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4 Common Infor Lawson Supply Chain Management Challenges (and How to Solve Them)

Jun 8, 2020

Infor Lawson’s Supply Chain Management (SCM) Suite is one of the most popular solutions for healthcare providers, and it’s easy to see why. Lawson SCM helps hospitals integrate their supply chain, increase efficiency, get access to better data, and save money.

As useful as the suite can be, however, we’ve found that some of our clients aren’t making the most of what they have, from not being aware of best practices for some features to completely not knowing about parts of Lawson SCM entirely! While you can get by using the basics of the suite for a little while, you’ll eventually run into big problems down the road like overpayments, extra work, and inaccurate reports. A tool like Lawson SCM can be a big investment for healthcare organizations, but not using it correctly can cost you more than it saves in the long run. 

Imagine using the Lawson SCM suite as a bit like driving a stick shift. You could drive all over town in only first or second gear, and that would get you where you need to go. But why wear out your engine when you have three more gears you could be using? To help you take advantage of those extra gears, we’ve put together a list of common challenges hospitals tend to have with Infor Lawson SCM, as well as how to solve them.

4 Common Infor Lawson SCM Challenges 

1) Purchase Order Problems

During a recent assessment, one of our consultants discovered that a majority of a client’s purchase orders (almost 90 percent!) had been created for several vendors off contract, costing them extra work and potentially lost profits. We recommend fixing the purchase order process from KanBan locations so that all purchases would be ordered on contract moving forward. 

2) Insufficient Data and Reporting

We all know the importance of data. Not only do you need data, but it needs to be accurate and reliable for you to make the most of reporting. Millions of dollars in Open POs, for example, would be a scary sight for anyone to find, especially if you don’t know how to slice and dice that data to get to the root of the problem, but that’s exactly what one of our consultants discovered for a client. That’s why it’s so essential to perform a data cleanup and work with your vendors to improve standards, as well as why a firm grasp of data and quantity analysis reports can come in handy.

3) Lack of Training

Training is crucial when it comes to technology and not just during implementation. New features and updates are delivered regularly throughout the lifecycle of the SCM suite, and you need to understand how those changes impact your process and organization. We recommend custom training to application-specific areas, as well as custom overview training on the Infor Lawson modules so that you and your team understand how they all work together. 

As an example, a consultant of ours noticed that a client was underutilizing Lawson Mobile Supply Chain Management (MSCM) technology, only using it for PAR counting for a small number of PAR locations, which led to a lack of accountability and discrepancies in actual inventory. When our consultant dug into the issue, a lack of training on how to make the most of MSCM and Receiving & Delivery (RAD) was the culprit. 

Training your logistics team on all the features Lawson SCM has to offer is key to taking the full advantage of the suite’s many functionalities, (not to mention avoiding issues like paying for products that never actually made it to your warehouse…) 

4) Inefficient Processes and Practices

Inefficient processes and practices are the fourth and largest entry on our list, and that’s because they’re one of the biggest issues we’ve noticed clients running into with Infor Lawson SCM, (which is ironic as most of the individual problems themselves are pretty small). It’s when they build up over time, however, that they can gunk up the system. Take mass purchase orders for example. One of our clients was running a mass purchase order (PO120) every half an hour by buyer, which was majorly slowing things down. We recommended streamlining this process by only running PO120 3-4 times per day for all issue methods (such as paper, fax, EDI, email, etc.).

Another example of further streamlining opportunities is in the purchase order interface from Lawson applications. One of our clients had a complex, multi-step job stream for each buyer, which not only added an unnecessary amount of extra stress on the system but also caused the process to take up far more time than needed. Our recommendation was to set up a job stream that creates released purchase orders for filtered options (i.e., inventory items or vendors), freeing up buyers to focus on Unreleased POs.

Finally, another common inefficiency issue we’ve seen hospitals run into is how they set up their vendors. One client, for example, set up two different vendors as “one-time vendors” even though they’d been used 4,700 and 14,000 times over a roughly 2-year period. If you’re using a vendor regularly, the best practice is to complete due diligence and set them up as a regular vendor. It might take a little more investment of time and energy on the front end, but once you’ve done so, the savings will be tremendous.

Call in the Infor Lawson Experts

At Surety Systems, we understand that navigating a supply chain management in a healthcare environment can be challenging. But remember, those slow gears will only take you so far—and eventually, they’ll die out. But our senior-level Infor Lawson consulting team can show you how to take advantage of everything the Infor Lawson SCM suite has to offer so you can get back over in the fast lane.

Our consultants will start with an assessment of your current environment, and from there, we can identify pain points and offer solutions. We also pride ourselves on the fact that our consultants will teach you how to figure out supply chain issues for yourself, ensuring that you understand how to identify potential problems or bottlenecks that may arise in the future, as well as how to handle them, so that you can keep your system running smoothly.

Whether you’re ready to make the most of your Infor Lawson Supply Chain Management Suite or you’re interested in learning more about Infor’s CloudSuite™ supply chain management solutions, we’ve got you covered. Contact us today to get started.

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