The power of organizational resilience — Cardinal Health's Steve Marshall discusses Presource and current supply chain challenges

In recent years, healthcare leaders have come to recognize the importance of fostering organizational resilience. This means today's healthcare leaders are seeking vendor partners that can help drive efficiencies, prepare for contingencies and optimize outcomes.

Becker's Hospital Review recently spoke with Steve Marshall, VP of Cardinal Health™ Presource® Procedural Pack Solutions. In more than a decade at the company, he has managed almost every product, but his most recent experience leading the PPE and pandemic response team is vital in shaping his perspective on resiliency. Below he discusses how to leverage people and technology to meet today's unprecedented supply chain and operational challenges.

Note: Responses edited for length and clarity.

Question: What are the most interesting and exciting trends in the surgical kitting industry?

Steve Marshall:  Our customers continue to face serious challenges after the last few years and we are proud to help them. Our customers look to us for more than just competitive pricing; they want insight on ways to find efficiencies, manage labor challenges and reduce waste – all while becoming more resilient

One interesting (and vital) trend is pack program optimization. Limited bandwidth and COVID prevented customers from conducting deep reviews of their pack programs. Our optimization experts work with them to assess changes in their environments and leverage tools to generate insights and impactful recommendations. Another trend is the change in sites of care that is driving more and more procedures outside of the hospital. We see this trend expanding beyond the ambulatory surgery center to other settings like home care and physician offices, which opens up new potential channels for kitting. It's exciting to consider how we can add value there.

Q: Under your leadership, what are the greatest opportunities you see for Presource?

SM: We’ll continue to align with our customers and address their most important pain points. We want to leverage our investments in technology and people, so we can best support customers as more than just a pack provider. With our analytics team, clinicians, logisticians, data scientists and tenured commercial reps, we can leverage data and clinical insights to provide recommendations that optimize a program and drive greater efficiencies.

We also have the unique opportunity to utilize the insights and learnings we experienced from supply chain challenges related to the pandemic. We recognize how disruptive it can be for the provider and patient if a pack is late or is missing key components. We've taken this opportunity to identify our gaps and improve our resiliency so we are better prepared for the inevitable curveballs that will arise.

Q:  What is being done by Presource to support your customers throughout the global supply disruption?

SM:  The number one priority is to improve resiliency throughout our supply chain. We have added manufacturing capacity at multiple locations in the United States and Mexico that we can flex as needed. We enhanced component resiliency, focusing on the most critical components, and designing individual resiliency strategies, such as manufacturing versus sourcing, or nearshoring manufacturing (85 percent of our Cardinal Health™ brand components now come from North America). We are examining safety stock of primary components and substitutes. For sterilization, we've secured long-term capacity with multiple locations. 

We are also investing in new systems and processes, notably Kinaxis, a world-class supply chain planning solution. Our investments include augmented intelligence (AugIntel) and machine learning to build more accurate demand models and better understand component lead times. We are building insightful dashboards to see potential issues months in advance at the customer, pack and individual component level. This enables us to proactively identify and prevent negative customer impacts before they occur. This is exactly what our customers need -  advance notice to mitigate the impact of disruptions.

Finally, we're investing in our own solution, Pack Manager™, to streamline preapprovals for pack component substitutes when we see an issue on the horizon. Ensuring quick and easy access to these pre-approvals will help maintain continuity of supply for our customers when they need it most.

Q:  As you think ahead, what are your top three priorities?

SM:  Our top priorities are consistent with everything else we've discussed:

  1. Better understand customers’ needs and challenges.
  2. Continue to strengthen our supply chain to bring our customers predictability and peace of mind.
  3. Invest for the future and continue to transform our business with investments in IT infrastructure, and AugIntel and data analytics.

There's no finish line when it comes to being reliable and resilient. We're on a continuous journey to transform our business and optimize outcomes for our customers.

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