Sponsored: Encompass – Staff Over Stuff

By Deanna Leonard

With 2020 in the rearview mirror, we have managed to navigate our way through Q1 of 2021. ‘Unknowns, uncertainty, virtual meeting, unprecedented times and new normal’ are words and phrases we’d rather not be familiar with, but they continue to crop up. 2020 provided quite an education to someone such as me who is relatively new to working in the healthcare sector. Having spent many hours in webinars last month, I heard multiple stories from purchasing managers and supply chain leaders that were truly impressive. Between the hours worked, the budgets managed, and the avenues taken to ensure the right ‘stuff’ was on the shelf for not only existing healthcare needs, but a whole new unknown crisis. Everything needed by the IDN, the facility, the acute care center – came through the supply chains and purchasing departments

As we all know, the demand for PPE during 2020 skyrocketed. Combine that with countries who focused on PPE manufacturing shutting down due to COVID-19, it left a void that somehow the healthcare heroes behind the scenes (global supply chain leaders) had to navigate through. Global shortages of PPE were felt strongly in the US and resulted in 152 new COVID-19 related trade export mandates.1 By October of 2020, the Strategic National Stockpile had made new investments totaling $638 million in domestic facilities for pandemic-related supplies and equipment, including PPE.2

How does one predict and forecast what 2021 looks like when it comes to PPE? Put yourself in a supply chain leader’s shoes and imagine your facility has five trailers full of PPE in your parking lot because there is no other place to store those supplies. You may or may not need them immediately. Imagine the flip side of running out of PPE in a matter of days. While unsure what the usage will be in the event there is another outbreak, you still forecast and manage it for the next 12-18 months. Again, truly impressive. I am by no means downplaying the frontline caregivers who gave it their all to ensure patients were well cared for – I am so unbelievably grateful for them – I’d have to write an entirely separate article to cover the impressive work done by them. I am however, in awe of those behind the scenes who kept the ‘machine’ moving, so that those frontline healthcare workers could do their job safely.

I do not use the word ‘machine’ lightly either. With over 250 thousands health care employees and 76 million square feet of warehouse space, getting the mass variety of medical equipment from point A to point B truly is a machine.

It probably goes without saying, but all of those involved with ensuring our healthcare systems kept moving forward in 2020 have earned our sincerest gratitude at Encompass Group. We appreciate all you do and know what a difference you and your teams make. We could not do this without you! If you’d like to prioritize Staff over Stuff contact Encompass. We’d be happy to discuss programs to motivate your staff, unify your brand and improve your patient satisfaction.

1 Congressional Research Service. Export Restrictions in Response, The COVID-19 Pandemic. August 25, 2020

2 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response. SNS 2.0: The Next Generation. October 21, 2020

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