SPECIAL FOCUS Supply Chain Operations Worth Watching

Supply Chain’s newest Elite weaving through consolidations, standardizations

by Rick Dana Barlow T

o be recognized and honored as an award-winning and “star-studded” supply chain organization doesn’t always necessitate accomplishing some- thing stellar. Sometimes, improving and master- ing the fundamentals and functioning as a solid performer may be all that the community needs from the healthcare services it receives. A cake unadorned with frosting may not bedazzle your taste buds but be moist and filling, while frost- ing without cake infuses you with a sugar high that burns off too quickly. If there are any themes or trends emerg- ing in this year’s Elite group of newswor- thy and noteworthy examples, it’s that all of them grapple with issues of scope and size — growing larger in terms of facility numbers, territory spans and services provided, but growing smaller in terms of product, service and supplier variety and process variability. Regardless of footprint and geography size, however, more organizations seem to be central- izing and standardizing processes and products as the way to control, if not cut, costs. While this trend may be an industry staple as much now as it’s been for the last three decades, it likely will continue being represented in this list — and others — for years to come.

More than size and span, however, the underlying theme among virtually all of them is diversity of process and product, the ensuing costs of which are crippling balance sheets, budgets and service op- tions. Yet top-flight organizations on this list and the previous seven lists continue to slog through the challenges, keeping the end game, the end goal, in mind: Patients.

The December edition of Healthcare Purchasing News traditionally spotlights “Supply Chain Operations Worth Watch-

ing.” HPN solicits nominations from all sectors of the industry (providers, sup- pliers, group purchasing organizations and consulting firms) and conducts background research to pick those that seem atop the pecking order. This year, 11 organizations, spanning 10 states from the East Coast to the West Coast, join 78 other ongoing healthcare supply chain superstars profiled by HPN since 2011. Visit https://www.hpnon- to see who’s made the list to date. Generally, once an organization’s Sup- ply Chain department/team “makes the list” it remains “one to watch” going forward unless its absorbed via merger or acquisition, in which case it’s possible for the “new” crew to make the list (if nominated, of course) under the “new” name because they may be accomplishing more “new” things. Such is the case this year with two entries that have vied for HPN’s annual Supply Chain Department of the Year Award, typically granted in the summer.

As always, if your organization — or one you think should qualify — didn’t “make the list,” be sure to let us know and then plan how to showcase the deserving organization for consideration in the 2019 compilation. Take a look at HPN’s latest Elite list in alphabetical order by name for highlights on what they’re doing and why they matter.

represents the little guy among the inte- grated delivery network giants within the region. CaroMont may be smaller than others on this list and their local and regional competition, but its Supply Chain team consistently delivers big — as in cost savings — that extend beyond the “prices at the pump” they credit netting from working with national GPO Premier and regional GPO Capstone Health Alli- ance. Through value analysis teams for surgical and interventional products led by physicians, nurses and supply chain professionals, they analyze opportuni- ties and strive for better pricing, contract terms and service levels. So far, solid supply chain work has generated nearly $2.4 million in capital equipment cost reductions, $3.4 million in annualized supply cost reductions and $766,000 in purchased service reductions.

Centura Health, Centennial, CO

CaroMont Health, Gastonia, NC

Located 20 miles west of Charlotte, CaroMont Health, a 435-bed mid-sized hospital with 45 medical group practices,


Reaching a patient community that ex- tends throughout Colorado and western Kansas, Centura Health recognized some inventory challenges within its trauma instrumentation and supplies category, due in part to complex manual order- ing methods. Centura’s Supply Chain leaders tapped into the CareAdvantage program offered by Johnson & Johnson Medical Device Cos. to gain control of its trauma supply segment. After analyzing the health system’s trauma and implant inventory management process, they created and piloted a program across eight facilities to better predict demand. Through comparative gap analysis on order processing time compared to on-

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