Getting supplies to ‘the right place at the right time’: Q&A with Janet Abbruzzese

June 27, 2019  //  FOUND IN: Strategy & Leadership,

Yesterday, readers gained insight into the important work carried out by Supply Chain Services.

To dive even deeper into this vital group’s role at Michigan Medicine, Headlines caught up with Janet Abbruzzese, director of Supply Chain Strategy and Procurement, who has been with the organization since 2017.

Here’s what she had to say!

Q: Can you briefly explain the role of Supply Chain Services at Michigan Medicine? What are a couple of things you’d want employees to know about your department? 

JA: We support the entire clinical enterprise with the full supply chain process. That means we provide everything from product evaluation through contract negotiations, purchasing, electronic transacting, inventory management and system support. Our core vision is a three-pronged approach focused on price, utilization and standardization.

Q: How do clinicians and other team members interact with your team on a daily basis? 

JA: There are so many partners that we rely on and collaborate with every single day! We are proud to be a clinically-integrated supply chain. The talented Supply Chain staff in procedural areas — such as the OR, IR, CPU and MPU — and employees in each location work collaboratively to ensure quality products are available to provide safe care.

Additionally, clinicians interact with our Warehouse Operations team and rely on stock keepers and our Transactional Purchasing team to deliver supplies to the right location at the right time. Clinicians and physicians work closely with the Value Analysis team to vet the quality and cost of innovative technology; Legal Counsel works with our Contracts and Procurement team to mitigate risk and to optimize terms and conditions with suppliers; Compliance and Regulatory Affairs help us manage vendor relationships; and HITS and ITS collaborate with the Supply Chain Solutions team on standardizing technology platforms across the enterprise.

Q: What is the biggest challenge your team faces at an organization as large as Michigan Medicine? 

JA: Our goal is to ensure that supplies are available in the right place at the right time. There are many dynamic factors including proper forecasting and demand planning, backorders, recalls and the number of par locations to manage that can impact that goal. The key is transparency and communication with our internal customers and partners so that we can work through any disruption to the supply chain.

Q: You joined the organization in late 2017. What sort of initiatives and changes have you put into motion since coming to Michigan Medicine? 

JA: One of the first initiatives was an effort to support expense reduction. The concept was to send a letter to our vendors requesting reduced pricing. This seemingly simple initiative was a significant effort by the team to renegotiate contracts and resulted in $4M in savings. We have also strengthened the Value Analysis process to include the creation or redesign of current committees in order to vet new products. We want to balance innovative new technology which impacts patient outcomes with standardization. Lastly, in FY19, we kicked off a significant inventory redesign project to include a lean two-bin system in the supply rooms, resulting in more organized and effective layout, which improved clinician satisfaction. The goal is to complete this for all inpatient units in FY20.

Q: What is the most satisfying aspect of your work? 

JA: This is easy — working with such a collaborative community. When I started here, there was a shortage of IV fluids due to the devastation in Puerto Rico due to Hurricane Maria. I was in awe of the multidisciplinary teamwork to ensure safe, high-quality patient care. We heard from suppliers that the work we accomplished to include ordering patterns, strict inventory management, conservation and clinical utilization was extraordinary. This is just one example of many when teams have come together to support the mission to advance health to serve Michigan and the world.

Q: What is something surprising that people may not know about you? 

JA: I come from a military family and so by the time I was 18 years old, I had lived in nine different places, including overseas. My mom took advantage of the opportunity to travel while we were based in Germany, exposing us to different food, architecture and history. While continually relocating and leaving friends as a child was difficult, it made me open to meeting new people while experiencing and respecting diverse cultures.