2 Essential Traits of Today's Successful Hospital Supply Chain Executive


Tue Mar 29 13:00:29 CDT 2016

Wholistic and strategic. 


These are the two top traits of successful supply chain executives right now in healthcare, according to the insightful keynote at last month's World Congress on Health Care Supply Chain in Las Vegas. Raymond Siegfried, senior vice president of Christiana Care Health System in Delaware, delivered the address.


What exactly does it mean to be wholistic and strategic, and how will those traits make you a successful hospital supply chain executive? Here are three ideas that emerged:


1. Wholistic and strategic supply chains will help change healthcare delivery.

Health reform is indeed about lowering costs while improving care, but hospitals can too often rely on the supply chain for just the cost-cutting, and on other groups for improving care. This is a mistake. Supply chain executives that take the lead on a more wholistic and strategic approach will stand out. By working with management and clinical teams to focus on achieving the best patient outcomes through supply chain decisions, organizations can move more swiftly toward the goals of value-based care, whether those decisions include cost-cutting or not.  


2. Wholistic and strategic executives will turn supply chains into supply systems.

A supply chain becomes a supply system when everything in the supply chain is designed and managed for the full operation it serves. Does every part of your supply chain work together toward a common goal? (That goal being patient health.) Consider the case study of Zara Clothing, chronicled here in this BusinessWeek piece. Their novel approach to supply chain emphasizes the importance of designing a wholistic system, and one where low-cost isn't always the main driver of optimal outcomes.


3. Successful executives will build strategic relationships with manufacturers and distributors.

Since the FDA has no cost control in their formula for approval, the burden of cost-consciousness falls to the supply chain. Executives that break down the walls between hospitals, manufacturers and distributors to work together toward creating cost-conscious supplies that produce good health outcomes will emerge as winners in the new system. 


How do these approaches sit with you? Do you plan on being more wholistic and strategic in the near future?