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Procure-to-Pay Software Built for Advanced Hospital Workflow (Part II)

Healthcare looks to be the one industry which is continuing to make the most of even the worst economic conditions. But with more and more regulations being imposed on those running hospitals, the healthcare business is seeking to embrace newer technologies to help budget cuts.

It is true that technology is and will continue to make rapid strides. Reduction in hospital expenditure can be achieved by buying and procuring in the cloud.

Many hospitals are shifting into this newer procure-to-pay software but others are a bit reluctant to accepting such change in back-end operations. The use of paper based forms for maintaining inventories and ordering is being understood by hospitals as an area susceptible to miscommunication and mistakes. This can lead to an unfortunate and avoidable scenario of having a shortage of must-have items in hospital departments.

If you look at those hospitals that have started using cloud-based purchase to pay software, hospital departments can analyse which departments need what and also be able to assess this well in advance of the actual need. Purchase-to-pay software shall ensure that the right quantity of items is ordered for multiple departments and also enable the combined purchasing power for discounts when ordered together as a single PO hospital-wide instead of large volumes of PO’s for each individual department.

This way a hospital can really save up on expenses. Bulk orders tend to be less expensive as compared to smaller, individual orders.  The hospital staff too will be able to focus on their work and will not be hassled with submitting these completed order forms or trying to manually combine orders from different departments.

In terms of being valuable, this software is the answer to many problems. Think of it this way, nurses will be able to focus on their patients, receptionists will work on directing calls, taking messages, and giving out information. Employees will no longer have to worry about purchase orders and other departments will get to concentrate on the big jobs that are essential to run a hospital.

As is evident, procurement software is one which can really be of great use to a hospital. As technology keeps bringing newer ways to simplify and save, any healthcare business will gladly find benefits to using such in cloud software to maintain their purchasing and spend. With one less thing to worry about, hospitals will be able to save more and cater to their number one priority, which are their patients.

The changing times call for hospitals to accept and learn to keep up with the technologies that are future proof. Services like procurement software are one way to save up on money for any big, small or large sized healthcare business.

September 26, 2013
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BY Bellwether
Procure-to-Pay Software Built for Advanced Hospital Workflow ( Part I)

The Healthcare industry is making room for major changes on the technology front. From the use of hi-tech PACS systems for networking and archiving to expensive medical equipment’s like CT scanners and MRI machines, the world of healthcare is certainly evolving rapidly. With change in the front end, back end services too are undergoing a serious makeover.

For a hospital to run like a well-oiled machine, it is necessary to maintain a proper inventory for medical equipment, supplies and of course, medicines. Buying in the cloud is perfect for the hospital scenario to make the purchasing process a whole lot easier.

With the coming of change implies the accommodation of new procedures, policies and software. Healthcare is one industry which can and should make full use of software. With cloud based ones there to track inventories and make purchases for all departments on an as-needed basis, the time has come to say goodbye for good to those old paper based requisition forms that would take forever to fill out completely and would often somehow just get lost in the shuffle with the massive quantities of ordinary paper.

Running a hospital is a pretty tricky business and requires one to save money wherever possible. If you look forward to cutting costs, it is far easier to see that happening with purchasing software that is cloud based. Purchase to pay software saves big bucks and is most definitely the answer to paper requisition forms and outdated on-site software systems. Here one need not install expensive software onto their business network. The need to update and regularly maintain the software is also removed. More importantly, one doesn’t need to hire several members to work on the software or require professional handing.

With the procureme-to-pay advantage, the software will stay on the vendor’s server. The hospital need not worry about the maintenance and updates of the same for the vendor would take care of that for you. This eliminates extra work on the hospital’s behalf.

A fully automatic procurement procedure makes transactions, listing, ordering and purchasing so effortless. When such work is being managed by nearly flawless software, the hospital workers are able to focus on their actual duties – saving lives and making people well. Investing in the right cloud-based purchasing software will truly make sure that your hospital uses the best technology at your disposal, ensuring the facility works to keep up with the future advancements. Being future proof will help your hospital embrace the ever-changing face of technology in hope of making things as simple as possible for the days to come.

September 24, 2013
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BY Bellwether
Performance-Based Budgeting Made Possible with eProcurement Software

In traditional budgeting your company has a static budget divided between departments. Each department vigorously defends their piece of the budget, wanting to ensure they have the funds necessary to achieve their goals throughout the year. Performance-based funding is more fluid approach to budgeting, allowing for the designation of funds by department to match the expected results and considering spending patterns from previous years. Your budget is only going to be as effective and efficient as the data you have access to; cloud-based procurement software will allow you to maximize budgets through data, tracking, spend analysis, and other reports.

Utilizing eProcurement software makes it very simple to look at past spending and performance levels and look at the value provided to the company for each department. Using paper-based purchasing or older computer models will not give you the big picture and level of details needed for this approach.

According  to  Segal and Summers in Citizens’ Budget Reports: Improving Performance and Accountability in Government (Reason Public Policy Institute, Policy Study No. 292, March 2002, p. 4.), performance budgeting includes the following three elements: the result or final outcome, the strategy or ways used to achieve that outcome, and activity/outputs or the specific activities done within the strategy to achieve the desired outcome.

Since performance-based budgeting doesn’t just look at the money spent, but the results achieved, this requires the use of Key Performance Indicator’s  or KPI’s. KPI’s utilize a set of values that go beyond just raw numbers. KPIs are beyond the scope of today’s post, but for a good general overview check out the Wikipedia article. The complexity and scope involved makes the use of powerful software such as Bellwether’s ePMX: a necessity.

The first step in setting up performance-based budgeting then is to establish what objectives your business is trying to reach. Establishing KPIs and other metrics based on these objectives is the next step. As your business goes on, tracking every expenditure through cloud-based purchasing software provides you the opportunity to take snap shots, analyze, and make adjustments as needed. It’s very important that all the data runs through the same program, giving you a central point to track, measure, and analyze. 

September 17, 2013
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BY Bellwether
The Evolution of Procurement

If you are a small business you’ve probably noticed an evolution of the procurement processes over the past few years. Maybe you have participated in these changes each step of the way, maybe you started and didn’t continue or maybe you are still trying to catch up. Ask yourself where you are in this process and where you want to be.

There is the tried and true paper-based procurement system. There are so many problems and pitfalls to this setup. You’ve experienced them or maybe you are still dealing with these right now. It is time consuming and filled with piles of paperwork. Things get lost, confused, and shuffled around before being found again. Everything is hard. Tracking is hard. Measuring data is hard. Maverick spending can be a nightmare. This is often the go-to method for new and small businesses because of the ease of putting it into place and low cost of setting it up. Get some requisition forms and POs and you are good to go. But the long-term use, especially as the business grows, can lead to many challenges and frustrations and there is also a high cost associated with the inefficient processes.

Next is a software solution. You’ve got out-of-the-box solutions and customized systems installed on servers in your business location. Though a drastic improvement over the paper-based systems, this is not without its challenges as well. The initial capital expense of putting a software solution in place can force businesses back to paper systems for a little while longer. IT people may need to be involved, outside providers, additional training, additional equipment, and you name it there is likely a need for something else to get it all working. And then once you finally have the software set up and people trained, guess what? It’s time for an upgrade which is additional expense, training, and bringing people out to your location to service the software and install updates. It’s not uncommon for businesses to find themselves stuck on some level of software that with time is developing its own issues and not meeting the needs of the growing business. But to upgrade would require additional time and money that may not fit into the existing cash flow plan. So nothing happens and you limp along with a dated software system, reminding yourself that it is still better than paper or you better keep using it to get your money’s worth.

Finally, we have Software-As-A-Service, or Saas. By utilizing the cloud, your business can participate in a subscription-based plan that will give you access to exactly what you need, nothing more and nothing less.  With all the software being web-based, there is nothing on site to install, upgrade, or maintain. Updates are deployed automatically and your solution is scalable, both up and down, to meet whatever your current needs are at the time. Integration into other systems makes this an even better solution.

So ask yourself again, where you are in the evolution of technology surrounding purchasing and where you want to be. 



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September 12, 2013
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BY Bellwether
Benefits of a Cloud-based Saas Purchasing Software

This exceprt is taken from “Web-Based, SaaS Purchasing Model Lives Up To Its Promises.”

In a challenging business environment like we have today, Purchasing Managers, CIO’s and CFO’s are using new kinds of technology solutions to increase productivity and decrease costs. CFO’s and CIO’s are attracted to Saas (Software as a Service) and Open Source software because this technology offers a faster, efficient and affordable way to conduct business processes.

For Purchasing Managers and CFO’s, e-Procurement software that is offered as a SaaS solution makes perfect sense because it improves the cost structure of a company, manages spending and demands better pricing from vendors. e-Procurement software (SaaS) or Traditional deployment has equal productivity in that either of them will directly impact the bottom line in a positive way.

E-procurement solutions align purchasing behaviors to corporate objectives, focusing Purchase Managers on the most effective cost control and vendor management. e-Procurement maximizes agility in the face of market change and provides visibility in purchase or spend analytics. e-Procurement solutions greatly reduce administrative time and costs, and the application supports compliance efforts.

When economies slow, CFO’s tighten the purse strings and delay or even cancel big IT projects and capital expenses. SaaS solutions offer up a way to
continue to quickly deploy solutions without excessive costs. If CIO’s are not comfortable with SaaS solutions, then Open Source solutions or solutions
that work on Open Source systems software, like Linux, makes perfect sense.

CFO’s and CIO’s see the distinct financial advantages of a SaaS licensing model.

• Reduces up-front capital expenses
• Reduces the expenses of installing the application
• Reduces the cost of operating the data center
• Reduces the number of training staff

e-Procurement solutions offered on the SaaS model or run on Open-Source platform, like Linux, are well received by CIO’s because of the flexibility of the system and because there is no upfront hardware and software costs. With Saas, there is no costly ongoing software maintenance and no vendor lock if the vendor does not perform.

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September 10, 2013
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BY Bellwether
Supply Chain Security and C-TPAT

Your IT professionals, whether in-house or contracted out, need to communicate and work together with your purchasing team. Supply chain security is very important, especially when your supply chains extend across borders or oceans. You may feel you are doing a good job securing your information, but how is that information secured down the supply chain through every interchange? New levels of sharing and working together between the IT department and the procurement department are essential not only for your business security, but also for our national security.

September 11, 2001, commonly referred to as “Nine-Eleven”, changed our world forever. The terrorist attacks on that day brought about many changes including new security measures in the United States and around the world. On April 16, 2002 the Customs Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT) program was put into place by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), part of the Department of Homeland Security.

Millions of cargo containers are delivered into the United States each and every year by plane, train, boat, or truck. C-TPAT is a voluntary partnership between the government and private business to protect supply chains from being utilized by terrorists. Building relationships with the people at every point in that supply chain is an important part of defending and protecting against the illegitimate use of these points of entry.

C-TPAT members have additional requirements they must meet in order to help secure their supply chain. Sound like a lot of work? Asking if it is really worth it? The government knows that C-TPAT members take extra precaution to secure the supply chain so they get bumped up into a preferred status. It is sort of like getting a VIP pass for an amusement park where you get to jump to the front of the line to get on the next ride. As a member, your cargo containers crossing into the United States may not even require an inspection. But when they are, your stuff goes to the front of the line with minimal waiting or delays. All of this results in lower fees and quicker, more efficient delivery of your goods.

If you still have questions, we’d encourage you to check out the US Customs and Border Protection FAQ.

September 5, 2013
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BY Bellwether

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