Managers of senior Living facilities, first and foremost, desire to foster the health, happiness, and comfort of their residents. If only they could focus entirely on that.

At Direct Supply, we understand that they must deal with a bewildering array of secondary, yet essential tasks beyond the human side of this complex 24-7 business. Procurement is among the most daunting – and expensive – of those secondary tasks. That’s where we, and the DSSI Procurement Platform, come in.

Facility managers could hire staff to select products, analyze the cost/benefit of every purchase, track delivery of products, track invoices, expedite payments, and monitor supplier contract compliance in-house. Or, at a fraction of the cost, they could partner with Direct Supply’s innovative, industry-leading DSSI platform, and the decades of expertise that comes with it.

No other procurement platform in the senior facilities and healthcare sectors compares to DSSI. No competitor has gleaned as much useful industry data as Direct Supply. And no competitor has developed the artificial intelligence that can break down those massive terabytes into comprehensible information that drives near-term improvements in staff satisfaction, resident welfare, and on the bottom line.

“Everyone works hard to control spending,” said Doug Pickett, in an interview about Procurement Services and the DSSI platform. “But we’ve developed ways to make spending a strategic advantage for our clients.”

Procurement Services, Pickett said, works for healthcare providers in multiple ways. We optimize the use of the DSSI technology to create efficiencies in the Procure to Pay process, we drive savings using AI/ML in developing optimized order guides, and we help drive change across our clients’ organizations through robust analytics, training and communication.

Pickett said that double-digit procurement savings, even more than enhanced performance and reduced staff pain at the facility level, have driven the runaway success of DSSI over the last five years.

“More than 80 corporations are now utilizing DSSI Procurement Services,” he said. “Last year, we delivered a total of over $25 million in savings to those corporations.”

Automated contract compliance accounts for a big piece of those savings. A business might negotiate discounts and rebates and write them into a contract, but that doesn’t mean those contract terms will be met on every invoice. All it takes is a clerk or two not knowing that a discount rose from 3% to 3.25% in the third quarter. These things add up, as does the cost of endless manual checks for contract compliance and hidden fees. Automated contract compliance and violation alerts on a single procurement dashboard make compliance savings a nearly effortless bottom-line plus.

“Last year, we delivered a total of over $25 million in savings.”

“We’re agnostic about suppliers,” Pickett said. “We do what’s best for our clients, and we use data to help guide decisions. Our role is to provide the analysis to our clients so they can make the best educated decision.”

The DSSI team can work with a client organization to develop a custom, hosted procurement catalog. In consultation with the client, DSSI will narrow the universe of suppliers and products into a single electronic catalog of best-fit options. This curated catalog offers purchasing officers a one-stop procurement experience. Compare that with “punch-out” catalogs, which are essentially lists of links to websites of individual suppliers. They leave procurement officers surfing multiple websites to compare prices and features. Shopping with one window open is far more efficient than shopping with five windows open.

“I believe in hosted catalog environments,” Pickett said. “Punch-outs give all the power to the suppliers. Hosted catalogs give the clients all the control.”

DSSI can build those custom catalogs so effectively, in large part, because the platform has been so successful. DSSI gathers data from more than $5 billion in purchasing made by thousands of senior care facilities in its network. DSSI’s sophisticated artificial intelligence can analyze that data in seconds and  use it to predict needs and outcomes for a given client. From that analysis, we can build a catalog uniquely suited to a given client. Of course we can easily update the catalog as products and needs change,  but the solid foundation will always be in place.

For most of the conversation, Pickett focused on the big picture of DSSI. He explained, for example, how it will continue to evolve and thus better serve clients in an expanding spectrum of procurement categories. DSSI is reaching beyond product procurement and into services, notably non-emergency medical transport, teledata security, and medical waste disposal.

Near the end of the interview, though, Pickett narrowed the topic to a modest particular: An ounce of chicken.

“Food is an especially complex purchase,” Pickett said. “A senior living operator will create a menu, which in turn creates a recipe and ultimately a list of ingredients. DSSI Procurement Services has mastered the ability to optimize our clients’ food order guides by incorporating our team’s expertise. We use AI/ML to analyze all the data around stocking, contracts, and usage. We utilize the DSSI platform to carry it all out, so the communities can order the right products from the right supplier at the right price.”

“Change, at times, is the best solution,” Pickett said. “But management of that change should be thoughtful. Something as seemingly innocuous as switching products can have emotion attached to it.  The DSSI Procurement Services team has years of experience and expertise behind it. We know how to apply best practices in communication and training to make change as easy and seamless as possible.

“Our Procurement Services team becomes an extension of the client’s team,” Pickett said. “It’s part of our job to build trust and prove our value. We tell our clients to go take care of their residents, because we have everything else covered. And we mean it.”

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