Are you ready for what’s ahead?
I’m not going to rehash the winds of change in healthcare. By now, we all know the upside and downside of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The question I have for supply chain managers – are you ready for what’s ahead? Are you ready to take on even greater responsibilities? Communicating and executing your strategic vision? Leading and working with high-powered teams and juggling mixed priorities? I call this “stepping up” to meet the new supply chain challenges in the new healthcare economy – head on!
As I see it, the top of the list of new responsibilities for supply chain managers is to effectively communicate and execute your strategic vision. This is what I hear the C-Suite saying is lacking in many of their own supply chain managers: a clearly articulated vision of what their hospital, systems or IDNs’ supply chain should look like over the next few years. Don’t wait to be asked. Don’t wait for guidance. Don’t wait for someone else to do it. Instead, deliver to your C-Suite a clear vision in writing (i.e. supply chain strategic plan) that will guide the execution of your strategic visions over the next three to five years. To do less is to risk being reactive, not proactive, to the massive changes in healthcare that are surfacing each and every week.
Next on my list of new responsibilities for supply chain managers is to close the gaps in your supply expense management. Meaning, no purchases should be made (including food, drugs, laboratory and maintenance supplies and purchase services) at your healthcare organization without your direct oversight or consultation. The reason for this declaration is that there has been too much delegation of purchasing authority to department heads and managers at most healthcare organizations and this has cost these same organizations millions of dollars annually in unnecessary supply expenses. In the new healthcare economy only supply chain professionals can make these buying decisions, if your healthcare organization is serious about reigning in their supply chain expenses.
Last on my list for supply chain manager’s new responsibilities is upping your value analysis game. Too many supply chain managers have delegated this mission critical responsibility solely to their value analysis directors, managers and coordinators with mixed reviews. You might call this leading from behind as opposed to being actively involved in their value analysis program. The most successful supply chain managers I know are leading the charge with their value analysis program, just like a general would with his troops. They are helping to set their team’s agendas, problem solving and troubleshooting, teaching, coaching and most importantly bringing new ideas and approaches to their value analysis teams. In short, they are never, ever satisfied with so-so results!
A new dawn is breaking in healthcare that requires supply chain managers to step up to the plate and take on new challenges, new responsibilities and new accountabilities. To be ready for what’s ahead you will need to rethink everything that you have been doing, starting with taking on greater responsibilities than you have in the past. By doing so, you will discover that the road to supply chain success will be bumpy, but not impossible to maneuver for those who decide to be leaders in their supply chain profession by “stepping up” to the new challenges that we all will face over the next few years.