulted in (1) an easier way for staff to order critical organizational supplies, (2) an accurate way to account for the quantity and availability of supplies as well as to project future supply needs, and (3) significant cost savings to the agency and the community we serve. Planning for this system occurred in 2008. It was fully implemented at the beginning of the 2009/2010 fiscal year. It is estimated that approximately 300± work hours went into the planning and implementation of our practice which consisted of the inventorying of all available resources, the research and development of critical supply ordering catalog, and improvements to the supply ordering process. After a full year (07/2009 to 06/2010) of utilizing the centralized inventory system and adhering to the streamlined standardized supply ordering procedures, the agency saved a total of $72,592.59. Similar savings are projected for next year. This best practice has allowed SJCHD to ensure the continued provision of core public health services and customer service excellence to the St. Johns County community. Furthermore, it has strengthened our ability to respond to community needs during periods of disaster and recovery. Cost Savings as well as Customer and Employee Satisfaction Survey Results confirm that Centralized Inventory is an asset to our agency. ImplementationWith projections of future budgetary constraints as well as an organizational culture that fosters and empowers all employees to embark on process improvement initiatives, the SJCHD team members recognized that there was an opportunity for improvement and believed that we could be more accountable with our resources and, simply, “do more with less” without sacrificing the level of service our customers deserve. As such, the Team presented this idea to the SJCHD Senior Leadership Team (SLT) during December 2008. The proposal included a cost comparison between previous purchasing costs and projected purchasing costs with estimated savings through the standardization of basic office supplies. After careful consideration and the realization of additional opportunities for streamlining and cost-savings, SLT approved the proposal, and expanded the standardization beyond basic office supplies to include all critical supplies for the Agency. Preemptive research and planning for this system occurred in 2008. Between December 2008 and June 2009, the Centralized Inventory Team continued with product research and price comparisons for all critical supplies (medical, dental, office, janitorial, etc.). Prior to implementation in July 2009, the following objectives were met: (1) the researching of products and creation of the Centralized Inventory Catalog, (2) the inventorying of all supplies in-house, and (3) streamlining all related processes (department purchase ordering schedules, purchasing request process, and creating of web-ordering portal). Additionally, an introductory training to all employees was provided during an Agency training event held in June 2009. It is estimated that approximately 300+ work hours went into the planning and implementation of our practice. After a full year (07/2009 to 06/2010) of utilizing the centralized inventory system and adhering to the streamlined standardized supply ordering procedures, the agency saved a total of $72,592.59. To date, 07/2010 through 03/2011, dollar savings now total to $74, 322.57. While preemptive research and planning for this system occurred in 2008, the timeframe for carrying out the additional tasks took place from January through June 2009. Having buy-in and support from Senior Leadership was integral to ensuring that these tasks were met within the described timeframe.
Our primarily goal through the implementation of this project was overall process improvement with sustained customer service excellence. Our main objectives included (1) Cost Savings, (2) Customer/Employee Satisfaction, and (3) inventory Transparency. Cost savings - After a full year (07/2009 to 06/2010) of utilizing the centralized inventory system and adhering to the streamlined standardized supply ordering procedures, the agency saved a total of $72,592.59. Similar savings are projected for next year. This information is tracked by our Purchasing Agent and reviewed at least on a monthly basis. While performance measures are frequently monitored by the individual service center, performance results are reported to the SJCHD Sterling Performance Excellence Committee (SPEC) on a quarterly basis. Regarding data collection, the Tracking and Trending of critical supply purchases is regularly conducted by our Procurement/Purchasing department with the assistance of our General Services Department. Regarding Evaluation of Outcomes, the agency saved a total of $72,592.59 after a full year of utilizing this system. Through continued use of our Centralized Inventory System, cost savings are expected to be long term. Customer Satisfaction a. Internal Customer Satisfaction: Results from a recent satisfaction survey conducted by the SJCHD Purchasing Agent regarding the SJCHD Centralized Inventory System confirm that this practice is an asset to our agency. b. External Customer Satisfaction: As mentioned earlier, during our H1N1 Flu Mass Vaccination campaign, normal business operations were sustained at all times. Survey results indicate that 99.9% of our customers were satisfied with the services they received during our H1N1 outreach events. We attribute, in-part, the high customer satisfaction ratings to our use of the Centralized Inventory System which ensured availability of critical supplies for the entire agency at all times. Regarding Data collection, Customer Satisfaction Surveys are conducted on an as-needed basis. Employee (internal) satisfaction results related to the Centralized Inventory System were solicited electronically. Customer (external) satisfaction results related to H1N1 Outreach events were solicited with paper surveys after receiving services. Customers Satisfaction results are also captured in real-time via electronic touch-screen computers strategically located in service centers so that clients can provide feedback after receiving services. Customer service results from these touch-screen surveys are included on our daily productivity reports by service center. Regarding feedback, we continually review and improve our processes to ensure optimal performance outcomes. Additionally, we always consider customer feedback (both internal and external) when evaluating our operations. Regarding outcomes, with continued use and improvements to our Centralized Inventory System, we expect to sustain high satisfaction results. Inventory Transparency: Through this system, we can account for what resources we have, where they are located and, if needed, make projections and/or plans to procure more. This is managed by our Purchasing Agent(s) with assistance from General Service department. Regarding data collection, Our team regular conducts research to in order to identifying the best products at the best prices. Additionally, the Supply Ordering Process through the SJCHD Sharepoint website allows the Purchasing Agent to monitor puchasing request activities. Regarding feedback, the Ordering Process was streamlined, a catalog was created, a supply ordering schedule was established, and then centralized inventory system was launched. It was recently improved so that all supply orders can be made via our internal purchasing SharePoint website. Results from a recent satisfaction survey conducted by the SJCHD Purchasing Agent regarding the SJCHD Centralized Inventory System confirm
As a local practice, commitment from our internal stakeholders is crucial to ensuring the sustainability of this practice. Sustained cost-savings and customer satisfaction results validate that our stakeholders are committed to the success of this practice. Having buy-in and support from Senior Leadership continues to be an integral part of this Best Practice’s success. Reports to SLT as well as the Sterling Performance Excellence Committee allow all key leaders to learn about and provide input to the process. Updates include monthly/quarterly progress reports, updates on State-approved vendors, as well as changes to State-term contracts. Another essential component to the success of this Best Practice is the strong relationship between the Centralized Inventory Team and each Service Center/Department. The Team regularly coordinates and consults with Managers for input on best products specific to their business needs. Since the inception of our Centralized Inventory System, the Team continues to communicate with staff members through emails, staff newsletters, our intranet webpage and through the Centralized Inventory SharePoint website. Feedback from staff about the Centralized Inventory System is solicited on an annual basis via an electronic survey. In fact, customer and employee satisfaction survey results confirm that Centralized Inventory is an asset to our agency. It is regular communication and teamwork between the Team, SLT and each Service Center / Department that contributes to the success of our Centralized Inventory System. This Best Practice further strengthens the Agency’s ability to ensure the continued provision of public health service excellence to the community we serve while strengthening our ability to respond to community needs during this Public Health emergencies. It’s important to note that during the 2009 H1N1 Swine Flu pandemic it became evident that in times of Public Health Emergencies or disasters, “just in time” purchases may not be available in a timely fashion. Our Centralized Inventory System allows us to manage and appropriately plan for ordering the Agency’s Critical Supply needs. Throughout the duration of our H1N1 Flu Mass Vaccination campaign, normal business operations were sustained since our supply inventory was continually maintained at sufficient levels.
 
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