Abbott's Role in Bringing Health Care Providers and Suppliers Together

By: Chase Maser

On September 16th, 2019,  the Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI) named Abbott the Global Industry Leader in sustainability for the seventh year in a row. 

Their continued success in sustainability comes from their exemplary innovation and leadership in several areas, such as social, environmental, and economic performance. However, their progress doesn't come from individual success alone. Instead, Abbott follows an inclusive mindset that brings providers and suppliers together under one holistic mission of helping people live fuller and healthier lives. 

Through global expansion, a decentralized supply chain, and streamlined procurement, Abbott develops a community of health care partners that elevate each other and lead the way for further sustainability and growth. 

Abbott's Push for Global Expansion

Currently, Abbott has expanded their reach into over 160 countries, providing various technologies and products to a wide customer base.

For over 125 years, Abbott has grown their influence to reach areas like nutrition, medical devices, diagnostics, and generic pharmaceuticals. However, legacy strategies have been laid to rest, creating opportunities to secure growth by manufacturing products in facilities across the globe. According to Elizabeth Riordan, the Divisional Vice President of Abbott's Global Dairy Operations, she shares that the company's push for global expansion has come from a standpoint of focus and creativity. 

"We are developing a community that is not about centralized command and control but is elevating technical and procurement skills all over the world with new tools, consistent processes and a broader expectation of how we want to integrate with suppliers. This purchasing community spans geographies, organizations and structures, and we are making it work without centralized command and control.”

Needless to say, their strategy is paying off with stellar results. Not only does 2109 mark the 15th year in a row that Abbott has been noticed for its sustainability practices by the DJSI, but their global impact has also landed them high rankings on the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index and North America Index.  In a statement from their Cheif Executive Officer, Miles D. White: 

"We recognize that as a privilege – one that comes with responsibilities. The most important of these is that we manage the company to ensure that Abbott will be here – for another 130 years and beyond – continuing to benefit the millions of people around the world who depend upon us in such meaningful ways."

Creating a Decentralized Supply Chain and Streamlining Procurement

Abbott has developed a system that optimizes its supply chain organization into a decentralized approach that prepares its supply base well before any issues arise. 

For instance, they stress that supplier relationships have to be transparent and that any strategies moving forward must be shared with them far in advance to ensure that operations are performing at an optimum pace. This is especially true when branching into new product lines and expanding into new parts of the world. Sustainability for Abbott means keeping traditions alive and maintaining a high level of standards, and a major part of executing that belief relies on preserving the quality, the social and environmental responsibility, and worldwide compliance among its suppliers. 

So with everyone on the same page in terms of expectations and company-wide integrity, the procurement process becomes much easier to carry out. In fact, according to Ric Schneider, Abbott's Cheif Procurement Officer, the procurement team for Abbott is almost spilt 50-50 between procurement and technical experts. 

"That mix allows us to take a team approach and to work with suppliers from different perspectives,” he adds. “It goes beyond just working with their salespeople. We have been able to tap into a talent with diverse experiences, and that has provided us with learning opportunities."

Planning for the Future

Overall, Abbott aims to bring health care providers and suppliers together by following five goals:

1.          Safeguarding Abbott's reputation

2.          Focusing on shared value

3.          Improving financial performance

4.          Optimizing growth and leading innovation

5.          Developing an adaptable supply network

With these benchmarks in place, Riordan goes on to explain that... 

"Shared value means transparent relationships and a shared focus on improving lives. Enhancing margin and elevating financial performance means looking at ways we assess all of the elements that strategic sourcing needs to encompass. Expediting growth means growing relationships with suppliers to find mutual benefits with exciting plans and pipelines. Finally, we want dynamic supply networks that will help us meet consumer needs.”

Creating a decentralized and streamlined supply chain is set to be a hot topic at LogiMed 2019, taking place in March at the Rancho Bernardo Inn, San Diego, CA.

Download the agenda today for more information and insights.

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