For the last three months, all eyes have been focused on the healthcare supply chain as the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic ravished its way through hospitals’ supplies. With supply and demand issues hitting nearly every single industry, communities rushed together to help provide personal protective equipment (PPE) to healthcare personnel, while software and data companies, such as Global Healthcare Exchange (GHX), helped empower organizations to enable better patient care through their technology platforms.
“While we aren't on the frontline of healthcare, we are literally right behind those frontline heroes, making sure that they have what they need when they need it,” says Paul Feicht, senior vice president of global customer operations at GHX. “It's really about making sure our solutions are up and operating at a top efficiency. It's making sure that we're providing data to these clinicians so that they can make the right choice to source the materials they need to serve their patients.”
With Supply & Demand Chain Executive celebrating its 20-year anniversary, the editorial team has been watching and reporting how the industry has changed over the last two decades. One thing remains unchanged, though -- the supply chain and logistics industry thrives on meaningful and consistent leadership.
The annual Pros to Know award recognizes professionals for their accomplishments in leveraging the supply chain industry for competitive advantage. For the last 20 years, SDCE has honored these Provider, Practitioner and Provider Team Pros to Knows by highlighting their achievements. Now, we look back at some of the top Pros to Know over the years to see what they have been up to since they last received the award.
While Feicht and GHX’s chief revenue officer, Tina Murphy, don’t consider themselves to be frontliners, they are still heroes that embody what it means to be considered a Pro to Know. Since Feicht and Murphy last won the award in 2018 and 2015, respectively, they have set a standard within their organization on how to innovate while remaining focused on the mission at hand.
“I think people want a mission worth fighting for, and they want a purpose that inspires them. And, that's no different for Baby Boomers, as it is for Millennials, maybe especially for Millennials,” says Murphy. “I think as leaders, it's incumbent on us to harness that innovation and that excitement that Millennials bring. I think we do that, again, going back to having a mission worth fight for and a purpose that inspires.”
Hospitals have moved their focus from putting in electronic health records to now looking at the supply chain efficiencies, Feicht explains. They are starting to purchase new enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions, most of which are cloud-based. This allows GHX’s clients to create a new type of integration for the supply chain, so they can achieve a more state-of-the-art supply chain standard.
“As we've seen in COVID-19, it's going to continue being at the heart of where hospitals are focusing to make sure they're able to deliver improved patient care over time. I think that the focus on resiliency in supply chain will not be something where they can kick the can down the road, it's going to be front and center in focusing,” says Murphy. “Eventually, innovation will come together with machine learning and how we can once and for all solve the problem for improving demand visibility, so that we can match supply to demand.”
Still, healthcare has always been a business, where if you order something, you can expect it to arrive the very next day. However, something that is prevalent in the industry is fax automation, a significant delay behind most industries. This archaic technology can cause disruptions in the supply chain and could potentially put safety at risk, which has been highlighted by the COVID-19 crisis.
“There's also not a lot of analytics that are really honed to provide a provider with the ability to say, ‘Hey, you know what, I see this crisis coming. I need to order X number of these supplies.’ And, this [COVID-19] crisis today is really highlighting the conversations I've had with supply chain professionals in hospitals, who have spent literally all day on the phone trying to confirm how many of a particular item a manufacturer can supply. That lack of visibility is a single point of failure in healthcare today,” says Feicht.
Meanwhile, the pandemic may encourage those first entering the workforce to look at frontline positions, like healthcare or the supply chain, because the call to serve is louder than it ever has been.
“In the past four years, we've seen these different movements that have had people amplify their voices and share their perspective with people that disagree with them,” says Murphy. “So, I think we've kind of had an awakening of people feeling like they want to be active in what's happening in society. And, that doubled with COVID-19, and people having that call and that drive to serve those two things together result absolutely in what you just said, which is interest to move into roles that put them at the frontlines.”
But, the supply chain requires collaboration, and both Murphy and Feicht don’t see that going away any time soon. In fact, they both believe that in the coming years, especially post-COVID-19, collaboration will be singularly focused on improving the patient experience and improve the ability to deliver a seamless and positive customer experience in an event of a crisis.
“What works today is leading with authenticity and humility and vulnerability and absolutely strength and conviction and passion. And, a true leader understands one of those times to show up with humility and compassion and empathy in one of those times to show up with strength and conviction,” says Murphy.