Ten People: One director of corporate procurement’s take on supply chain trends

This month JHC features its Ten People to Watch in Healthcare Contracting. We’ll provide excerpts and information those featured. For the full feature and August issue of JHC, visit www.jhconline.com

Bill Abeltin, director, corporate procurement

Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, N.Y.

470 beds, one hospital, 20 treatment/counseling facilities, one research facility, annual spend of approximately $773 million in purchased supplies and services.

The Journal of Healthcare Contracting: What has been the most challenging and rewarding project you have been involved in recently?

Bill Abeltin: As with many organizations, our procurement department was overlooked for years. It lacked direction and purpose, and its primary objective focused on completing transactions, rather than managing spend and suppliers. As such, some departments took charge of their own spend. My challenge was to reverse this trend by building a department that was both effective and supportive to its stakeholders. Three years ago, we added a sourcing team, which provided us with the necessary resources to seek opportunities with our larger or more complicated relationships. We have also worked on optimizing our GPO relationship to reduce costs, which has led to a change in our GPO relationship and additional savings opportunities. Our department’s success can be attributed to returning to the basics and seeking standardization and vendor consolidation.

JHC: What is the biggest change we can expect to see in healthcare contracting in the next five years?

Abeltin: In comparison to other industries, healthcare overall has not grasped the value of supply management principles. However, I see [more hospitals] investing in supply chain. If the trend continues, I expect more hospitals will pursue their own contracts in areas where they have leveraged – and continue to utilize – GPOs to supplement their remaining needs. I expect suppliers will need to react accordingly by being more competitive and [offer] better services if they expect to survive.

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