Driving Value in Healthcare Through Supplier Collaboration – Part 4: Building Category Councils to Drive Better Sourcing Decisions

Todd Larkin, Chief Operating Officer, Intalere

Excerpts from a Conversation with Todd Larkin, Chief Operating Officer, Intalere

Along with our suppliers, we have to increase our dialogue with our internal stakeholders to align our strategic objectives across the organization and develop strategies to address that. With that in mind, we’re starting to see a new level of engagement between supply chain organizations and their colleagues in clinical and business operations. It’s another step in building a best-in-class supply chain model. 

As an example, our category teams are focused on our future long-term strategy on key categories within healthcare. Then we have our Sourcing Center of Excellence that is focused on driving price down every day through RFPs and negotiation. We then leverage the volume from our members all in the name of driving price reductions. But the key differentiator is that it’s all powered by the voice of the customer through our Category Leaders. They help us to drive strategies within categories and class of trade that make the most sense.

One of the approaches we have taken is to create category councils. In this scenario, the category lead is responsible for identifying the stakeholders who need to be part of the council. The goal is to build a cross-functional team responsible for bringing in organizational, clinical, supply market and customer insights. They must be able to answer questions including: What is going on within the organization? What are the challenges that you face using this product or this category? Not only today, but where is this department, where is this service line expected to be in the future?

Bringing that conversation and dialogue together, in order to create a new roadmap, a new strategy that will be effective not just in the next six months, but the next three to five years into the future. The team co-creates that strategy. It’s not something that’s done within supply chain, nor is it something that’s done within the business office. It needs to be a very collaborative activity.

Ultimately, category management is that umbrella framework and strategic sourcing is just one component of it. Still, too often, when we think about supply chain, we often revert to sourcing and contract negotiations instead of trying to broaden our horizons to other aspects and other value levers that we should be pulling.

We Can Help. Intalere provides resources that can assist in the area of supply chain and supplier relationships, as well as many other areas of your healthcare facility. Review our Financial Recovery Transformation Toolkit and reach out to see how we can help. Contact Customer Service at 877-711-5600 or customerservice@intalere.com or your Intalere representative.

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