The Many Faces of Self-Distribution

As the healthcare industry continues to advance, health systems are having to adapt and evolve to meet the new challenges of an ever-changing landscape. To maximize efficiency in supply chain, many organizations are beginning to think more strongly about the benefits of self-distribution. Creating a consolidated service center (CSC) is a big task, but for many, the rewards are well worth it.

The Journal of Healthcare Contracting recently hosted a webinar that covered “The Many Faces of Self-Distribution.” JHC Publisher John Pritchard moderated a call with several supply chain leaders who discussed the best practices of self-distribution models. The webinar was sponsored by Suture Express.

Although their organizations are at different points in their “self-distribution journey”, both Dennis Fegan, senior director of operations at Beaumont Health, and Tim Nedley, VP, materials management for UPMC, have had positive results from implementing CSCs.

At UPMC, Nedley said that one of the major benefits of their CSC model, beyond dramatically improving the IDN’s ability to increase standardization and compliance, was that it allowed him and his organization to identify specific opportunities to decrease wasteful spending.

Fegan also discussed how the CSC has allowed he and his organization to have greater visibility of their contracts and improved access to supply data. “Adding that control is key,” Fegan says.

Whether you are starting the CSC journey or thinking about it, there are some best practices to keep at the top of your mind. Jamie C. Kowalski, CEO of Jamie C. Kowalski Consulting, LLC, has worked with many organizations and helped them to develop new and improved supply chain practices. Although there is no single model that will work for every organization, he stressed that success can often depend on organizations understanding that a CSC is just one part of a supply chain strategy, and that it is not the entire strategy in and of itself.

One major change that comes with operating a CSC is a shift in the relationship between the IDN and its distributor partners. The panelists agreed that the key to success in this area is for provider organizations to find new ways to work with their distributor partners – ways that utilize and highlight the strengths of a distribution partner. To be most effective and efficient, IDNs need to work with their distributor partners and use their expertise, resources, and storage capacity.

To download the webinar, visit:



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