How to Break Down Silos in Managing Your OR Inventory

By Doug Golwas | July 17, 2018

Seventy percent of a hospital’s product spend is for the operating room (OR).¹ It’s been cited that surgery is the single biggest healthcare cost in the United States. So it’s no surprise there’s great scrutiny and focus on how efficiently a hospital’s OR inventory and supplies are managed. With both clinicians and material managers touching OR supplies for stocking and for procedure prepping in oftentimes very small storage spaces, it becomes critical to ensure your OR storage room is optimally designed and organized for your perioperative areas to run smoothly.

What if you could save billions?

A recent study found that hospitals that excelled in supply chain management spent $23 billion less than the others on supply chain costs.

U the last few years, separate vendors worked with systems in providing custom packs, maximizing storage space, supplying technology, partnering for workforce management or even handling reprocessing. ORs would benefit from tearing down these walls – having one perioperative supply partner to conduct a 360 degree OR supply assessment for efficiency opportunities, and design and implement customized solutions such as supply room redesigns, optimizing your custom/standard product mix, optimizing your PAR levels and item master, and evaluating your material management labor, technology and product replenishment practices. When these areas are collaborating and running smoothly, you will most likely find an efficient supply chain operation.

As you look for ways to optimize all non-clinical activities in your OR, consider these three ideas to bring your team together and increase profits.

1. Create internal partnership

Breaking down the first silo requires a partnership between your system’s supply chain team and your clinical OR leadership team. The first step is to have a conversation with your clinicians. What are they dealing with? What works well? What are their pain points?

2. Consider Perioperative Inventory Rationalization

If you find the right partner they should be able to conduct an on-site 360 degree OR supply assessment.

A detailed assessment will identify opportunities to engage your partner for your comprehensive perioperative inventory needs across items traditionally procured via your med/surg distributor, vendor-direct, consignment, and trunk stock.  The assessment will also review your storage solutions, replenishment methodology and PAR levels.

When you allow that outside resource to dig into the silos created, it removes stress, time and often bias that has kept those walls fortified between teams.

3. Education

Clinical staff education should extend beyond CE courses. In order to implement the newly uncovered opportunities that will increase efficiency based on the recommended PIR, clinicians must get the guidance to minimize disruptions.

Ultimately a clinical stff should spend more time and give more focus to their OR patients, and less time worrying whether they have the proper supplies.

Get your perioperative inventory rationalization assessment to determine ways to increase supply chain efficiency for your operating room storage areas.


1. Vargas LG, May JH, Spangler W, Stanciu A, Strum DP. Operating room scheduling and capacity planning. In: Rushkin J, Stonemetz K, editors. Anesthesia Informatics. sl. Springer; 2008. p. 19.

Categories: Expert Views, Healthcare Segment News, Perioperative, Supply Chain

Doug Golwas

Senior Vice President of Corporate Sales

Doug Golwas has over 20 years’ experience in sales, marketing and business development leadership. His experience has been focused on medical product development, sales and supply chain. In his current role, Golwas is responsible for overall leadership of corporate sales at Medline. These responsibilities include Medline’s programs and services including financial offering and contracting, logistics solutions, and technology in support of med/surg distribution and supply chain to hospitals and IHNs. His experience with Medline includes work with GPOs, aggregation groups and major IHNs. He most recently led the company’s ambulatory surgery center division. He received his Bachelor of Science from Texas Tech University and holds an MBA from the University of Dallas.

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