Construction projects are focus of February conference

Contracting executives, GPOs, architects, equipment planners and contractors involved in renovation or construction projects will have a chance to meet with supplier executives at the 3rd Annual Equipment Planner and Architect Conference, sponsored by the Association of National Account Executives, Feb. 8-9, 2011, in Dallas, Texas. The conference will feature what ANAE President Gary Gustafson calls a “double reverse trade show.” Contracting executives and others will be stationed at tables, while suppliers rotate for discussions with them. In addition, suppliers will have traditional booths, so that contracting executives, GPOs, etc., can see their products and services firsthand.

“All these different [professionals] want to network with each other,” says Gustafson. “Collectively, these different business groups know where 95 percent of the healthcare construction jobs will take place over the next couple of years.” At the conference, their strategy and planning efforts can be set for an entire year, he adds.

“An IDN with a capital equipment budget looking for vendors would be well-advised to be at the conference,” says Gustafson. “It’s a good time to meet with [vendors] and discuss how to work together to reduce costs.” There is no registration fee for IDN contracting executives.

One contracting executive who has attended the conference in the past, and who is planning on attending in February, is Brent Petty, corporate director, supply chain, Wellmont Health System, Kingsport, Tenn. “The conference allows for a very controlled amount of time for each vendor to sit down and discuss the way we should do business together,” says Petty. “It’s not to pitch a product or sell a new service or to grab and grin.”

Last year, as Wellmont was preparing to buy some physician practices, Petty knew the IDN would be taking on some construction and renovation projects.

The conference helped him line up assistance for them. Contracting executives are more and more likely to find themselves in the middle of such projects, he adds. High-performing organizations look to their supply chain leaders to understand, manage and monitor costs, says Petty. “It doesn’t matter if you’re building something or buying pacemakers.”

Group purchasing organizations have a unique role to play, he adds. “We’re working on one ambulatory/urgent care clinic, but MedAssets – our GPO – has relationships with hospitals all over the country who are doing [the same thing.]” GPOs can write contracts that can help all of their members. In fact, MedAssets Senior Executive Vice President Rand Ballard is scheduled to give the keynote address at the ANAE conference.

“Within the coming year, due to the interaction and types of member engagements we are involved in, we plan on partnering with several architectural and equipment planning firms,” says Mark Kearschner, director, construction services, for Premier, who will be at the conference. “It’s a natural fit, as we become more and more ingrained in our members’ construction projects.”

GPOs can help their members as they consider the long-term costs of their capital projects, adds Kearschner. “I see more and more hospitals considering the life cycle cost of [mechanical, electrical, plant] capital during design, as opposed to the first cost,” he says. “When they see the dollars that they’ll potentially be saving in years 5 through 30 of the facility, they’re often willing to pay more for some of the large mechanical capital upfront.”

For more information, visit www.anae.us or call (949) 643-0529.

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