May 27

3 Fundamentals for Building a Resilient Healthcare Supply Chain of the Future


By focusing on the fundamentals even in a crisis, supply chain leaders can put the right people, processes, and technologies in place to tackle their healthcare organization’s most critical needs for any eventuality. These three fundamentals are:

1. Establish a supply chain crisis management team: This team would be made up of internal (i.e., supply chain, clinical and administrative staff) and external partners (i.e., suppliers, manufacturers and GPO representatives) working from their home. This crisis team must work cross-functionally to respond to any emergency that might arise. The crisis management team should also develop and run business drills to prepare for and anticipate supply chain disruptions in the future.

2. Digitize as many supply chain processes and operations as possible: Supply chain is one of the last departments to digitize their processes and operations (so staff, stakeholders, and partners can work from anywhere), due to the complexity and cost of doing so. However, healthcare organizations that have done so have seen immediate cost savings and long-term benefits. For example, when a physical contract is not possible, an e-signature can ensure delivery from a prime vendor of needed supplies.

3. Have a central point of contact for communication: Spreadsheets, e-mails, and even text messages are obsolete as communication tools during a crisis. These tools make it unclear who is accountable when an issue arises during a crisis. Therefore, it is recommended that supply chain managers employ a Centralized Communication Management System to capture issues, assign clear accountability to individuals, and then ensure that the issues are resolved. Having a central source for issue resolution allows problems to be recognized and resolved more quickly, but also ensures everyone involved in the decision-making process has the latest updates to guide them in their decision making.

If you have spent a decade or so in supply chain management, you probably have already experienced calamities in your supply chain career. Therefore, you already know that crisis planning must start before the disaster arises or you could lose valuable time getting up to speed. That’s why these three fundamentals should make sense to you. (Source:

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GPO, healthcare, healthcare organization, hospitals, savings, supply chain, value analysis

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