During the Fall 2020 IDN Summit Virtual Experience, supply chain executives from all over the country shared stories of the transformational role the supply chain has played since the early days of the pandemic.

As the supply chain was thrust into the spotlight, these executives faced seemingly insurmountable challenges and responded with innovation, resiliency and a determination to ensure their hospital systems and healthcare providers had the PPE and other supplies necessary to respond quickly to rapidly evolving situations. While individual circumstances varied, 4 common themes emerged:

4 Key Takeaways From Supply Chain Executives

1. Rethinking the global supply chain – the pandemic has exposed complications and fragilities in the global supply chain, particularly as disruptions occurred in China and other countries. This has caused many supply chain executives to consider moving to domestic sourcing or near-shore sourcing from North and South America. Executives agreed that the shortest supply chain possible was optimal.

2. Innovative partnerships are key – from distilleries shifting from making spirits to sanitizer to local manufacturers making face shields using 3D printing, supply chain executives shared how community health partnerships helped them meet the urgent need for PPE. They also shared stories of rapid decision making and not letting perfection stop progress. The need for agility, built around a common desire to serve their communities through innovative partnerships, is likely to persist post-COVID-19.

3. Supply chain as strategic partners – While not typically as visible as others in health systems, supply chain executives found themselves thrust onto a global stage as the pandemic unfolded. Their response has given these leaders a seat at the table and the opportunity to be more strategic than ever. Long-term implications include healthcare providers asking for the supply chain implications of clinical decisions, something not considered until recently.

4. Continued resiliency is needed – executives agreed that COVID-19 will be with us for a long time and the supply chain will need to respond accordingly. Many changes that were put in place on an interim basis may persist well into the future. Emergency management has always been an aspect of the supply chain but has been magnified by COVID. PPE is now being used by schools, businesses and other organizations, putting a further strain on the supply chain. Sourcing strategies will require innovation, balance, and diversification while engagement and productivity for the long-haul will be essential.

With change comes opportunity and these executives also shared how suppliers can help them now and into the future. Next, we’ll share key takeaways on how suppliers can meet the changing needs of the supply chain.

Whether you need a customized learning program on market access or account management or access to an off-the-shelf resource on organized customers, our learning strategists are here to help.

Contact us at (800) 328-2615 or at solutions@cmrinstitute.org to find out more about how we can help your account managers and sales reps improve their interactions with these important supply chain executives.

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