Ten People to Watch: Bob Beyer

Bob Beyer
Vice president, supply chain services, Hospital Sisters Health System (HSHS) Springfield, Ill.

HSHS consists of 14 acute care facilities based in Wisconsin and Illinois; three separately incorporated medical groups, which employ more than 500 physicians.

Bob Beyer joined Hospital Sisters Health System in 1999 as the corporate director of materials management, following eight years of experience in various roles at another IDN. In 2008, he was promoted to his current position: vice president of supply chain services. His responsibilities include oversight of all supply chain operations for the HSHS ministries, as well as the direction and implementation of supply chain strategy throughout the organization.


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

Bob Beyer: HSHS has been on an older legacy MMIS system for more than 25 years. We are currently on separate item and vendor masters at each facility, which makes managing and understanding our supply expenses and data extremely challenging. In 2012, we launched Project VISION, which is as much a change management project as it is an IT project. We currently are implementing PeopleSoft Financials throughout the system, and are moving to standard data and a shared services concept for all of our purchasing and accounts payable departments. Our first hospital site is expected to go live in September 2015, and the project will conclude with our final wave of hospital implementations in 2017. We believe we have an advantage in that several health systems have already moved to a common MMIS and a shared services center, so we can learn from others regarding what to do and – more importantly – what not to do. Project VISION is a game changer for HSHS, as we will have more real time data, insight and control of our supply utilization and expense than ever before.


JHC: Please describe a project you look forward to implementing in the next year or two.

Beyer: We continue to implement PeopleSoft Financials throughout the system, and are moving to standard data and a shared services concept for all of our purchasing and accounts payable departments. Once all of our hospitals are live, we will move to product line procurement (e.g., surgery buyers, inventory buyers, capital, etc.), which will allow us to help our buyers and supply chain analysts stay much more focused on pricing accuracy, GPO contract compliance and expense reduction. Our goal is to drastically reduce – and hopefully eliminate – non- item master and non-contract spend, which is very problematic in our current, decentralized procurement environment.


JHC: What is the most important quality you look for in a supplier partner?

Beyer: Buzzwords such as integrity, ethical or partner, are all a given and qualities we expect. We particularly want suppliers to understand our challenges to balance cost and quality. The best supplier partners are the ones that can look past the one-time sale and find ways to bring real value to our organization, above and beyond the sale.


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

Beyer: Provider consolidation and the employed clinician will continue to drive more aggressive and creative contracting. The days of clinician preference driving decisions with no economic balance are going away, and more and more we are economically aligned with the clinicians, working collaboratively on contract strategy and decisions.