Supply Chain: The surprising—or maybe not so-surprising—link to customer satisfaction

According to recent research from Gartner, only 27% of companies believe they offer superior service to their competitors, even though improving the customer experience is a priority for many CEOs. So where are CEOs looking for improved customer service?

The supply chain.

“The supply chain organization typically plays a secondary role to marketing in driving customer experience strategy,” according to Gartner research director Lisa Callinan.  And while marketing certainly has a leading role, it is one that doesn’t supersede substance. The supply chain is all about substance, which is leading to change in forward-thinking organizations, “because the supply chain is uniquely placed to identify customers’ needs and drive better customer experiences,” Callinan continued.

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Supply Chain Is All About Value

A blog post by the chairperson of the American Council of Sourcing and Procurement Executive poses a very interesting idea. That the job of the chief procurement officer has changed so much over the past few years that the title is no longer accurate. Most who conduct this job today do far more than source, buy and manage the supply chain.

As a company that works closely with those involved in supply chain, we know firsthand that supply chain touches every area within an organization. As a result, supply chain has the direct ability to create value across all areas of an organization.

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New Survey Links Supply Chain Management to Better Quality and Patient Care

Historically, supply chain management has struggled to get the attention it merits. Over the years, it has been increasing in importance and a recent industry survey supports this increased focus.

The survey highlights opportunities for improvement and modernization in supply chain management. Most importantly, in my opinion, it found that outdated and manual healthcare supply chain management processes detract from care delivery. Frontline clinicians said that they spend a full two hours per 12 hour shift managing inventory issues. Nearly two-thirds of those frontline clinicians said they wish they could trade the time they spend managing supply chain for more patient care time.

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Transforming Today’s Healthcare Supply Chain

Recently, I read a blog post in Healthcare Finance News that focused on the transformation of the healthcare supply chain.  The authors discussed how different healthcare organizations were utilizing a number of technologies to enhance the effectiveness of their supply chain.

A clear focus on the value chain can deliver a significant return on investment. The authors point out that too often, hospitals utilize their own “homegrown” tools such as Excel spreadsheets, which can compartmentalize data and make it difficult, or nearly impossible to forecast or predict changes in supply chain demand.

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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.

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