Yokl: Dashboards — Too Much Information and Too Little Time

I don’t think that anyone would disagree that we all are dealing with “Too much information and too little time” to organize and analyze our data. This is holding us back from getting our arms around solutions to our most pressing supply chain challenges. At a typical healthcare organization there are billions of gigabits of clinical and financial data being stored and maintained which are retrievable that could give us unlimited visibility into our supply chain if we only knew how to harness this information in a usable format. 

One answer to this quandary are dashboards!

Dashboards aren’t a new idea, but from my prospective, this is an underutilized management power tool that most supply chain organizations are either ignoring or giving lip service to. If you aren’t familiar with this technology, a dashboard is an interactive interface similar to an automobile’s dashboard that organizes and presents information in a graphic and statistical format that is easy to read, analyze and understand.  It can be a one-stop shop for collecting, organizing and displaying all of your critical measurable metrics for your supply chain operations.

From what I’m observing, supply chain operations that are data-centric are managing their information in one, two, three or more disparate databases;  None of them interfaced with a dashboard that could give them instantaneous visibility over all of their supply chain data and metrics. One supply chain manager told me that he had to employ three databases to interpret why the cost of his orthopedic implants went up 38% in the last three quarters.  This was a waste of time and energy when all of the information that this supply chain professional needed for his analysis could have been housed in one dashboard — a statistical and graphic format where the answer would jump out at him – without breaking a sweat!

I can speak from experience, since my firm utilizes dashboards to assist our clients in managing and controlling all of their supply chain cost drivers: price, standardization, utilization and demand management.   Prior to developing these dashboards, we too, used dissimilar databases to pinpoint, prioritize and then isolate waste and inefficiency in our client’s supply streams. It was a time consuming, arduous and hit or miss proposition since we had too much information to categorize and organize and too little time to analyze it in real time. All of these challenges went away when we developed dashboards to do all of the heavy lifting for us.

Now that healthcare organizations’ supply chain staffing is being reduced to the bare minimum, yet the hard work of saving money must continue unabated, supply chain leaders must look to technology to fill the gap so they can maintain their high standards and productivity. Dashboards should be a key ingredient in your technology mix to keep your supply chain operations at peak performance. Don’t ignore it — embrace it!

Robert T. Yokl

Chief Value Strategist

Strategic Value Analysis® in Healthcare


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