By John Jones, Director, Strategic Projects, OC Reilly, Inc.

(Aug. 9, 2021)—The notion of being a “lifelong learner” can take many forms. Taking evening classes at the local community college, or starting to learn how to play a musical instrument, for instance.

But in the world of health care supply chain, the value of continuous learning carries even greater value, challenge, and responsibility. It can mean the difference between surviving and thriving, stagnation or growth, both for individual professionals and entire organizations.

If any industry has been whipsawed over the past decade or more, it has been health care. From the first emergence of health maintenance organizations (HMO) through the Affordable Care Act and its impact on payments and competition, and in the continuing struggle to deal with the unprecedented ramifications of Covid-19, the pressure of keeping health systems properly supported with equipment and services – all while balancing the needs of patients with the financial concerns of the providers – has never let up.

Issues facing health care supply chain experts now include evaluating the pros and cons of individual versus regional surge inventories, production capacity strategies to accommodate pandemic-caused product surges, and managing supply flexibility from manufacture to the point of use. It falls to supply chain managers to establish enterprise-wide expense management strategies to deliver savings and efficiencies to offset expected increases in costs as the supply chain continues to work out its post-Covid issues.

Industry groups like the Association for Health Care Resource & Materials Management continue to offer programs and forums for leaders to share ideas and learn from those experienced in addressing these long-term issues. OC Reilly promotes continuous learning for its team members as a means of always improving our knowledge and enhancing the value we bring to our customers.

They say change is the only thing that never changes, and that certainly is true in the world of health care supply chain. Lifelong learning paves the way to handling and succeeding amid that never-ending environment.

© 2021 OC Reilly, Inc.