'Be the loudest voice': Stanford Health's Amanda Chawla on elevating the supply chain

Amanda Chawla, chief supply chain officer at Palo Alto, Calif.-based Stanford Health Care, said she is all about innovation and maximizing impact.

Ms. Chawla has been at Stanford for more than three years and has worked to redefine the supply chain value equation.

Here, she answers Becker's five supply leader questions.

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

Question: What piqued your interest in healthcare supply chain?

Amanda Chawla: I was drawn by the ability to make a difference from a systematic, organizational and patient care standpoint. The complexity of the supply chain has an significant impact in supporting every department across an organization, which makes the ability to evolve and innovate exciting and necessary. The supply chain is the lifeline and blood of an organization; with all the rights (item, time, place, price, etc.) we have a direct impact in serving the healing hands that ultimately care for our patients. Now more than ever, as supply chain executives and leaders, we are revolutionizing how our industry operates. 

Q: What are a few of your top priorities for 2023?

AC: My top priorities are centered around the new value equation of supply chain. 

First and foremost, Stanford has redefined value from the traditional view of cost, quality and outcomes to Purpose Driven P.R.O.C.E.S.S., which stands for Purchasing Reliable products and services that are Outcomes-based, Customer-oriented, from Equitable and Sustainable Sources. Outcomes-based refers to the fundamental definition of value: cost divided by quality plus service. This simple phrase that we coined has complex implications; it redefines and recalibrates the new meaning of strategic sourcing. We still need to optimize efficiency, reduce costs and broaden how we approach sourcing. 

Second, I am focused on our people in terms of investing in engagement, succession planning, and retention. 

Third, technological advancement is a must. This includes replacing our enterprise resource planning system, reviewing third-party applications and developing our data analytics and intelligence capabilities. 

And lastly, further maturing our resiliency program and fully integrated approach in managing disruptions. 

Q: What has been your biggest accomplishment as chief supply chain officer?

AC: Less than a month before the pandemic, I had restructured my senior leadership team, with half of my team being new and from other industries. Not only did the leaders and our staff respond with such commitment and tenacity, but they did so without missing a beat, keeping our community, clinicians and patients safe during a historical crisis. Being able to promote from within, bring in talent and develop a highly talented team to respond in the way we did is something I would say is an accomplishment I will never forget.

Q: If you could pass along a piece of advice to other hospital supply chain leaders, what would it be?

AC: Be that support, that resource to your colleagues and customers around the organization. Be the loudest voice in championing your team's work and focus on elevating the supply chain. As leaders, we are responsible for advocating, managing change and communications, and bringing together our team(s) to align internally and build relationships with those we serve.

Q: What's the best piece of leadership advice you ever received?

AC: Be your authentic self and lean in while being transparent, honest and having strong ethics. These will never fail you. And when you fall, get up again and incorporate your learnings. If you don't try, you will fail; if you get up, you just might succeed.  

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