Supply chain management technology is changing the way buyers and sellers communicate. Leading this charge are new supply chain social networks that provide a platform for seamless interactions between healthcare buyers and sellers. In this article, we discuss how social networks can improve buyer-seller communications and ultimately streamline healthcare business-to-business communications.

What are Supply Chain Social Media Networks?

While tools like email and telecommunications are valuable, social media networks have introduced a new level of autonomy within buyer and seller communications. Supply chain social networks use many of the same features and practices of other major social media platforms, but are designed to represent an entire organization.

There are 3 key components of supply chain social media networks:

1. Profiles

Personal social media accounts, like Facebook, represent a single person while supply chain social network accounts represent the entire organization and include multiple members from each organization. There is real-time relevancy in the information exchanged between buyer and seller accounts, including names and roles. This type of communication is more dynamic than email which can quickly become obsolete if key recipients miss the latest thread.

2. Automation

Supply chain social network are based on automation. Buyers and sellers can more easily connect, send messages, be notified of RFP offerings much like a network of social friends. It’s a win-win situation when users can greatly reduce time spent messaging and instead invest their hours performing more valuable tasks.

3. Centralized Rules.

Having one profile per-organization comes with the major advantage of being able to assign administrative roles. Then, organizations can centralize the guidelines and rules for their supply chain social network accounts – no more worrying about a user abusing the platform.

The primary goal of a supply chain social network is to make the procurement of supplies much easier by offering accounts that represent the entire organization. This way, only the most relevant information is exchanged between members for enhanced communication about information that is central to the organization: efficient buying and selling of healthcare goods and services.

Improving the Medical Equipment Sector with Supply Chain Social Networks

For 2019, the US medical device industry is expected to reach $95 billion with a 5 year growth rate of 1.6%. The question is: what happens to used medical devices and equipment as new items are purchased?

Used equipment clutters the halls and storage areas of medical facilities. Selling used equipment is time consuming, with many devices being given away for free just to lessen the burden for hospital personnel.

Supply chain social networks can alleviate this problem by sponsoring auctions that notify suppliers, peers, and other industry connections what equipment is for sale. In essence, these social networks act as a Ebay auction site specifically targeted to healthcare supply chain professionals. Mazree’s Smart Auction platform, recently helped their clients sell over $900,000 in used equipment using their supply chain social network platform. This function allows healthcare institutions to recapture their initial investment, clear valuable space, or purchase used equipment at economical prices.

Streamline and promote transparent communications

While email is still a valuable communication channel, supply chain social media sites create a private community of valuable buyers, suppliers, and peers. Like other social sites, connections are approved by your organization, which adds credibility and trust to your communications.

Transparent communications. Interactions can be optimized and very transparent for the supply chain management team. The latest information about new deals, bidding history, and negotiations mean that teams can better synchronize their efforts.

Filter cold calls and unwanted contacts. With supply chain networks, contact points are centralized and information filters are configurable. This means supply chain management teams can create customized filters that reflect the selection standards of the organization.

Archived knowledge. Information that is aggregated over time is stored within a single network account – no more personal notebooks and emails accounts. This approach keeps institutional knowledge easily accessible by new team members or for future bid insights.

Supplier Diversity. The most effective way to leverage pricing packages is to create greater diversity within your supply chain. This allows for more competitive opportunities to gain higher quality equipment and supplies at a lower price. Building your connections with select business partners builds diversity and trust.

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