Saturday, December 5, 2009

Rubber Bands, Anyone?

Last week, an email went out that read, "The Copy Center is in need of rubber bands. If you could please send any surplus rubber bands you have in a routing envelope to Chanda in Materiels Management, it would be much appreciated."

Our Chief Medical Officer let me know, in a light-hearted way, that if we need to ask for rubber bands, then we could be in trouble as an organization. I tended to agree at first. Then I thought about what we spend on supplies each year and how many of these rubber bands go right into the garbage. That's several thousand dollars each year.

In the Intensive Care Unit, Pam, our Unit Secretary, led the charge to have physician order forms and blank progress notes available for printing right through our intranet. This will provide over $5,000 in annual savings along with a more efficient and effective process.

SJMC spends almost $30 million each year on supplies alone or around 15.4% of our net revenues. Just think, for every 1% improvement we make, we would save $2 million dollars which gets reinvested in our services, employee education, equipment and facility needs just to name a few things.

Organizations typically need to make 4-7% in order to reinvest in capital each year. In your own household, if you made $30,000 after taxes, 4% would be $1,200 in savings. Out of that savings, you then take part of it for any capital needs (e.g., new dishwasher, car, home upgrades, etc). That money goes quickly and the list of needs seem unending in our personal and professional lives.

So thank you Pam and Chanda for serving as great stewards of our resources.

I look forward to hearing other ways you save on supplies while ensuring the quality of your organization (or home) stays strong.

And remember, if you have any extra rubber bands, just send them on over to Chanda.

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