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    Brent Bolton

    COVID-19 has created a significant disruption to our global supply chains.  We are seeing shortages and interruptions in almost every industry, ranging from health care supplies to consumer products.  Shortages like toilet paper and hair dye are widely publicized and are mildly amusing when we compare them to the serious impact of this global pandemic.   But most supply chain shortages are not a laughing matter.  In health care our hospitals and health systems are fighting a battle to keep lab products on the shelves so they can test patients for COVID, and our hospitals cannot find supplies of the personal protective equipment (PPE) they need to protect their care givers.  It’s been a mess.

    Supply Chain professionals constantly weight the risk versus reward of inventory management processes.  Our job is to keep inventory low in order to improve cash flow, reduce storage space, and reduce inventory obsolescence and spoilage.  But we cannot build products in manufacturing or serve patients in health care without adequate supplies inventory.  We’ve implemented lean / six sigma principles into our inventory management purchasing processes, and these policies work well during periods of minimal supply/demand variability.  We do not plan our supply chains with consideration for global pandemics, because they are too infrequent and there are too many planning variables.

    The COVID-19 pandemic has taught us that we must take supply chain risk management more seriously.   We must build contingency plans for the “what if”.  We need to have multiple alternative suppliers approved for products and services and create supply chain teams that can be responsive and flexible.  We need to keep safety stock of products that are the difference between life and death.  As the saying goes, we must hope for the best and plan for the worst.  That doesn’t mean we should keep excess inventory on hand for everyday products, except for, maybe, toilet paper…

    Brent Bolton

    Brent Bolton

    Supply Chain, Director

    I always tell our team to never forget the challenges that our customers are facing in trying to accomplish their mission – and our job is to help them. And at the end of the day, the reward at seeing how we can impact their ability to do their job quicker, easier and more effectively makes the challenge well worth it.

    – Randy Campbell, Chief Technology Officer, Interlace Health,

    Healthcare Industry Webinars

    Interesting Fact

    Since the coronavirus outbreak, the number of Telehealth visits rose from 14% to 57% and for those with chronic illness the number has increased by 77%. 


    • Join Accumen, The Society for the Advancement of Patient Blood Management, and AABB are co-hosting a webinar titled, Let's Not Go Back to Normal, The Essential Role of Patient Blood Management. 
    • Accumen, Modern Healthcare and telehealth experts, Dr. Eric Wallace, MD, UAB Medical Director and Dr. Darrel Weaver, Vice President BlueCross BlueShield of Alabama hosting a timely webinar on April 22nd.