From Supply Chain Crisis to Innovation in a Pandemic

Healthcare Performance Insider caught up with Eric Jurinic, Accumen’s Vice President of Corporate Supply Chain. Eric has spent the last eight years of his career working within the healthcare supply chain, somewhat born into this area of business following generations of family members working within the automotive supply chain in the heart of Michigan’s “Motor City”.

Eric’s current role focuses on building strategic supply chain partnerships between health systems and vendors nationally. Through these efforts, Eric was uniquely positioned to support clients as the greatest healthcare crisis in 100 years hit the U.S. with force. He was innovative and agile, making it his personal quest to find resources for Accumen’s clients when the country was running out of supplies – FAST. Step one: develop relationships with domestic manufacturers already distributing PPE as well as those with the capabilities to pivot and do so.

Supply Chain Innovation
In mid-January, Eric began it think about what if scenarios. What if this COVID thing takes hold? What if it becomes widespread, like in China? How will this impact the U.S. supply chain? These questions continued enough to make Eric uncomfortable, and intent on finding proactive solutions for Accumen clients. If you paid attention to the media, you knew that crisis was going to hit sometime soon, in the same areas that it hit H1N1 in 2009 and  Ebola in 2014. Eric continues, recalling the exact same supply chain shortages during both pandemics.

You have to learn from your past experiences and mistakes. It’s almost like a puzzle, being able to map out the supply chain and put it together, no one is going to be able to predict everything but if you listen and put the pieces together you can be ahead of the curve.

Doing just that, Eric recognized that one of the largest global swab suppliers was in Italy which was quickly becoming one of the first countries to be hardest hit. Prior to the economic shut down, Eric was already domestically sourcing swabs.

The silver lining throughout this crisis is that people saw innovation happen faster in healthcare than ever before. Companies that build NASCAR chassis started making face shields, plastic bag manufacturers making isolation gowns, 3D printers making dentures started producing nasopharyngeal swabs. With domestic sourcing you’re going to be able to bring that closer to the patient.

In a previous issue, HPI connected with Al Siblani, CEO of EnvisionTEC, one of the unique manufacturers Eric developed an early partnership with. EnvisionTEC created 3D printed nasopharyngeal swabs that were one of the first to come to market with an ERB study, now providing swabs to hospitals and health systems around the country through Eric.

 To hoard or not to hoard?
Eric is innovated and action-oriented, no doubt about it. He is also passionate about our individual responsibilities to protect our supply chain, both in healthcare and the general population.

It is imperative to be ahead of the curve. As businesses open, elective surgeries start back up, and that looming what if there is a second surge, there’s going to be that fear of needing supplies – again. Human nature is to be in control! Already, news of impacts to global resin and plastic shortages. Most PPE is made from some type of plastic or resin. Information like this will lead hospitals, people, the general public to buy an abundance of things there were previous shortages of to make sure they are stocked up in the case.

In an effort to educate for prevention of such activities, Eric shared some simple “do’s and don’ts” for the months ahead.

Do:

  • When you can safely do so: Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle.
  • Be proactive and find alternative source(s) for all critical supplies. There is nothing wrong with dual sourcing or even tripling sourcing.

Don’t:

  • Do NOT hoard supplies. This can break a supply chain, restricting critical supplies from people who may need them more than you. It’s easier said than done, so you have to be intentional and conscious.
  • Buy what you need based on historical need.  Don’t buy more than you may need.  Think of others needs too, buying only enough to fulfill your forecasts.

Eric definitely makes the complex simple in his innovative and solution-oriented focus on supply chain during the greatest healthcare crisis in our lifetime. Healthcare needs us all to listen and spread the word. Because in the end, the ultimate goal is to provide better patient outcomes.

Eric Jurinic

Eric Jurinic

Vice President of Corporate Supply Chain