Becker's Hospital Review

January 2021 Issue of Becker's Hospital Review

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Page 16 of 47

17 Executive Briefing health system," Mr. Natenstedt said. "That was a risky proposition for them. Customers knew that we were a trusted vendor that they'd worked with for years." Another new service that Z5 Inventory has launched is inventorying PPE warehouses. Fortunately, many hospitals have stockpiled considerable amounts of PPE in anticipation of future surges of COVID-19 patients. These products, however, aren't always well organized or managed like regular health system inventories. This is a challenge that most larger health systems are facing. Challenges presented by the pandemic have made it difficult for many providers to engage in their usual philanthropic efforts, but Z5 Inventory remains dedicated to assisting customers with inventory donations. Last year, Z5 donated over $4 million worth of medical and surgical supplies on behalf of its hospital customers. During the pandemic, Z5 Inventory donated more than $400,000 worth of product to the Texas Emergency Response initiative in Austin. To commemorate its fifth anniversary, Z5 launched the 50 For 50 campaign at the beginning of 2020. "We challenged ourselves to help hospitals nationwide to save $50 million. For every $5 million worth of product saved from expiration, we donate $5,000 to charity," Mr. Natenstedt said. "To date this year, we've reached approximately $30 million in savings for hospitals and we're still working toward our 50 For 50 goal." Both supply chain teams and vendors have adopted new ways of working The pandemic has resulted in heavier workloads for supply chain leaders. This means that partners must be responsive to customer schedules and needs. "The supply chain teams that were working 40 to 50 hours a week before the pandemic are now working 70- to 90- hour weeks," Mr. Natenstedt said. "I talk to one of my clients on Saturdays and Sundays." That environment doesn't leave supply chain leaders with a lot of time to consider new supply chain solutions. Z5 Inventory has responded by using videoconferencing to educate customers and prospects about potential cost-saving opportunities. In this difficult time, Z5 has been going the extra mile when deploying teams to work at customer sites to ensure employees and clients are safe. "During the summer in states with stringent restrictions, like Connecticut and New Jersey, we sent employees 14 days in advance of projects to quarantine in hotels," said Mr. Natenstedt. Conclusion Supply chain has always been a busy function in health systems. The pandemic has made teams even busier, due to new activities like offshore sourcing and urgent priorities like cost savings. If hospitals and health systems needed savings in 2019, there's a high likelihood that the need has doubled in 2020. In today's environment, the potential to unlock new savings from existing operations represents a valuable opportunity. The silver lining of the pandemic is that healthcare supply chain leaders are eager to take on the challenge and find creative new solutions. "COVID-19 made it impossible for hospitals and health systems to keep doing things the way they always did them," Mr. Natenstedt said. "The pandemic has created an environment in supply chain where innovation and trying new things aren't just generally accepted, they're encouraged. I think this change in mindset is going to continue for a long time." n Z5 Inventory was founded with the purpose of saving healthcare providers nationwide from expiring product, empowering them to Count product on-hand, Reallocate excess product, and Buy product they actually need at reduced prices. Anyone interested in how much they could save by avoiding expiration should visit Contact

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