Bruce ZartmanBruce Zartman, CMRP, FAHRMM    

Assistant Vice President, East Alabama Medical Center, Opeilka, AL    

Joined AHRMM in 2004

1. Please share your history of involvement with AHRMM committees/task forces/activities:

I have served on the Fellow Review Committee from 2014 – present. I became the committee chairperson in 2016.

2. Tell us more about your specific job responsibilities in your company/hospital/organization:

My role as Vice President of Perioperative Services and Support Operations includes responsibility for 14 ORs, Preop/Recovery, Central Sterile and Supply, Pain Management Clinic, Endoscopy Clinic, Materials Management, Value Analysis, Security, Transportation, Nutrition and Food Service, Environmental Services, Laundry, and Disaster Management.

3. How many years have you been in your current role; how many years in supply chain?

I have been in my current position for three years, and I have worked for twelve years in supply chain management.

4. What aspect of your job do you like best?

I enjoy working with my management team and employees to accomplish our goals. It is very satisfying to tackle a really hard project and achieve a successful outcome. I also enjoy coaching and developing my leaders to be able to make the right decisions and to have confidence in the decisions they make.

5. What is the most challenging aspect of your job?

At this level, there are rarely any easy decisions. Even rarer are the moments when everyone is happy with the outcome of the decision. There are always at least two sides to an issue and often more. It is human nature to be passionate about the issues we face. During the decision making process, there are often a lot of facts to sift through. Unfortunately, there is also a lot of fiction. Separating the fact from the fiction can often be the hardest part of making the decision!

6. Who is your mentor/key influencer, and why?

One of the key mentors in my life was a captain I worked for in the Army several years ago. He taught me that no matter what the problem or issue is, no matter how big or impossible it might seem, there is always something you know about it. Use that as your anchor and move out from there. Once you identify what you don’t know, you can break that down into measurable objectives and figure it out. He taught me to be confident in my ability to “figure it out”. He assured me that it is ok (and even healthy) to have a “Chicken Little Moment” when faced with a huge problem or issue. Have it, get it out of the way, and then trust in what you know.

7. What AHRMM board/committee/task forces/activity/experience stands out/is most memorable for you?

I’ve only been involved in the AHRMM Fellow Review Committee. I have especially enjoyed interacting with other supply chain professionals on this committee and hearing their thoughts and comments as they review Fellow applications and Fellow papers. There are a lot of really smart people in this profession! I’ve learned a tremendous amount by reading applicant papers and helping them through the Fellow process.

8. Why did you join AHRMM/what keeps you coming back?

I took over materials management at our hospital following the unexpected death of the previous director. I had no supply chain experience, didn’t know what a purchase order was, and was completely puzzled by the “Net 30”, “Net 45”, and “2% Net 10” that I found on the first few invoices I looked at. I found some AHRMM literature in the previous director’s desk and quickly found answers to many of the questions I had. What I like about the AHRMM literature and the AHRMM conferences is that they speak to the materials managers at our level. The articles in the magazines and the breakout sessions at the conferences have solid takeaways that we can use immediately at our home hospitals. The online courses are excellent. Even now, after 12 years of supply chain experience, I recently completed the online Essentials of Negotiations course. The AHRMM material is relevant to the issues I’m experiencing at my hospital.

9. Name one AHRMM tool you “cannot do without”:

I read every issue of the Supply Chain Strategies & Solutions magazine. It’s a quick read that keeps me up to date on what is going within AHRMM and the healthcare supply chain.

10. What are key AHRMM resources you use to leverage your supply chain processes?

11. What is the best part of being involved in your professional association?

Being able to network with other supply chain professionals. Very few problems/issues are unique to my hospital. Hearing how other materials managers tackled those issues at their hospitals has been tremendously helpful to me in my career.

12. What is something most of your peers don’t know about you?

I love to ride my motorcycle. I have a 2007 Harley Davidson FatBoy. I don’t get to ride it as often as I would like, but when I do, it’s incredibly therapeutic!

13. In my free time I like to:

Over the last couple of years, my wife and I have gotten into raising chickens and gardening. We’ve enjoyed growing our own food and sharing it with others or learning how to put it up to enjoy throughout the year. Sometimes it can be hard work, but it is very rewarding in the end!

14. Personal Motto or Favorite Quote:

“If this was easy, anyone could do it!”