Adventist HealthCare: Transforming Supply Chain Management

As a faith-based, not-for-profit organization, Adventist HealthCare is committed to providing quality, compassionate care for its patients. Operating acute care and rehabilitation hospitals and urgent care centers, the Maryland-based organization cares for patients across three counties, encouraging health and wellness throughout the communities they serve.

Like other healthcare organizations, Adventist HealthCare faces pressure to improve efficiencies in its operations due to rapid changes occurring across the industry. To keep up with the changes and to advance supply chain functionality, it decided to deploy Workday Supply Chain Management in conjunction with Workday Financial Management and Workday Human Capital Management. As part of its broad technology transformation plan, the organization impressively deployed this full platform in 12 months.

We connected with Talia Mauck, associate vice president for supply chain management at Adventist HealthCare, to learn how her team is handling operational challenges, driving innovation, and benefitting from Workday Supply Chain Management. Below are the highlights from our discussion.

How are changes in the healthcare industry changing the priorities for your team?

Healthcare supply chain management has changed dramatically over the last few years. For example, our supply chain management teams have moved from focusing almost solely on transactions to focusing on decision support. Now our contracting team focuses on analytics, savings, and process improvement, and our logistics team focuses on day-to-day operations. As healthcare continues to evolve, we’ll need to work with less and do more.

What challenges did you experience in your previous ERP system for supply chain management?

Our previous system was cumbersome and inflexible, so it required a lot of time training and retraining our users. Often, department leaders had to come to us to pull information for them or troubleshoot requests because it was too difficult to do on their own. Our supply chain team would have to provide a lot of one-on-one support to help staff enter requisitions and provide cheat sheets to guide users. Workday is much more intuitive with training and offers simple navigation.

When negotiating with vendors, previously we couldn’t easily access the data needed to guide those pricing conversations. For example, to find the overall spend with a vendor we’d have to manually add up invoices one by one. As you can imagine, this was tedious, very time consuming, and caused a lot of operational bottlenecks.

What were you looking for when considering a new system?

We were looking for a user-friendly, intuitive system that could better support our supply chain management priorities: analytics, saving, process improvement, and day-to-day operations. We wanted a system, unlike our previous system, that could integrate with other areas of our business, make it easy to process orders, and provide analytics and quality information to our users. Something that only required minimal training—for most users—was also key. For requests, we wanted users to be guided through the process in the same way they’re guided through the process when shopping online.

We also wanted our various department leaders to be empowered to drill into workable reports on budget information and data on their own. And when negotiating with vendors, we wanted dashboards with robust reporting that would allow us to identify opportunities we may have previously overlooked.

What did the supply chain management rollout mean for your team? Are operations improving?

Employee engagement and helping our teams grow their careers is very important to us. When our teams can spend time on work that actually positively affects patient care, they see how they’re contributing to the overall mission of the organization.

Now, rather than cleaning up preventable errors and teaching users how to use our system, we focus on the areas of supply chain that are important. We’ve shifted our focus to improving product delivery efficiency, managing and negotiating pricing, logistics, managing vendor relationships, and customer service with end users.

One major benefit is our three-way matching process, which we previously had to manage manually. For example, before paying a vendor, we’d have to run a report to confirm the product was received and the price and quantity were correct. When errors occurred, we’d have to review each line item to figure out how to resolve the problems.

Now, in Workday, match exceptions are assigned as tasks to users, so corrections to exceptions happen simultaneously. For example, if a receiving exception causes a quantity exception, the buyer works to correct. If the buyer corrects a quantity exception, and it affects price, our contract team works to correct. Once it’s all resolved, we pay the vendor. It’s a powerful way to change how our teams work.

How is Workday partnering with Adventist HealthCare?

Workday took the time to learn about our challenges in healthcare and took action to provide solutions. Ensuring the users at the hospitals have high-quality equipment and supplies when they need them is the cornerstone of our supply chain purpose.

It was encouraging for us to see Workday develop relationships with our vendors, vendors they’d never worked with before, because Workday saw that integration was essential for us to do our jobs. It’s great to see that Workday has met all its promises, has filled all the gaps we identified at the beginning, and has provided a system that’s truly and completely end to end.