Brad Haupt, Vice President of Supply Chain and Contract Management, is used to getting phone calls when something is missing. What he wasn’t used to – until about three months ago – was having 1,200 products on back-order or facing an allocation limit.
“Over my 27-year career in supply chain, I’ve never seen anything like this,” he said. “These are unprecedented times for health care supply chain.”
Brad Haupt, Vice President of Supply Chain and Contract Management, at Monument Health’s Distribution Center in Rapid City.
Manufacturing around the globe began facing major shortages long before the pandemic reached the United States, because most medical supplies and personal protective equipment (PPE) come from Asian countries, which of course were battling the COVID-19 crisis. So Brad’s team had to get creative early on when many suppliers began implementing “fair share” allocation processes. Many suppliers have calculated allocation amounts based on pre-COVID-19 utilization, so the supply chain has had to manually override automatic ordering systems to ensure Monument Health receives what they need.
Brad explains allocation using this example: If you normally buy 10 rolls of toilet paper per month, but you suddenly need more because you’re working from home, allocation allows you to purchase only 10 rolls per month. “So you need to either figure out how to make 10 rolls last, or find someone who is willing to sell you their toilet paper,” he said.
The decision to stop elective surgeries gave the supply chain a chance to catch up. “We continued to buy our allocation of products and build our inventory in preparation for a surge in patients,” Brad said. “A lot of work was done during that time. We were working overtime to bring in even more supplies and control our inventory.”
Caregivers in all areas of the supply chain, from laundry to transportation and in all markets, have been stepping up, taking extra shifts and working longer hours to make sure caregivers and providers at all locations have the supplies they need.
“Our operations and procurement caregivers are constantly vetting new suppliers and purchasing substitute products,” he said. “Face shields are a good example – right now there are 20 different styles being distributed across the system to make sure caregivers have the PPE they need.”
According to Brad, a huge motivating factor behind the hard work and long hours his team has been putting in is that they are helping the whole community – not just Monument Health. As a health care leader in our region, we vet suppliers and build relationships that have value for others who are suddenly facing their own supply challenges.
“Just the other day we were contacted by a local healthcare organization, and while we couldn’t provide the supplies they needed, we gave them contact information for several suppliers,” he said. “Later that day they called and thanked us and said they got what they needed.”
Thank you to our supply chain team for their dedication to not only Monument Health patients, caregivers and providers, but to others in the community who rely on our leadership.