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There has been a lot of focus on optimizing the supply chain for order fulfillment.  The on-going efforts to perfect the ‘order to cash’ process have yielded great rewards.  But what about returns?  Automation has reduced the number of returns due to errors however the world must move from a linear to a more circular economy and this will impact the entire supply chain.

 

The notion of a circular economy is really quite wonderful.  Imagine an industry that produces no waste or pollution, and where products are designed for safe and non-intrusive disposal.  Imagine an industry where 100% of unconsumed or partly consumed products are returned for re-use.

 

Kudos to the Association of Battery Recyclers for their contribution to the circular economy.  From their website:  “The members of the association share a dedication to environmental and community responsibility.” Spent batteries are turned into lead metal, plastic and sodium sulfate, which are used to manufacture new lead batteries and other useful products.  Their website also states that lead batteries have a 99% recycle rate within most of North America – impressive!

 

With greater awareness and increasing environmental pressures from various stakeholders, more companies are incorporating green practices into their daily activities.  I believe distributors can play an important role in the circular economy by selecting products and suppliers that behave responsibly and by participating in the efforts to recycle and/or re-use the products that they sell.

 

Goods are coming down the supply chain – we’re pretty good at that.  Now it’s time to move stuff back up.  Distributors can take an active role in balancing the financial responsibility of making money with their responsibility to benefit society as a whole.   This must include their responsibility to preserving the environment by actively engaging management into environmental thinking.


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The recent Becker’s Hospital Review Annual meeting in Chicago was invigorating and thought-provoking, with many presentations from CEOs of many leading healthcare systems. I wanted to share an overview of three breakout sessions that spoke specifically to Healthcare Supply Chain.

 

Can’t Deliver Care Without Stuff: Emerging Strategies for Supply Chain Management was a discussion with Brent Johnson, VP Supply Chain and Chief Procurement Officer at Intermountain Healthcare in Salt Lake City, UT. Brent comes from outside the healthcare industry. When he came into healthcare supply chain at Intermountain he was shocked at how, as an industry, healthcare managed its supply chain so casually, because “you know, outside healthcare, supply chain is seen as STRATEGIC to the organizational performance.”


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Isn’t this the most interesting time in US healthcare? Actually, in healthcare across the globe? Because no matter how your healthcare system is funded, the containment and management of supply chain costs is a constant business reality we are all facing. To that end, supply chain is finally coming into its own in the C-Suite of most organizations. We are realizing, as an industry, that what has worked in the past will no longer work in our emerging reality — on all sides of the business equation. Everyone has to participate in the change.


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IDN Summit, 22 April, Orlando FL
TECSYS-Sponsored a Lunch & Learn program at the recent IDN Summit, “The Transformable Supply Chain” featuring Brent Johnson, Chief Procurement Officer, Intermountain Healthcare; Curtis Dudley, Vice President of Integrated Performance Solutions, Mercy; and Mike Wentling, Chief Solutions Officer, ROi. The discussion focused on the changes in the healthcare supply chain that have driven the development of consolidated service centers/supply chain centers.

 

It was an especially compelling panel as Mercy & ROi established the first self-distribution operation in healthcare 10 years ago and Intermountain just opened their Supply Chain Center last fall. We have seen a lot of industry movement in this decade! Additionally, the perspectives of the panelists was a unique mix – “in from outside” healthcare, always in healthcare and the coming over from the supplier side to the provider side of the equation.


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I recently had the opportunity to hear a presentation by Brandi Greenberg, Managing Director at The Advisory Board and the Healthcare Supplier/Provider Institute in Las Vegas. Brandi presented research findings that are packaged for the C-Suite. I found it very enlightening and wanted to share my notes with you.

 

Please provide comments, or contact me directly with questions!

 

Opening Premise: No matter the legislative, political or legal activities around healthcare and healthcare reform, there are other key market and business factors looming that are dictating the need for change.


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