By Robert W. Yokl, Sr. VP, Supply Chain & Value Analysis — SVAH Solutions
I want to thank all our hard working and dedicated physicians, clinicians, support services, supply chain and value analysis professionals in this once in a century virus situation we are now in. I am a believer in the strength of our healthcare systems, their leaders, people and supply chains throughout the country. Most importantly, I am a believer in supply chain’s ability to rally to take on this new challenge that has caused a major bend, but not a break, in their armor. The healthcare supply chain is strong.
Value Analysis Can Help
Value analysis was created at the end of World War II when there were shortages of raw materials and limited manufacturing of needed commercial, business, and consumer supplies and equipment. They were forced to look for functional alternatives for materials, products, and equipment to meet their needs. Value analysis was created on the premise of defining the problem in terms of functionality required and the search for alternatives to help solve the challenge.
Communicate the Function You or Your Clinicians Require
Fast forward to today. There are so many great stories in the news, and we are seeing value analysis happen before our eyes. Nurses have discovered that rain ponchos’ impervious functionality will meet the same requirements as an impervious gown. This conserves surgical and isolation gowns for other important uses and meets the nurse’s functionality requirement of protecting them and their clothing from infectious droplets. In hearing about this, the Disney Company just donated their rain ponchos to be distributed to healthcare professionals.
We are seeing many industries chip in, such as major designers making masks for healthcare workers, NASCAR racing teams making splash guards, Tesla and other manufacturers making ventilators. I especially liked seeing innovations in taking N95 masks, normally made to be worn and disposed of, now being able to be sterilized using various methods and worn again. Keep up the great work and keep explaining your functional requirements to see who steps up to answer the challenge!
Finger Pointing Does Nothing for Anyone Right Now
I know there are many inside and outside our healthcare industry who can easily offer 20/20 hindsight commentary about the state of the personal protective equipment shortages and other supply chain challenges going on right now. I think there will be a time and place for that debrief after we have reached our goals and objectives to get through this virus and sustain a level of normalcy.
Supply Chain Always Answers the Challenge
You can rest assured that the healthcare supply/value chain will overcome this challenge and get right back on track with cost, quality, and outcome goals. They will learn from this challenge and adapt new plans, policies, and procedures that will better prepare their hospitals and health systems for the next challenge down the road. Keep up the great work healthcare and supply chain professionals, we are with you!