The Dollars are in the Details

Violinist - what professional muscisians and supply chain leaders have in common.Do you know any musicians? How about serious musicians – highly trained, highly skilled and incredibly dedicated? Well, I do. In fact, I know three intimately – my daughter Parker, my son Eamon and their mother, Debra. Parker studies classical piano at a rigorous conservatory in Montréal, and Eamon studies jazz alto saxophone in an equally serious conservatory in Boston. Debra holds an advanced voice degree from the prestigious Juilliard School.

When my children prepare for their performances, which take place often and are very demanding, they spend an incredible amount of highly focused time on the most-minute details of the pieces they will perform. Their attention turns to their technique, the physical performance characteristics with which they approach their instruments, as well as nuances of musicality, which encompass the overall artistic approach one takes to execute a piece. When Debra teaches a voice student to perform a piece, the two of them will spend weeks going over tiny details of the performance to bring it closer and closer to perfection.

Each of these three artists performs pieces that have been in either the classical or jazz repertoire for years. In Parker’s case, she’s performing pieces that were written hundreds of years ago and are still performed regularly. Eamon takes jazz standards of the 40s, 50s and 60s and turns them into something unique and exciting. Debra’s ability to bring out the best in her students and the subtle nuances of their performance makes those artists charming and successful.

If you think this through for a moment, it will come as no surprise that the most successful artists – musicians, actors and writers – are all bound by a common obsession. In order to be successful, in fact, in order to just make a living, they need to be highly detail-oriented. They need to repeat, time and again, the same phrase or section of music. They’ll take a piece apart and put it back together in a way that expresses their unique musical abilities and talents.

For those of us whose everyday toils and challenges are little bit more in the “square” world – particularly those of us in supply chain who want to execute seamless and successful transactions, derive complex data-driven analyses and generally advance non-salary expense improvement – an obsessive approach to the quality and verisimilitude of data is de rigueur. At Optimé Supply Chain, we rely on the highest degree of verifiable and accurate data and detail to construct the complex financial models our clients derive from our applications.

When we begin engagements with our clients, the very first exercise we perform is a sampling of their data to assure it is clean and consistent. We’ll work with them to help identify the variability often found in large data sets that can wreak havoc, impede automated transactions and foster material inaccuracies, all of which can cost an organization hundreds of thousands of dollars each year.

We are also painstaking advocates of standardized product category and commodity designations and champions of universal data standards, including the United Nations Standard Products and Services Code taxonomy, universal product identifiers and universal location numbers. Our approach is to help align data with the decision-making, transactional and audit rigor needed to achieve and sustain savings and standardization. Working with our clients in a highly collaborative manner, we are able to design workflows that support timely and accurate reporting as well as information capture.

In many ways it’s this attention to the details of content and workflow that underlie the most important and lasting components of our work. Just as it’s critically important to assure that the details in a client’s item master are accurate and timely, we believe that highly detailed and focused attention to the transactional workflows supporting the healthcare supply chain are equally important.

When we work with a client to create workflows in our SmartSOURCETM application, we’ll spend all the hours it takes to articulate every step and detail in the contracting process. Along the way, we’ll join the clients in a close consideration of their work with categories and commodities. We’ll make sure these are aligned with the decision-making process as well as accounting and audit considerations. Once those have been completed we’ll work with an organization to pull together workflows that are appropriately detailed to its needs and are repeatable and rigorous.

Optimé team members represent significant depth and experience in a large variety of healthcare supply chain settings across North America, including acute and non-acute healthcare settings, group purchasing organizations, manufacturing, and distribution and service providers. We bring real-time, relevant experience and skills to the work we do with organizations.

We’re passionate about the quality of our deliverables and share our clients’ determination to sustain the most efficient supply-chain operations that help them provide the safest and highest-quality patient care every day. We like to think we bring the same sort of passion and execution to our work as the finest musicians and performers bring to enthusiastic audiences across the world. So, working in close harmony with healthcare organizations, we will assure the finest detail and best path to an efficient and cost-effective supply chain.

Joe Sheil is senior vice president of Optimé’s Strategic Sourcing Practice.

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