Procurement technology boosts efficiency
The recent creation of Primary Health Networks (PHNs), scoped with increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of medical services, has raised performance expectations throughout organisations and given administrators the chance to review processes and, where applicable, adopt new ways of doing things.
Procurement — the structured and systematic purchasing of supplies and services — is one area that has come under scrutiny, and a number of PHNs have embraced technology to improve their performance. E-procurement solutions such as those from TenderLink are enabling PHNs to streamline their tender process, which is extremely valuable for organisations in transition, needing to engage with large numbers of new suppliers. These tools replace cumbersome manual processes with electronic toolsets for a range of procurement needs — from creating requests for proposals to evaluating tenders.
Importantly, e-procurement saves time and money, and allows even the smallest medical facility to embrace leading-edge procurement practice without the need for an army of skilled professional ‘buyers’.
While health administrators may be extremely qualified in service delivery, they may not have the specific knowledge or the experience to run an end-to-end procurement exercise — and they certainly can’t run a number of them simultaneously, while also juggling all their other duties.
E-procurement tools can increase the volume of procurement activity which can be undertaken by an organisation, but they can also improve the quality of the activity. Technology can be employed to evaluate tender submissions with levels of transparency and reliability that are hard to achieve ‘manually’. The use of technology also provides a level of objectivity for tender evaluations that can be hard to replicate unless adopting the most robust scoring system. This is particularly important in the spotlight of scrutiny which often surrounds public and not-for-profit spending, and is crucial when dealing with unsuccessful tenderers whose co-operation may be required in the future.
Those PHNs fortunate enough to have some procurement expertise also benefit from the application of technology because it frees up resources. By automating the mundane tasks, technology allows procurement professionals to focus on areas where they can best add value — establishing procurement policies and processes and stakeholder engagement. Ultimately, this translates into savings, which further enable PHNs to provide patients with the right care, in the right place, at the right time — and at the right cost.
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