CFOs and the Supply Chain: A winning strategy

Over the past couple of years, in this space you’ve seen the discussion about supply chain as a strategic asset for healthcare organizations, and how important it is that those in the C-suite understand and view it as such.  A recent Dow Jones/Deloitte Risk & Compliance Journal report titled “How CFOs Are Reshaping Supply Chains” makes this case very compellingly.

The report notes that while both chief risk officers (CROs) and chief financial officers (CFOs) have long been involved with supply chain oversight, finance chiefs—with their eyes on cost controls, risk management and the levers of working capital—are increasingly involving themselves. Kelly Marchese, principal, Deloitte Consulting LLP, who specializes in manufacturing operations and supply chain strategy states in the report that CFOs and CROs are vital to overseeing supply chain risk. She continues, “However, it’s often the CFO who is in a better position to drive priorities and accountability across a complex supply chain organization.”

And what is an IDN, if not a complex supply chain organization? With the addition of new physician groups and consolidation in the industry at an all time high, the complexity of healthcare organizations continues to increase.

According to the report, one of the main things driving CFOs to become more deeply involved in supply chain management “is the realization that a (profoundly) analytical approach to supply chain management can offer a wider number of strategic benefits, touching on areas as diverse as risk management, sustainability, customer service and brand management.” The report notes that finance chiefs “with their eyes on cost controls, risk management and the levers of working capital—are bringing supply chain efficiencies” to organizations. Clearly, this line of thinking should include healthcare organizations.

A fresh approach to improving supply chains can have a broader impact on the bottom line, “much in the same way finance transformation can create a more strategic focus for an organization as a whole.”

The reality is, supply chain is not departmental: it is strategic. We’ve heard that from supply chain leaders for the past couple of years. CFOs who approach the supply chain as a strategic opportunity, and work closely with supply chain managers to leverage that strategic opportunity, will help their organizations thrive as we move into the post-Affordable Care Act reality.

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