Kermit recently hosted a webinar that explored how a health system’s clinical resources can be leveraged to fill critical roles in a supply chain department’s strategic sourcing team.
The webinar, titled “A Strategic Sourcing Success Story: How Innovation & Cultural Change Revolutionized Inova Health’s Strategic Sourcing Capabilities,” featured real-world experiences from Patricia “Patti” Hoch, Sr. Director of Strategic Sourcing & Value Analysis at Inova Health along with two of her strategic sourcing team members, Brittany Camp and Amanda Campanero both registered nurses with extensive clinical experience.
Patti shared the thought-process behind this “non-traditional” approach while both Brittany and Amanda, neither of whom had supply chain or contract negotiation experience, discussed their reasoning for taking on the challenge.
While you can watch the webinar on-demand, these three takeaways can provide a peek into Patti’s process and success.
1. Find the Right People for Your Team & Embrace the “Let’s Go” Attitude
When Hoch arrived at Inova Health, she knew right away that dramatic improvements were needed and that bold action needed to be taken. She found that, for far too many years, supplier contracts were simply renewed rather than competitively renegotiated along with a lack of any system or process for managing an effective RFP process.
Hoch knew that if the department was going to achieve the level of cost savings that the health system needed, that team members would need to go beyond their comfort zone. She call’s it “The Let’s Go Attitude.”
“The Let’s Go Attitude is about accountability and responsibility,” says Hoch. “If you’re about accountability and responsibility, then let’s go!”
In addition to fixing what she referred to as some “Supply Chain 101” issues within the department, Hoch also sought to implement an outside-the-box approach to healthcare strategic sourcing. With the idea that it is easier to teach a clinical person strategic sourcing than it is to teach a sourcing professional from outside of healthcare, the clinical interplay that each RFP entails, Hoch looked to the talented clinical staff at her own health system to find candidates with the Let’s Go Attitude to take a different path and join her team.
This unorthodox approach doesn’t come without challenges, and Patti is the first to bring that to light. However, as a good leader in any industry will be able to tell you, investing in your people is a top priority.
2. Invest in Your Team
Whether your team is made up of strategic sourcing experts or are new to the role, there is always room for improvement. Often these improvements are found through the investments made by leadership to teach new skills, further develop existing skills, and maximize skills through complimentary technologies and resources.
“I knew you couldn’t just hire any nurse off the OR floor and tell them to have at it,” says Hoch.
Within the Inova Health strategic sourcing team, Hoch leaned on expert mentoring services provided by Ron Denton & Associates (now referred to as RDA) which paired her new strategic sourcing team with seasoned healthcare supply chain professionals to work side-by-side and work on the skills that needed to analyze utilization and spending data and run an effective RFP.
Hoch also implemented bi-weekly trainings for her staff, a developed a comprehensive strategic sourcing learning academy that taught the hard skills needed gain the required expertise.
During this training and development effort, Hoch also committed to achieving and ambitious savings target that where “failure was not an option.” To help with this, Hoch leaned on the experts at Kermit to accelerate the RFP process focused initially on the spine and total joint divisions. Once the news agreements were on place, Kermit’s real-time savings tracking and analytics were utilized to ensure that the hard-fought price concessions weren’t eroded over time. Remarkably, Inova is on track to realize more than $6 million in savings and, with Kermit’s help, are tackling several additional service lines that, when combined, will lead to over $10 million in projected savings.
3. Be Honest with Yourself!
While Hoch found success in her strategy and overall implementation, it took an honest assessment of her team’s capabilities and where she needed help from the outside to make it come together.
For anyone considering this strategy in their own strategic sourcing department, Hoch recommends a first step of taking inventory of your teams’ experience and capabilities. At the forefront, this requires being honest with yourself and an assessment of whether you’re equipping your team with the tools they need to succeed. Millions of dollars (or tens of millions) are at stake.
Before diving into this change, Hoch recommends asking yourself the following:
- Does your strategic sourcing team have the appropriate skills to achieve your organization’s goals?
- Do you have the right mix of clinical and non-clinical staff?
- Do you have the right tools and technologies in place?
- Can they get information and insights they need to evaluate the situation?
- How can you fill knowledge haps within your team?
- Do you have standardized templates, tools, and processes that enable departmental consistency?
Once you’ve taken the time to assessment your department’s capabilities, the next steps are to develop a plan to fill in the gaps. What types of individualized investments do I need to make to bring each team member up-to-speed? Can I get them there on my own or do I need to hire outside experts to help mentor my team assist in the efforts? What technologies do I need to acquire in order to equip my team with the information they need to generate positive results?
Consider a Kermit/RDA Partnership to Help Revolutionize Your Strategic Sourcing
Inova partnered with Kermit and RDA on the two-pronged goals of mentoring her staff while generating meaningful savings. Kermit and RDA collaborated on these closely on these efforts and the results speak for themselves. The result in $6M in savings (with another $10M in negotiation) and the mentorship of two new strategic sourcing professionals who are ready to take the helm in the next rounds of negotiation.
What can Kermit do for your organization? Complete the form below for a free strategic sourcing assessment and detailed PPI savings analysis.