How Geisinger shot up 7 spots in Gartner's supply chain ranking

As Gartner began listing the top 10 of its 25 healthcare supply chain ranking, the Geisinger supply team got nervous during its Microsoft Teams meeting, Kate Polczynski, Geisinger's vice president of enterprise supply chain, told Becker's

"As the rankings continued to go higher and higher and we hadn't been called, I recall at one point saying to the team, 'Either we moved up or we're out,'" Ms. Polczynski said, laughing. "As it broke the top 10, I think you could feel the anticipation growing. When we were finally announced, it was just so relieving. I was just thrilled for the team and the recognition of all the hard work they've accomplished."

In November, Geisinger placed in the No. 9 spot in Gartner's supply ranking, making it the biggest jump on the list from 2021 when it was at No. 16. 

Ms. Polczynski credits her team, and the organization's mission at large, for the win. 

Danville, Pa.-based Geisinger's supply chain unit fell off the list years ago, but in 2021, it reappeared. The climb back to the top was because of an integrated clinical supply chain, strategic partnerships with no "winners" or "losers," reviving old ideas and her team's grit, according to Ms. Polczynski. 

"If we don't get over the finish line together, we didn't achieve what we sought out to do," she said. "That team mentality is across our purchasing department, our contracting department, our sourcing professionals and our logistics team. It takes all of them, with all of their respective expertise and contributions, to ultimately get that product to the patient."

A hospital supply chain aligned with clinical needs means not only considering a product's cost "but looking beyond that to be comprehensive and linking that to quality," Ms. Polczynski said. This mindset also flows into the stream of industry partners in which both Geisinger and its suppliers, including Medline, have a risk-based relationship. 

Geisinger's central distribution model and absence of a "just in time" mindset may have helped boost its rank, as it helped the system's supply chain survive disruptions from COVID-19.

In the beginning of the pandemic, "being able to bring in a product to a quantity that was more than just a day's worth, because the supply chain was so fragile and deliveries were not guaranteed, that's something that's 'what's old is new again' used to be a really hot concept and people seemed to move away from it," Ms. Polczynski said. Now, "people are reconsidering that strategy with a different lens and to help build from a supply chain resiliency perspective."

With current supply chain issues stemming from high labor and transportation costs, as well as international tensions, Ms. Polczynski thanked her team members for their dedication. 

"I could not imagine a world without their commitment," she said. "It really does take that grit to fight through these challenges day in and day out when you feel like you're constantly climbing uphill."

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