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Fresenius Helios

At HELIOS, high medical standards go hand in hand with efficient, economically sound management of available resources. The HELIOS purchasing concept defines binding regulations and standards that have proven especially effective with regard to cost-intensive materials such as drugs, medicinal products, medical technology, and operational and administrative needs. Important regulations are:

  • Teams of medical experts and committees set binding group-wide quality requirements and define product standards together with the procurement officers.
  • All purchasing decisions are transparent and comprehensible: HELIOS publishes all decisions made by the medical expert groups and corporate purchasing on the internet and the intranet.
  • Product managers, i. e. the respective HELIOS employees from the pharmacy, purchasing, medical technology, the laboratory, catering, etc., are responsible for coordinating purchasing activities for their product groups across hospitals.
  • The corporate transparency rule applies to all employees of HELIOS hospitals. Clear instructions and guidelines are in place to prevent all types of influence on purchasing decisions. HELIOS expects all external partners to acknowledge and support this corporate rule.

HELIOS is striking out into new territory in standardizing materials as far as collaboration with related disciplines is concerned. An interdisciplinary working group formed in November 2011 completed the largest standardization project in the Company’s history in the fall of 2012. This was the first time that all implants – together with working materials and components (such as stents and balloon catheters used in interventional cardiology, i. e. cardiac catheter diagnostics and treatment, radiology, neuroradiology, and electrophysiology) – were standardized and jointly put out to tender. The working group checked and evaluated approximately 10,000 articles for benefits to patients, quality, and economic value. Together these items represented annual sales of more than €20 million. This project has resulted in a 30% reduction to the range of these articles. HELIOS negotiated savings of high single-digit million euros, which will have an impact from 2013 onward. This project also incorporated the newly acquired Damp Group hospitals and the HELIOS Hospital Duisburg.

HELIOS also extended implementation of its purchasing concept to the Laboratory and Laundry segments. Procurement management in the Laboratory segment is multifaceted and complex, as HELIOS maintains more than 30 laboratories, 4 microbiology units, and 6 pathology units that carry out a wide variety of tasks, e. g. analyses of metabolisms and hormones. At a cost of approximately €15 million, it initially procured more than 6,000 articles from more than 350 suppliers. The aim of the procurement measures taken in 2012 was to standardize and consolidate the purchasing materials used in the Laboratory segment and to provide transparency on how the sourcing decisions were reached. As a result, the reduction in costs was significant. We furthermore reduced the numbers of suppliers and articles. In the Laundry segment, an interdisciplinary working group comprising hospital managers, employees from purchasing, nursing staff, and logistics specialists set uniform quality standards and streamlined the extensive range of laundry articles. The number of service providers was reduced and group contracts with newly standardized terms and conditions were signed. The goal was to ensure constant quality and security of supplies and also cost efficiency. The standardized contractual conditions, ranges of articles, and logistics now mean that data from all suppliers can be compared and used as the basis for future purchasing decisions. The HELIOS hospitals are now serviced by 4 laundries (2011: 15). By bundling them, HELIOS has cut its laundry costs by more than 20%, accruing benefits that will mainly materialize in 2013.

To keep the high standard of medical quality, HELIOS hospitals place value on close cooperation with their suppliers. Their strategic selection by our supplier management also serves to minimize risks in the sourcing process. Only suppliers that have an adequate fault management process, a convincing fault and defects reporting process, and a low risk of business failure can be considered as a business partner for HELIOS. The HELIOS partner rating system reviews the business relationship between HELIOS and its suppliers from the perspective of both partners.

Hospitals’ energy requirements are a key cost factor. In 2012, HELIOS spent a total of about €69 million on energy, water, and fuels (2011: about €55 million). Adjusted for the newly acquired hospitals, the cost would have remained at the previous year’s level. HELIOS has created a web-based sourcing platform, enPortal, which provides transparency on all utilities at all hospital locations. Variances in consumption and costs are promptly detected and directly acted upon. HELIOS monitors the price trends on the energy exchanges on a daily basis. The enPortal platform, to which more than 440 energy utilities in Germany are linked, is used by other Fresenius business segments. For 2012, the price of electricity increased by approximately 2%, particularly as a result of increasing network usage charges and another slight in crease in payments under the German Renewable Energy Act. We also achieved good results in our natural gas sourcing and are now covering requirements until October 31, 2013. The cost of natural gas was reduced by about 4% for the 2012 supply year (October 31, 2011 to October 31, 2012), while the previous year’s cost was already reduced by about 7%.

The Catering segment, which covers both the feeding of patients and service for the cafeterias, managed to keep the increase in the cost of materials used to an acceptable level (+3%), despite volatile and increasing commodity prices on the food markets. The procurement volume for food in 2012 was about €50 million.

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