New Group Takes Aim at Healthcare Supply Chain

Scituate, MA (March 17, 2005):  A new and different organization has hit the ground running within the healthcare arena. Strategic Marketplace Initiative (SMI) is a not-for-profit organization intent on shaping the future of the healthcare supply chain. With a unique mix of top supply chain executive members representing the various trading partners of the healthcare supply chain, this organization is committed to reducing operational costs for all parties involved. Members include leading Integrated Delivery Networks (IDNs) as well as healthcare manufacturers, distributors, IT companies and service providers. The Board of Directors of SMI is comprised of 12 persons, six IDNs and six healthcare Partners.

SMI held it first Forum February 8-10 in Dallas, TX where 70 members experienced the Interactive Meeting Process employed by the group. The Forum was moderated by Tom Hughes, Executive Director for SMI. This Forum will be a semi-annual event held in the spring and fall of each year. In an unprecedented move, SMI called together those who usually sit on opposite sides of the table to collaborate on initiatives designed to identify cost savings opportunities within the healthcare supply chain. As Carl Manley, Vice President of Materials Management for Sentara Healthcare and Chair of the Board of Directors for SMI said, "The healthcare supply chain has been broken for a long time. Over the past 10-15 years many have struggled with fixes, but the problems still exist. It is our desire to bring together the various stakeholders in the supply chain to collaboratively identify ways we can help one another establish new standards and processes for working together more efficiently."

The SMI Forum provided a mix of educational speakers and breakout discussions. Each of three speakers provided views from different vantage points. John Kenagy, MD, of Kenagy & Associates, provided an overview of his approach relating disruptive innovation and adaptive design to the current healthcare environment. John Brandt, CSP, founder and CEO of MPI, Inc., gave a perspective on the global supply chain. Jeff Bauer, PhD, Senior Vice President of Superior Consultant Company, now ACS Healthcare Solutions, conveyed his outlook for the future of the healthcare supply chain. All three speakers participated in breakout groups throughout the Forum providing insights and provoking thought relating to six different issues / challenges currently faced within the healthcare supply chain. Interdisciplinary groups then worked to identify three initiatives that could be adopted and implemented as first steps to improving the supply chain. It was a challenge taken seriously by participants who were reminded not to revisit the past but to be proactive in finding new and different solutions that would benefit all. 

Tom Shepherd, System Director of Supply Chain Management for Baptist Memorial Health Care Corporation in Memphis, TN said of the Forum, "The recent SMI Forum provided a unique opportunity for interaction and collaboration with other IDN's, suppliers, and distributors in an effort to prioritize and address key supply chain issues. The meeting was very thought provoking, and it was interesting to see the different perspectives on some of the issues discussed. It's refreshing to have this type of supply chain representation in the same room to discuss opportunities to improve efficiency and reduce cost."

"The SMI Forums create the type of collaborative environment that can dramatically improve how the provider and supplier, working together, can positively impact the healthcare delivery system," said John Tara, Director of Strategic Marketing for Boston Scientific on Natick, MA.

Of SMI itself, Steve Gundersen, Vice President of Corporate National Accounts for BD and a member of the SMI Board of Directors stated, "The purpose of this group is to identify best practices to reduce operational expenses and enhance supply chain efficiencies in the delivery of health care." He further explained that "Our goal is to work together as participants at different levels of the health care industry with a common, united goal of driving costs out of the supply chain to the ultimate benefit of consumers of health care in the United States."

About SMI: SMI is a not-for-profit, member-driven organization dedicated to improving the healthcare supply chain through direct interaction and collaboration among senior healthcare supply chain executives. The group will grow to 40 IDNs and 40 healthcare Partners including manufacturers, distributors and service providers. SMI has been formed to influence, shape, and advance the future of the healthcare marketplace.

For more information on SMI contact Tom Hughes, Executive Director for SMI, at [email protected] or [email protected].