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Sophie Rutherford

Major Accounts Executive, GHX
Friday, February 15, 2019

Integrating Academic and Non-Acute Supply Chain Part 2: Choosing a Technology Partner

In my last post, Integrating Academic and Non-Acute Supply Chain, I drilled down into some of the challenges for this initiative around data, buying behavior and aligning cross-functionally for success. This is an ambitious endeavor, aligning the people, processes and systems, but certainly will deliver significant benefits. When you are ready to take the next steps there are several key considerations for gathering requirements and choosing a technology partner.  

Establish Priorities

Gathering requirements, scoping a solution fit and designing a best-of-breed solution to manage procurement from indirect to direct spend for an effective integrated network is key. But just as important is ensuring that you have an effective strategy to support the maximum potential for growth, from both a strategic position and for operational output.  

At the top of the list for your integration strategy is operability. Your technology platform will play the primary role in the success of the vision, design, implementation, and utilization of the newly aligned workflows. Exploring and leveraging existing enterprise resource planning (ERP) capabilities might be the best approach to interoperability and by expanding an existing footprint with a technology partner that has the capabilities to support both the academic and medical integration requirements.  

A solution that will scale with growth can't be ignored. With the ever-changing technology platforms, cloud environments and internal/external customer base — the ability to adjust, adapt and accommodate will be critical. When choosing your technology partner, make every attempt to implement a comprehensive demand-to-payment platform that is flexible enough to change with the market and adapt to the shifting requirements of your organization.

Benefits

All of the advantages of the integrated strategy are far too many to capture in one post but these made the short list. An organization will find returns on the investment into a fully consolidated, standardized model characterized by both financial and operational value. It starts with an elevated awareness of procurement to payment functions followed by an evolution in the perception of these processes as a roadblock to a strategic asset for the organization. Aside from this fresh perspective, a plethora of additional opportunities exist and can be identified during the vision, design, implementation and maintenance process.

One of the most obvious opportunities is a reduction in costs and operating expenses across the demand-to-payment workflow. Standardizing technologies and workflows across the user base will allow the newly integrated organization to operate more efficiently, leveraging structure and visibility across the organization.

With data consolidated, standardized, and presented in a way to drive savings and compliance, decisions can be made, and strategic sourcing initiatives can be implemented. Leadership can now begin to manage budgets more effectively across multiple departments and locations, and spending limits can be put in place to ensure fiscal responsibility along with better visibility to compliance.

Procurement and strategic sourcing can implement an effective approach to vendor partner relationships, creating the dialogue to leverage greater purchasing power and creating opportunities for supplier diversity and performance measurements. 

The benefits of an integrated supply chain can reach deep and wide through the advanced efficiency, structure and visibility. However, taking on an initiative of this scope and scale, and the needed alignment of internal teams, will require the right technology partner to bring it all together.

More to come in the next few weeks but until then please reach out with comments or questions.

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