Home' Australian Ageing Agenda : AAA Sept-Oct 2017 Contents NEIL FAWCETT, chief financial
officer for Benteas, answers
our questions on aged care
credit Barry Gittins
Making every dollar count
What are the main areas you procure and
are responsible for?
e are responsible for procuring anything
and ever ything involved in the running
of our aged care ser vices and support
office. This includes items such as
electricity and gas, clinical equipment, chemicals,
fleet, cleaning, waste removal and catering.
What number of facilities, residents and staff is within
your procurement remit?
Within my remit are our 13 residential aged care homes with
903 residential care places, home care ser vices supporting over
4,000 clients, 112 retirement living units, 1,500 staff and over
Which areas of operations do you outsource and
which areas are covered in-house?
Benetas currently outsources its residential flat linen ser vice
and cleaning. We have recently also begun outsourcing
our residential catering, to deliver on increased choice for
residents. This is part of our new approach to aged care, which
seeks to create a living environment which is as close to home
as possible for residents. All other areas of the business are
What are your key procurement challenges?
One of the biggest challenges is ensuring we are operating as
efficiently as possible and extracting the maximum value out of
our large contracts. Given the large breadth of the organisation
it can be at times difficult to maintain visibility across all the
different ser vices.
For example, you might find that some sites are sourcing
products outside the main contracted suppliers, resulting in
a dilution of the savings that have been achieved. It can be
difficult ensuring we are continually capturing and responding
to these types of inefficiencies.
What strategies do you use to address these challenges?
We adopt a collaborative approach with our suppliers, where
they fully understand our business needs and look to deliver
high-quality goods and services at a competitive rate.
Good suppliers will proactively conduct regular analysis
of usage patterns, identify ways in which you might not be
operating as efficiently as possible and offer solutions, which
directly add to our bottom line and client outcomes.
Suppliers should also be able to educate staff on how to use
products as effectively as possible, reducing waste and misuse.
Actively managing contracts, including meeting key suppliers on
a regular basis, promotes a partnership approach, which helps to
keep them accountable and keeps us all on the same page.
How do you use technology to assist
Benetas has recently rolled out Epicor 10 across the business
and this is giving us increased visibility by strengthening our
internal ability to deliver comprehensive spend reports. We are
able to break down usage by site and ser vice and identify usage
patterns. This allows us to continue benchmarking, which
means we are comparing like-for-like between sites
and can increase efficiencies and decrease cost.
We are also in the process of implementing
an e-procurement solution and introducing
more sophisticated enhancements to our existing
Where and how do you achieve efficiencies?
Aside from ensuring major spend categories are
tightly managed, data becomes your greatest ally
in achieving efficiencies in procurement. With
enough information, you’re able to identify
behaviours and trends that indicate an opportunity
for better financial and client outcomes.
Consolidating a product range is one of the
simplest ways you can achieve efficiencies; if you select just a
few high-quality options for staff to choose from rather than
the full gamut you are making things a lot simpler. This ends
up saving time, money and ultimately ensures we are delivering
the best outcome for clients and staff.
Do you have any tips for your counterparts?
At a time when government is cutting funding, ever y dollar counts
so you cannot allow wastage in areas you have control over.
The importance of good governance across all procurement
processes cannot be underestimated. You need to have a
clearly defined strategy for procurement and what you expect
it to deliver to the organisation. You also need to resource
it adequately and invest in suitable technology to deliver the
efficiency and savings you’re looking for.
As an industr y, we need to fully understand what consumer
choice really means and prepare for it. n
australianageingagenda.com.au | 41
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