The Competitive Advantage of a Diverse Supplier in a Shifting Market

Now more than ever, it’s critical to include all voices in healthcare conversations. Everyone is affected by healthcare outcomes, yet for too long, only a small minority had any real say.  SourceMark is currently on the front lines in the fight to ensure every voice is represented equally, and that begins with supplier diversity. Supplier diversity is present when an organization’s contracts for goods and services feature a variety of businesses, including those that are at least 51% owned, managed, or operated by minorities, women, veterans, or businesses defined as disadvantaged by the U.S. Small Business Administration, according to Hospitals in Pursuit of Excellence. Beyond material benefits such as increased efficiency and cost reduction, partnering with a diverse supplier leverages the unique perspectives of people from varied backgrounds to widen market opportunities and improve outcomes for all patients.

The Changing Landscape of the Healthcare Supply Chain

As the healthcare industry grows, standards of care continue to improve. Hospitals, healthcare organizations, and clinicians have begun to place new emphasis on quality and cost-effectiveness when sourcing products and services. In short, healthcare providers want to offer the best care possible, and they want it at the best price available.

In the healthcare sector, the supply chain delivers medicines, medical products, and other services from manufacturers to hospitals, physician offices, and surgery centers, ensuring patients receive the necessary medications and treatments. A healthy supply chain is critical for providers to operate efficiently while keeping costs low, and equally important for patients to ensure they have access to the healthcare they need.

Benefits of Partnering with a Diverse Supplier

Improved Quality of Products and Services

Diverse suppliers consider the unique perspectives of people from all backgrounds to drive innovation and offer a competitive advantage a cut above the rest.

Take for example CHRISTUS Health, a Catholic nonprofit health system with clinics in the United States, Mexico, and Chile. To bolster supplier diversity efforts, CHRISTUS Health established the Diversity Supplier Council in 2014, which served to incorporate diversity-focused language into all supplier agreements and required their supplier network to maintain cost and quality expectations to ensure a mutually beneficial relationship. The results speak for themselves: since 2014, CHRISTUS has experienced a 100% increase in diverse suppliers, all of which adhere to and many of which surpass expectations of quality and cost, greatly improving not only the company’s bottom line, but their commitment to diversity and community partnership.

When healthcare organizations partner with diverse suppliers, they make a promise to deliver quality products and services as a team. Successful partnerships between the two are built on a foundation of trust, community, and a shared conviction to deliver exceptional healthcare. Though the suppliers may be diverse in background, the goal—and the results—are the same: quality products, superior service, and the best patient outcomes possible.

Cost Reduction and Increased Efficiency

When healthcare organizations strive for inclusivity and widen their scope of potential suppliers, healthy competition is promoted in the supply chain. This motivates suppliers to improve product quality and lower costs. Another benefit of a wider, more inclusive pool of suppliers is a fortified supply chain more resistant to changes in the market. During uncertain economic times, diversity-focused supplier networks prove agile, responsive, and resilient, ensuring patients continue to receive much-needed care.

Overcoming Challenges and Building Successful Partnerships

Although rich in benefits, partnering with a diverse supplier network is not without challenges. Sourcing minority-owned suppliers that meet a healthcare provider’s procurement requirements can prove difficult. One potential solution to this problem is to create a mentorship training program and partner with small, diverse suppliers in need of support, or to join forces with local councils or chambers of commerce with similar support systems in place.

To address the issue of accountability, healthcare systems can verify any federally contracted diversity program by checking to see if they meet federal acquisition regulations or the small-business-subcontracting requirements. While it’s important to choose diverse suppliers, you’ll want to make sure they’re legitimate first!

At SourceMark, we believe strength can be found in what makes us different. As the healthcare supply chain continues to evolve and grow ever more complex, a sturdy supplier network is crucial, and diverse suppliers offer high quality products and services for reduced costs. But the benefits of a diverse supplier network extend beyond the superficial. Partnering with a Minority Business Enterprise like SourceMark makes clear your dedication to social responsibility, boosting both your reputation as well as your market opportunities. But most importantly, diverse suppliers come together under a single common goal: to better serve our patients. That means threading together diverse perspectives and experiences to create a rich, interconnected tapestry of trustworthy, responsive suppliers committed to providing exceptional care for all.

We can help you deliver positive patient experiences and better clinical outcomes. Get in touch with us for more information.