The future hospital supply leader

For decades, health system supply chain executives have been focused on reducing costs, but now, they're looking beyond price tags, according to Tom Harvieux, vice president and chief supply officer of St. Louis-based BJC HealthCare.

Beyond the acquisition cost are environmental implications, unnecessary product variation and resiliency goals. Future healthcare supply chain leaders will have expertise in non-healthcare operations, said Mr. Harvieux, whose department features employees who worked in consumer product goods, manufacturing, aerospace, distribution, credit card and big beverage companies.

"If you only have one perspective in [the supply chain ecosystem], then you may be driving more problems than solving," Steve Downey, Cleveland Clinic's chief supply chain and patient support services officer, told Becker's

For people who are solely experienced in the healthcare industry and want to level up their departments, hospital leaders can learn from the success stories at logistics and retail companies. 

For example, Walmart imposes penalties on late deliveries "because it's not to make money, it's to drive performance," Mr. Harvieux said. "And when you drive performance, you reduce waste, you reduce complexity, you improve the operations substantially."

Industry-leading supply chain directors aren't just ordering items — they're tracking raw materials and where medical products are manufactured, implementing redundancies, training employees, educating the C-suite, and preparing for planned shutdowns of manufacturing plants and unplanned disruptions around the world. 

To sustain this juggling act, leaders need to be agile and daring, supply chain executives told Becker's

"One needs to be bold and not be afraid to continuously challenge the status quo," said Régine Villain, chief supply chain and support services officer of New Orleans-based Ochsner Health. 

"In the pursuit of doing all of those things, we're not always going to be successful — at least not at first," Ms. Villain said. "We're gonna have to have that resiliency within ourselves to be able to say, 'You know what, if at first you didn't succeed, try again, and then try again and try again and try again.'"

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