Supply chain’s ‘roundtable’

SMI celebrates 10 years of bringing together suppliers and providers to solve the tough problems

By Christine Dean

The Strategic Marketplace Initiative (SMI®), a non-profit, member-driven organization of healthcare supply chain thought leaders, recently celebrated its 10th anniversary. Over 200 members, founders and guests marked this milestone at the SMI Fall 2014 Forum in Orlando, Fla., which included a special gala celebration, where founders and first board members were recognized and honored for their vision and leadership.

SMI was started in 2004 by two healthcare supply chain industry icons — John Gaida, senior vice president supply chain management for Texas Health Resources; and Carl Manley, former vice president of supply chain at Sentara Healthcare.

Gaida and Manley recognized the need to bring hospital supply chain executives together with healthcare suppliers, manufacturers and distributors to discuss and solve problems in a non-competitive, non-pricing environment. The two men spent several months vetting this new idea with key industry partners and providers, and with the help of these visionaries, began to lay the foundation for a new organization to accomplish common goals and positively impact the healthcare supply chain industry.

“Both Carl and I recognized how fast our industry was changing and that we needed to improve relations and trust between trading partners,” says Gaida. “By bringing these two parties together, and removing the cost factor, we were able to finally understand the needs and challenges of each other and share new and innovative ideas and best practices.”

SMI began with just a handful of members, and now boasts a membership of over 60 leading IDN members and 50 top healthcare manufacturers, suppliers and distributors.   These members meet twice per year at an annual forum. Members also participate in various initiative teams, which work to create valuable tools and resources that are available free to the industry on the SMI website.

Tom Hughes, SMI executive director says, “SMI’s primary mission is to establish a forum for decision makers to create mutually beneficial solutions to solve healthcare supply chain issues. SMI continues to produce solutions to real problems within the industry for the benefit of the entire healthcare supply chain.”

”SMI is not a passive organization,” says Jane Pleasants, associate vice president, procurement and supply chain management, Duke University Health System, and a member of the original forming committee and first board. “Members are encouraged to get involved in topics they are passionate about. I have personally participated in numerous SMI initiatives. They always provide a beneficial learning opportunity for both my organization and me. Duke has also implemented numerous SMI tools, which are designed to help hospitals and manufacturers eliminate waste, control costs and streamline processes.”

To learn more about SMI and its over 25 tools and resources, visit the SMI website at

Christine Dean is communications manager for SMI.

Tools for supply chain improvement

SMI reports that 13 team initiatives have resulted in 26 “tools,” provided free of charge to industry. They include:

  • Vendor Access Guidelines (endorsed by AORN).
  • Measuring Effective Relationships (software).
  • Roadmap to the Perfect Order.
  • Contract Synchronization.
  • New Product Introduction Management (software).
  • 810 Transaction.
  • The Link Between Supply Chain and Revenue.
  • Supply and Labor Cost Calculator.
  • Vendor Managed Inventory.
  • Value Alignment.
  • SMI Executive Briefings.

Ongoing initiatives

Initiatives on which SMI supplier/provider teams are currently working include:

  • Low-cost trading partner.
  • Best practices in supplier/provider collaboration.
  • Future best practices in value analysis initiative.
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