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Inside Guide to Selecting Healthcare Supply Chain Partners

Michael Wilson | Feb 3, 2015

Category: Healthcare

Supply chain issues are among some of the most critical concerns for hospital administrators and leadership. In many cases, healthcare supply chain concerns are largely governed ...


Supply chain issues are among some of the most critical concerns for hospital administrators and leadership. In many cases, healthcare supply chain concerns are largely governed by the type of supply vendors that a hospital or facility deals with.

With this in mind, it is important that hospitals are selecting the best possible supplier partners that they can find. These are the kinds of vendors that will support their business by providing them with competitive pricing as well as top-quality service and support. There are a few common concepts that should be understood by all hospital administrators and supply chain professionals that are looking to find the best vendors possible.

1. Understand Their Background

Before you decide to do business with a specific company, it is important that you know their story. Not only should you know their actual history, you should also have an understanding of their brand message. Talk to their sales team or company leadership about what their unique healthcare supply chain capabilities are and why they should be the vendor that you choose, whether it is because of their great service, timely delivery, or great prices.

2. Meet Your Representatives

When it comes to a vendor relationship that is ongoing in nature and will probably last for a significant period of time, there will be a few people at your vendor of choice that you interact with frequently. It is important that you get to know who these people are and what they will do for you, whether you are working with the company’s sales team or customer service reps. Answering the following questions ahead of time about your representative will minimize headache later on in your working relationship.

  • What is their work style? Is it compatible with yours?
  • What forms of communication do they use? Email, text or phone?
  • Are they in a different time zone? Will that affect your ability to contact them in case of an emergency?
  • If your representative is out of the office, who will handle your account?

3. Investigate Industry Connections

Many supply vendors in the field of healthcare are a part of major purchasing groups that allow them to get the best possible deals on the products that they provide to their clients. As a healthcare facility, you may also be eligible for certain benefits that come from making purchases with a particular buying group. A potential vendor that is a part of one of these groups may be preferable because of their pricing, but remember that you will want to choose a vendor on more than just price alone. Talk to potential suppliers about the arrangements that they have with groups that may be able to get you a good deal on your healthcare procurement needs.

At the end of the day, you must be able to properly vet potential suppliers based on the needs of your specific facility. The healthcare supply chain experts that you work with should be able to help you get the supplies that you need at a price that you can afford in an acceptable timeframe for your operation. Finding a vendor that is capable of fulfilling these requirements may take some time, but you will find that this effort is well worth it since it sets you up for long-term success. You will be able to more efficiently get what your facility needs from its healthcare supply chain in order to provide quality, timely patient care.

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