From disruption to transformation: How to become a next-gen supply chain leader

As hospitals and health systems confront the rapidly evolving healthcare landscape, many are looking to supply chain leaders as strategic advisers in delivering value for their patients and bottom lines. 

During a virtual featured session sponsored by Cardinal Health as part of Becker's Hospital Review 11th Annual Meeting in May, three experts discussed the skills, partnerships and resources needed to become a next-generation supply chain leader:

  • Rob Ciamarra, senior vice president of global procurement, Manufacturing and Supply Chain, Cardinal Health
  • Robert Rajalingam, president of U.S. Sales, Cardinal Health
  • Joe Walsh, founder, Supply Chain Sherpas

Four key takeaways were: 

  1. Looking ahead, healthcare organizations will use data and technology to reduce supply chain risk. Over the past 20 years, there has been an overemphasis on driving down costs in the healthcare supply chain. To improve supply chain resiliency, organizations will use analytics to understand potential risks associated with raw materials all the way through to finished products. With that information, supply chain professionals will embed risk management practices into the supply chain. The shift to newer technologies like blockchain will also enable greater transparency throughout the supply chain. "We'll get to a place where we can anticipate supply chain risks and cost improvements," Mr. Ciamarra said. "We will be more proactive and predictive than we've been historically."
  2. Supply chain leaders are turning their attention to total cost of ownership. Much of the supply chain turmoil experienced in the last year can be attributed to a heavy focus on price. Now many healthcare organizations are taking a more holistic approach to the total cost of their supply chain investments and expenses and are focusing on resiliency. To gain insight into total cost of ownership, health systems must introduce more rigor into business processes, from sourcing to logistics and purchasing processes.
  3. Talent is a critical component of resilient healthcare supply chains. "The pandemic has highlighted that talent matters in supply chain," Mr. Walsh said. "When the supply chain breaks, it's usually due to people who failed to build the operational infrastructure." Supply Chain Sherpas' Annual Supply Chain Leader of the Future survey identifies the attributes and competencies supply chain leaders need to execute in the current environment. The most recent survey found that the attributes required for success include a growth and learning mindset, empathy and learning agility. Competencies related to strategy, change communications, relationships and collaboration are also increasingly important. In addition, healthcare supply chain leaders must be skilled at demand planning, analytics and logistics fundamentals. 
  4. With the right partnerships, disruption can become an opportunity for transformation. Strategic partners, such as distributors and manufacturers, can provide healthcare supply chain leaders with the solutions and visibility needed to elevate supply chain and clinical performance. "Supply chain leaders must build the connective tissue across different stakeholders to communicate and share data effectively," Mr. Rajalingam said. "Good decisions are enabled by good information, and good information comes from well-organized data." Cardinal Health has invested millions to create predictive supply health and global planning capabilities for its healthcare partners. 

To view this session on-demand, click here.

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