How Supply Chain Teams Can Prepare Today to Preserve Tomorrow

The healthcare industry is currently experiencing massive supply chain disruptions caused by the global COVID-19 pandemic.


On the supply side, life-saving supplies for patients and medical teams alike are a challenge to procure; on the demand side, prices are increasing exponentially. As a result of these disruptions, vendor relationships are being frayed; entirely new and nontraditional products are popping up; and annual budgets are being tossed out the windows.  

Even the most seasoned healthcare executives are scratching their heads and asking what to do. There aren’t many blueprints for how to structure a response to the most unprecedented public health crisis of the past several generations. But even without a blueprint, there are small but significant steps organizations can take to successfully weather and sustain supply chain operations through this period of crisis:  

  • Establish a Source of Truth: Establishing a longitudinal, transparent database for all contracts, business obligations, and vendor relationships is the critical first step. Creating a central repository for this information will allow organizations to identify the unique assets that may be leveraged across the enterprise to provide support, while also pinpointing gaps in vendor or supply coverage for scarce materials.  
  • Deploy Rapid Response Processes: In times of emergency, maintaining clear, coordinated communications for decisionmaking and execution is essential. Even though Supply Chain teams are on the front lines, most of these teams lack the systems and methods to streamline enterprise-wide purchasing and procurement decisions. Nevertheless, when each minute is critical, standardized workflows that align key stakeholders to key decisions will go a long way toward structuring a coordinated and successful response to the pandemic. 
  • Prepare Today to Optimize the Margin Tomorrow: This pandemic will end someday; when that day comes, health systems will enter the recovery mode. As high-growth revenues are lost, reimbursements for clinical procedures are shaved, and unintended expenditures balloon, most health systems will likely enter a period of adjustment. During this time, Supply Chains will be on the hook for negotiating optimal prices with vendors, minimizing wasteful spending, and rationalizing redundancies from their organizations. These activities are not trivial, and many health systems may lack the capacity and resources to execute these tasks in a timely manner. But taking action will be critical to preserving as much of the bottom line as possible. 

As noted, many organizations may not have the people, processes, or capabilities to undertake these activities on their own. Fortunately, TractManager has the best-practice solutions for each of these pivotal steps. TractManager, a recognized leader in healthcare operational optimization, works with more than two-thirds of all health systems in the United States. Learn more about how TractManager can assist your organization in tackling these challenges — both large and small. 


Mark O'Connor, MHSA, MPP

SVP Product Strategy & Growth

Mark O’Connor is a seasoned healthcare executive with more than a decade of leadership experience.


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