Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Real Life - Real-Time:Challenges, Successes, and Near Calamities

Watch video on YouTube
Free Online Preview At 

Available on Amazon: Paperback, Kindle and Kindle Apps for iPad, Droid, PC, etc
For Colleges and Universities - Midwest Library Service 

Coming To Barnes and Noble Nook

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

VA RTLS - Protest of Solicitation# VA118A-12-RP-0118

VA Solicitation VA118A-12-RP-0118 resulted in an award to HP Enterprise Services, LLC to provide a Real-Time Location System for the Veteran Administration's healthcare facilities.  The Maximum amount of the awards is $543,000,000 U.S.  Since that award, a bid protest has been submitted.

A bid protest can be submitted by a participating vendor after the solicitation is awarded to a competitor.

On July 31, 2012, Asset Management for Healthcare posted that it would try to obtain the following information:
1. The number of protests
2. Who filed each protest?
3. The nature of the each protest

There are 3 protests listed for VA118A-12-RP-0118, all by IBM with 3 different decision dates.

Protestor: IBM-U S Federal
Solicitation Number: VA118A-12-RP-0118
Agency: Department of Veterans Affairs
File Number: B-406934.1  Outcome: Not Decided  Status: Case Currently Open
Filed Date: Jun 25, 2012
Due Date: Oct 3, 2012
Case Type: Bid Protest

Protestor: IBM-U S Federal
Solicitation Number: VA118A-12-RP-0118
Agency: Department of Veterans Affairs
File Number: B-406934.2  Outcome: Not Decided  Status: Case Currently Open
Filed Date: Jul 9, 2012
Due Date: Oct 17, 2012
Case Type: Bid Protest

Protestor: IBM-U S Federal
Solicitation Number: VA118A-12-RP-0118
Agency: Department of Veterans Affairs
File Number: B-406934.3  Outcome: Not Decided  Status: Case Currently Open
Filed Date: Jul 19, 2012
Due Date: Oct 29, 2012
Case Type: Bid Protest

I have no information on the nature of the protest. But, I am still trying.


Monday, August 13, 2012

Capital Programs and the Cost of Doing Business

In my article, The Best Capital Playbook Ever!, published by, I asserted that interdisciplinary/multi-disciplinary consulting teams, and viewing capital programs from life-cycle asset management perspective make a difference.  I poked fun at what seems to be the standard healthcare process for asset reporting and capital programs: Hire a valuation team to inventory, tag, and place a value on assets.  Next, hire a consultant to help rewrite policy, tighten up the capital committee, and make sure projects are tied to strategic plans.

Yet, excess equipment, poor utilization, and inconsistent reporting remain issues within healthcare despite the practices.  Is this the cost of doing business or is there something we can do about it?

One obstacle may be the perspective of viewing asset management functions only as an expense center.  This perspective, I believe, hinders investment into the development of asset management practices, positions, and tools.

I am re-reading sections of The Best Kept Profit Secret: The Executive's Guide to Transforming a Cost Center Into a Profit Center by Flood, Jerralds, Perez, Sanchez, and Tyburski.  Abe Walking Bear Sanchez wrote. ”Every business function must have a clearly stated purpose that addresses the cost associated with carrying out that business function.” Even more, he asks on page 22, “Why incur the cost of carrying out a function?”

In the case of Asset Management, what is the stated function and why incur the cost?  For this series of articles, I have broken Asset Management down into philosophy, practice, and tools.  The philosophy concerns the asset life-cycle.  The practice will address policy and programs.  The tools will address Enterprise Asset Management applications and Real-Time Location Systems.

In regards to how Walking Bear framed the statement, the principles Asset Managers use are as timeless as when the first person fashioned, domesticated an animal, or constructed something to scratch out a living on planet Earth.  The asset life-cycle of acquire, utilize, maintain, and dispose became relevant at that point.   

“Why incur the cost of carrying out a function?” I would modify the statement a little.  Why invest in what looks like an increase in the operational budget of the function?  If one views Asset Management purely as an expense related business function, the only investment will be the time it takes in cost-cutting.  Cut, slice, and minimize are just par for the course and lead to the point of outsourcing or getting rid of all together.  There is only so much one can cut.   

The purposes of acquiring an asset are to treat the patient and make money.  The business functions of Asset Management increase the profitability of revenue projections, reduce risks, reduce costs, and recover investment.  

If you buy an asset, keep it until it is fully depreciated or you have fully recaptured your investment, then turn around and sell it for cash, is that not revenue? 

A department has $1,000,000 in overhead cost.  Projects and initiatives generated by that department slices $3,000,000 from corporate cost over the previous 3 years, actually freeing up cash that previously trended as spent in that category.  The department has decreased the total liabilities in comparison to total assets.  Is that not a form of equity… actually an increase in equity?  If equity is increased, that is a factor of revenue. 

ROI is target or ahead of the game.  Equipment purchases and utilization supports revenue generations.  Assets that have market value are disposed of accordingly.  Revenue!   Investment in the Asset Management function is more than just proper.  It is a necessity.      

Thursday, August 9, 2012

New Editorial - Covering Your Assets By Exposing The Butt-Ugly Truth

Here is the new editorial from Erick C. Jones, PhD, P.E., CSSBB. Preview Covering Your Assets By Exposing The Butt-Ugly Truth  Preview on Kindle. Buy on Paperback or Kindle. Nook coming soon. 

"I was interested especially in his detail of Real Time Location Systems-RTLS and Radio Frequency Identification (RFID).... His real world experiences with RFPs for EAM software (or what ERP vendors call CMMS).... The idea that consultants just took the operational plan and represented it to management seemed all too real from some of my own past experiences.  I think this is a must read and provides interesting insights to any organization...." Erick C. Jones, PhD, P.E., CSSBB Associate Professor -Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering, Director RFID & AutoID Deployment Lab

Monday, August 6, 2012

Facilities Management, Biomedical Equipment Repair - How Much Do You Invest?

I submitted another article to last week.  It has an edge on it, so I hope it will get published. The subject is capital programs. Specifically, whether or not what seems like the normal process adds to poor reporting, increased cost, poor utilization, and excess equipment?

One point of the article makes is that Biomedical Equipment Repair/Clinical Engineering, and Facilities Management can add great value if leadership invests in their training and changes their expectations of what they can offer.  Because they can offer a great deal to improve capital programs and reporting.  Sometimes they just aren't asked!

What do you think?