5 thoughts keeping supply leaders up at night

Workforce shortages and managing supply chain disruptions as the COVID-19 pandemic eases in severity are top of mind for hospital supply leaders. 

Here's what five hospital supply chain executives told Becker's were the problems keeping them up a night: 

Editor's note: Responses were lightly edited for clarity and length. 

Derrick Williams. Vice President of Supply Chain Operations of Indiana University Health (Indianapolis): Two issues that keep me up at night are increased team member turnover and product disruptions. We are experiencing abnormally high turnover in people because of a competitive job market. Product disruptions that began early in the COVID-19 pandemic are still impactful and, in some cases, we are on the fourth and fifth subs for a stock-keeping unit. This creates instability in operations and increased back orders across the system. Indiana University Health continues to look into proactive ways to retain and recruit talent and to work closely with our distributors to reduce product disruptions in our system.

Eddie Sharp. System Vice President of Supply Chain of PeaceHealth (Vancouver, Wash.): Making sure we have a stable inventory of products and supplies — during continued worldwide supply chain disruptions — is our top concern. We've improved our ability to adapt and predict demand during the pandemic, so we're better positioned to respond to potential global challenges like product back orders, limited transportation, and rising product and service costs. We know every adjustment we make is critical to our caregivers' ability to deliver safe, high-quality care for patients.

Jason Moulding. Vice President, CSCO and President of Myriadd Supply Network of MultiCare Health System (Tacoma, Wash.): Increased expenses coupled with stagnant reimbursement is keeping me up at night. Expense categories from across our income statement have risen significantly and in some cases exponentially. The higher cost of supplies, purchased services and labor are putting even more pressure on traditionally thin margins in nonprofit healthcare. 

Even though supply chain congestion seems to be easing, the threat of natural disasters, transportation strikes and manufacturing lockdowns loom in the background. Recruiting and retaining talent is becoming more of a struggle as remote work allows for employees to jump from one health system to another with relative ease.

Nita Stith. Vice President of Supply Chain of Lehigh Valley Health Network (Allentown, Pa.): Anyone working in supply chain, especially over the last few years, is well aware of challenges, whether it be ordering vaccines or contrast dye that's essential in medicine. We are always prepared for any supply challenges that may arise — and while that keeps us on our toes, I am very proud of the work our team has accomplished and how they've adapted, especially under the circumstances of the pandemic. In fact, in 2022, Lehigh Valley Health Network received the 2022 Surgical Performance Excellence in Supply Chain Award by Healthcare Purchasing News for perioperative support.

Tom Viola. Senior Director of Health System Supply Chain of University of Rochester (N.Y.) Medical Center: Supply chain analytics — how we gather the right data, interpret it appropriately and utilize it for better fact-based decision-making.

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