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Industry Exec Calls For Alignment, Transparency In Health Care Supply Chain

Stocks in this article: CAH

DUBLIN, Ohio, July 17, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Mike Duffy, president, Medical Consumables, Cardinal Health, made a call for alignment and information transparency in the health care supply chain in a recent presentation to members of SCM World, a global community of senior supply chain professionals, specifically encouraging supply chain partners to:

  • Seek a better or more complete understanding of the end-to-end health care supply chain
  • Align incentives
  • Collaborate on joint process improvements
  • Improve the transparency of information
  • Establish a foundation of trust


"Not only will better supply chain performance reduce cost," Duffy said, "but it will lead to better availability of products at the point of use, which ultimately will improve patient outcomes."

Best in Class

Pointing to a McKinsey & Co. study of the performance of 40 leading packaged goods companies, Duffy encouraged health care chain supply chain partners to increase collaboration and mimic the "shelf-back" approach the consumer sector has applied over the years to improve supply chain performance by adopting a "patient- back" approach to help ensure that the right product is at the right place at the right time.

Going Lean

Duffy pointed to the medical supply chain's cost, inventory and obsolescence metrics as examples for improvement and called for the elimination of redundancies in warehousing, inventories, transportation, and poor data exchange among trading partners. He promoted a Lean Six Sigma culture to help eliminate non-value-add activities in the health care supply chain, suggesting that providers can deliver better patient outcomes when their supply chain partners are focused on value stream improvements.

Promoting Global Data Standards

Duffy also called for product and location standards to help improve the transparency of information and patient safety. He promoted GS1 data standards for the medical product industry, saying, "I believe with GS1 and common data standards and improving b-to-b transactions amongst all of us, that will help improve patient safety and reduce adverse events due to medication errors."

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