OC Reilly Blog: Internal Supply Chain Cohesion Key to Success

By Ed Moran, Supply Chain Analyst, OC Reilly Inc.

Everyone from highly sought-after management gurus to owners of the greenest startup companies knows that the most important group that any business needs to have completely on-board is its own employees.

When the people “inside the fence” understand, accept, and are willing to act in support of a strategic vision, the odds of success go up exponentially.  After all, why should you expect customers, vendors, or suppliers to know or care about your company if your own people don’t, or can’t?

The same principle applies to supply chain practices, including those occurring within the health care industry.

An article in the August 2012 edition of Inside Supply Management, “Building Relationships…Measuring Satisfaction,” makes the case for this principle, stating, “Supply management experts agree that before measuring satisfaction, the organization needs to create strong internal stakeholder relationships as well as built clarity around the role supply management plays in a company.”

For many health care systems, active and fact-based supply chain management remains an untapped source of cost savings, improved efficiencies, and a stronger bottom line.  Lifting the veil from this treasure hiding in plain sight is the first step in helping a health care system start down the path to firmer financial footing.  Explaining why this is so important to the organization as a whole, and achieving the level of buy-in referred to in the ISM magazine article completes the circle.

Prior to joining the OC Reilly team, as corporate manager for supply chain management at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC), we faced the challenge of coordinating supply chain integration initiatives for the 19-hospital system.  A critical step involved the implementation of a supply chain management outreach program, designed to improve service levels and communication to clinical and ancillary customers, align goals across operating divisions, and create operational efficiencies.

That experience, along with leading the extensive and complex relocation and construction of a new 267-bed facility at St. Margaret Memorial Hospital in Pittsburgh, taught me the value of achieving internal cohesion and support of a coordinated supply chain management effort.  It may not be the easiest task to accomplish, but the long-term benefits are irrefutable.

Copyright 2013 OC Reilly Inc.