Competitive Intelligence: A Supply Chain Imperative

If you don’t understand the business environment that you are operating in and how to gather information on trends, in addition to converting it into competitive intelligence (CI) and then utilizing this intelligence for decision making, you have lost the supply chain game before it gets started.  

This CI process begins and ends with data, statistics, and facts that are gleaned from multiple sources on a continuous basis to fill your CI funnel with information that can be employed to improve your market condition, leverage your pricing and strengthen your negotiations with your suppliers.

For instance, did you know that cardiac rhythm implants prices are declining by mid-single digits or more annually, caused by increasing hospital cost-cutting, physician-hospital alignment and fiscal austerity measures.

Did you also know that a JAMA study published this year found that 23% of ICD implantations were not evidence based?   Furthermore, the Department of Justice is targeting hospitals and seeking to determine if ICD implantations from 2002 through the present were consistent with Medicare policies. These forces have most likely caused the decline of ICD implantation by 11% this year.

This CI came to me by way of a weekly e-newsletter that is sent to me by a senior analyst for medical supplies and devices at a large investment firm. His tips, keen insight and market analysis have always been helpful to my firm in understanding the changes in the healthcare supply marketplace that can influence what we recommend to our clients as strategies, tactics and techniques to lower their supply chain expenses.

I also read the Wall Street Journal daily; subscribe to Bloomberg’s Business Week, read seven healthcare publications, three industrial supply chain magazines monthly and scan numerous daily blogs and e-newsletters to keep up with the emerging trends, patterns and changes in all industries.

You can do the same to gather your own CI.   It doesn’t cost a lot of money (most of my CI that I collect is either free or very low cost), but it does take an investment in time to do so.    Nonetheless, your return on investment will be at least 51:1 demonstrated over time, in better pricing, improved terms and conditions and enhanced risk management.  Doesn’t it make sense to begin to ramp up or expand your CI process with this kind of a ROI as a reward for doing so?

Robert T. Yokl

Chief Value Strategist

Strategic Value Analysis® in Healthcare

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