Inventory Progress for Kaiser Permanente

Healthcare company gains visibility, control over supplies

Bedford, MA  September 18, 2002 Kaiser Permanente has deployed a distribution application from Royal 4, a provider of supply chain execution and collaborative commerce solutions, giving the nonprofit healthcare company greater control over its diverse inventory.

Kaiser's Start Up Services Division handles the purchasing of all general supplies necessary for medical projects, such as start-up or capital equipment for new medical facilities. This includes purchasing and tracking delivery of everything from calculators and exam tables to EKG machines ordered during the initial construction phase.

In any given year, Kaiser is responsible for managing all of the equipment that will ultimately fill 300 to 400 new facilities, with 30 to 40 projects happening simultaneously. On a monthly basis, they must track over 4,300 packages and are responsible for $20 million worth of medical equipment.

Prior to implementing the new system, Kaiser staff had to physically audit the distribution center by walking aisle by aisle with buyers, checking item by item to see what hadn't moved and why, often finding equipment that had been forgotten and re-ordered and could no longer be sold.

Tired of dealing with a legacy distribution application that was constantly down, could only present them with static information and had no reporting functionality whatsoever, Kaiser went looking for a new distribution application.

The new distribution solution, based on solution provider Progress Company's WISE application and implemented by Royal 4, is helping Kaiser increase overall inventory accuracy at its Southern California Start Up Services' facility to 99 percent, a 10 percent increase over its prior system. Kaiser Permanente can now track items with sufficient accuracy to ensure that the company can identify warehouse surplus and re-sell it to other organizations before its shelf life expires.

WISE handles the facility's monthly reporting and allows other divisions of the company to integrate and access reports. The WISE application also offers Kaiser's customers the ability to track their merchandise over the Web, increasing their overall ability to manage projects while dramatically reducing the number of tracking inquiries Kaiser handles, according to Progress.

Not only do our customers really appreciate the self-service option we can now offer, we handle [fewer] phone calls, said Jonathan Rothschild, senior supervisor at Kaiser. In the first six months of this year, the system has handled the equivalent of 1,200 phone calls. That is a nice chunk of manpower that we can allocate to other tasks, not to mention the boost in customer satisfaction.

"We even have a wireless delivery confirmation module, just like FedEx, added Rothschild.