What Five Things Do Successful Supply Chains Have in Common?

  1. Their goals and objectives are tied directly to the organization’s overall goals Within successful supply chains there is no question as to how their goals and objectives support the organization’s overall goals. Each one can be tied directly to an organizational goal and they look beyond the traditional cost savings role to highlight supply chain’s contributions to improving patient safety and outcomes. Additionally, supply chain employees understand and can explain the connection between their work and the organization’s mission.
  2. They have developed trusting relationships at all levels and across all departments within the organization Trusting relationships are the basis for success. It’s not enough to have good relationships at one level of the organization or with just a few select departments. Supply chain professionals must cultivate trusting relationships at all levels and across the organization. From distribution technicians to purchasing agents and contracting staff, all must be coached on establishing and maintaining solid relationships with their customers.
  3. They excel at the basics The easiest way to establish trusting relationships is to excel at the basics. Before the organization will accept supply chain as a strategic partner, they must be convinced the department can deliver the right product at the right time and location for the right price. An active value analysis department that involves a cross section of the organization in defining the “right” product and conducting rounds with nursing to discuss inventory levels and distribution issues are two strategies that support operational excellence.
  4. They engage and develop all staff members A supply chain is only as good as the people who run it and successful supply chains apply that thinking to all employees. Leadership employs active listening techniques and demonstrates inclusive behaviors to engage employees. Employees are given latitude to develop and implement improvement ideas and are recognized for their contributions. Training and development plans are jointly developed between employees and their supervisors.
  5. They maximize technology and data analytics Successful supply chain’s leverage their resources by maximizing technology and data analytics. They partner with technology providers to ensure they are “100%” users of the technology’s available capabilities. They look for ways to use whatever data is available to provide the organization with insight and opportunities to reduce variation and improve patient safety.

For expanded education on how health care supply chain can improve overall, check out these on-demand webinars: Creating an Agile Supply Chain Through HRO Inventory Management, Managing Supply Chain in Healthcare Reform and Closing the Gap! What Can Healthcare Learn from Retail. Search for even more supply chain leading practice resources at ahrmm.org.

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