Still fortunate! Yesterday I met with a BIG group of professionals from a large healthcare provider in the Southwestern United States where we discussed digitizing and automating a contract expiration process to improve the employee experience and empower the supply chain organization to help the hands that supply patient care.
This dedicated team of professionals have unique processes, tools, and artifacts outside of the EMR to support their role and responsibility for supply chain management. Everyone I talked to, expressed a desire to improve the employee experience through modernizing their processes.
In the end, we all agreed that digitizing and automating their processes would go a long way toward improving the employee experience. Here’s how we did it…
The Supply Chain Organization (SCO) has four areas of operations: Category Management, Purchasing, Logistics and Materials Management, Support Services and Business Programs and Services. The Category management team is responsible for sourcing, contracting, and supplier relationship management.
The Category management team currently has a lengthy manual process for identifying expiring supplier contracts that is error prone, leads to multiple versions of the truth and, on occasion, interrupts the delivery of critical supplies.
The current process involves running a query against a database to export a list of contracts expiring in less than five years to Excel. Once the data is exported to Excel, it’s shared through a series of email threads where each individual responsible for the contract reviews, validates, and updates the necessary changes before submitting a final draft to the leadership team.
I sat down with the Category management team and in a couple of hours we mocked up a solution using their organization’s investment in Microsoft 365, here’s what it looked like…
In Microsoft Teams we created two teams, one to support the Contoso SCO Leadership Team and a second to support the Contoso SCO Category Management Team:
Contoso SCO Leadership Team and SCO Category Management Team
Files is a SharePoint document library used for storing team artifacts like files, documents, and spreadsheets. First, under the Contoso SCO Leadership Team General channel Files tab we created a folder named Final Contract List:
Contoso SCO Leadership Team
Second under the Contoso Category Management Team we created a Contracts channel where we created two folders (Contract Working Lists and Final Contract Lists) within the Files tab:
Contoso SCO Category Management Team
Using Office Professional Plus, we copied the Excel spreadsheet containing the exported data into the Contract Working Lists folder and created an Excel tab named Contracts (-5) that can be conveniently coauthored by the Contoso Category Management Team.
Conversations is used for ongoing persistent-chat conversations, so while we were at it, we @mentioned the Contoso SCO Category Management Team to initiate collaboration amongst team members by informing them that newly exported data was available for review:
As part of the process it’s important for the Contoso SCO Category Management Team to share the final version of the Contract (-5) spreadsheet with the leadership team for final review and approval.
Once the team finished reviewing the exported data and all changes were finalized the Excel spreadsheet was moved to the Final Contract Lists folder:
Microsoft Flow is and Office 365 software tool that allows employees to create and automate workflows across applications and services without needing a developer. By modifying a Flow template to copy files from one SharePoint Online folder to another we were able to easily copy the final version of the Contract (-5) spreadsheet from the Contoso SCO Category Management Team Final Contract Lists folder to the Contoso SCO Leadership Team Final Contract Lists folder and send an email notifying the Contoso SCO Leadership Team to review and approve:
This was just the start! The Contoso SCO Category Management Team was so excited about what we achieved in a little under two hours that they started making a list of processes they could easily automate using some of the same applications and services. It also sounds like they’re driving additional value out of their M365 investment using Forms and PowerBI to collect and present data in more useful and consumable ways.
Anyway you look at it, I’m fortunate to be working with people like me who want to change the way we experience wellness. THIS IS FUN!