12 Pioneers Enter Supply Chain ‘Hall of Fame’

Posted: December 19, 2011 in Uncategorized
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George Ainsworth
The late George Ainsworth was instrumental in the success of group purchasing operations at 10 state, regional and municipal hospital associations. As a leading executive during the 1960s and 1970s within Hospital Bureau Inc. (HBI), regarded as the nation’s first commercial GPO by its founding in 1911, Ainsworth helped coordinate buying power by ushering in such concepts as committed-volume contracting, one member-one vote philosophy and vendor administrative fee collection by GPOs.
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Charles Auslander
As a Midwestern hospital purchasing director in the late 1930s and early 1940s (Chicago’s Michael Reese Hospital), the late Charles Auslander was an early advocate of product standardization, due in large part to material conservation efforts during World War II. Auslander joined Joint Purchasing Corp. (JPC) as executive director in the mid-1940s and helped to build JPC as one of the forerunners of contemporary GPOs. During his three decades of service at JPC, Auslander developed one of the earliest group purchasing programs for laboratory products, and he was particularly skilled in dealing with CEOs, COOs and hospital department managers to consolidate purchasing volumes.
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Guy J. Clark
As a purchasing agent for the city of Cleveland in the early 1900s, the late Guy Clark was invited to join the two-year-old Cleveland Hospital Council as CHC’s first purchasing agent in 1918. Clark developed CHC’s cooperative purchasing service, which bridged relationships between the hospitals, vendors and central organization, serving as its first director. In 1926, Clark became CHC’s third executive director, a post he held for 29 years until his retirement in 1955. During his 37-year career at CHC, Clark never wavered from his purchasing roots, consistently pursuing cost-cutting initiatives and economic efficiency for the organization and its members, even during his 29 years of top leadership service.
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Gordon A. Friesen
Few have reached the late Gordon Friesen’s impact on hospital design and healthcare supply chain operations. An influential thought leader who recognized as far back as the mid-1930s that the rapidly expanding patchwork hospital incubated deeper operational confusion within its walls. Consequently, Friesen rallied for systematic planning and personalized patient care over an apparently unwieldy mass production approach and a growth of “little kingdoms.” In a career that spanned more than 50 years, Friesen envisioned, designed and implemented dozens of hospital projects that redefined and reorganized hospital operations, borrowing ideas from the airlines, hotels and manufacturing industries. Friesen promoted such concepts as each private patient room functioning as a well-equipped nursing station; nursing teams and zoned nursing strategies; the overhead monorail-driven Automatic Cart Transportation System (ACTS); exchange carts; automated washer-sterilizers; dedicated clean and soiled product traffic paths; management engineering and space planning standards; and centralized or regional shared services for food services, laundry and receiving and warehousing.
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Brien Laing
A distributor executive who helped initiate electronic data interchange and bar coding between providers and suppliers in the 1960s and 1970s, Brien Laing spent his entire 37-year career at American Hospital Supply Corp. and Baxter Healthcare Corp., interrupting his two-year retirement to return as a director and non-executive chairman of the board of Span-America Medical Systems for another 11 years. Laing helped to promote stockless purchasing and inventory management, as well as the exchange cart system, and marketed the popular exchange cart cover. Laing was one of the first to recognize vendors needed to educate the purchasing professional and would host numerous materials management seminars. He also was an early advocate of group purchasing and the distributor’s integral role. Laing was responsible for training dozens of young managers who would go on to become company CEOs. His mentoring and emphasis on effective management were legendary, contributing to the theatrical career launch of salesman-turned-actor McLean Stevenson, best known for playing Col. Henry Blake during the first three seasons of CBS-TV’s M*A*S*H in the early 1970s.
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Lillian R. Matiska
The late Lillian Matiska may have spent her entire supply chain career at the small community hospital she helped to found in 1959, but she left an indelible mark on the profession. Committed to the idea of Jeannette, PA, having its own hospital, Matiska worked to raise the initial funds to build Jeannette Memorial Hospital and became the first employee as director of purchasing and head of personnel. Matiska also rose to industry prominence and national stature as the second woman to serve as president of AHRMM in 1973, earning the association’s George Gossett Leadership Award, as well as the Ellis Karp Award from the Hospital Council of Western Pennsylvania. She routinely spoke about materials management topics in 28 states, and after her retirement Matiska organized the Association of Retired Employees at the hospital and created a hospital auxiliary to provide scholarships to medical students as an incentive to launch their practices locally.
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William M. McKnight Jr.
After working in hospitals for several years, enrolling in a pre-med college program and serving as a regional sales representative at American Hospital Supply Corp. until the late 1960s, Bill McKnight can be credited with inaugurating media coverage of supply chain management within the healthcare industry. Among his publishing accomplishments in the late 1960s and 1970s, McKnight launched a trade magazine for distributors (Medical Products Sales) and one for hospital materials managers (Hospital Purchasing News), the latter of which continues to publish as Healthcare Purchasing News. McKnight also created a trade show for providers and suppliers and an association of manufacturing and sales executives in the 1980s.
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Sara I. Mobley
Sara Mobley’s 41-year career in healthcare began in 1949 as a clerk-typist at one prominent Florida hospital and culminated in 1992 as vice president of materials management at another. During those five decades, Mobley rose through the ranks of materials management, successfully developing patient-focused cost savings programs even prior to prospective payment, honing her solid contract negotiation skills, becoming one of the first healthcare supply chain leaders to achieve membership in the American College of Healthcare Executives and serving as AHRMM president in 1983. As a leader in AHRMM, Mobley helped develop certification criteria and helped expand a number of state and local chapters, as well elevate the profession in executive circles. As a leader in hospitals, she mentored a number of professionals still active in supply chain management today.
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Paul B. Powell
With more than a decade of purchasing and operations experience in the airline industry in the 1960s and 1970s, Paul Powell became one of the first major proponents of implementing industrial procurement practices in healthcare organizations. As director of purchasing at United Air Lines and then vice president of operations for InFlight Services Inc., the firm responsible for broadcasting major films during flights, Powell oversaw the procurement, management and distribution of supplies, food, equipment and services, facilitated by computerization and keen negotiating skills. Joining American Medical Inc., which quickly was acquired by Humana Inc., in 1974 as senior vice president of material management, Powell helped make Humana a leader in contract terms and pricing, significantly pushing for product standardization throughout the entire Humana system and emphasizing collaboration between providers and suppliers. Powell also helped to pioneer electronic catalogs and computerized purchasing data management. His philosophies on supply data management and supplier relationships are common practice today.
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Samuel G. Raudenbush
Sam Raudenbush dedicated himself professionally to supply chain management, steadily rising through the ranks in purchasing to a senior-level support services position three decades later. Raudenbush was an early adopter of vendor partnerships between providers and suppliers and a pioneering leader in expanding materials management to a support services role responsible for such areas as biomedical engineering, maintenance, power plant, central service, patient transportation and operating room. He was one of the first hospital executives to plant a supply chain professional in the operating room in the 1980s to manage inventory and relationships with surgeons and nurses, as well as a proponent and implementer of exchange carts, OR replenishment systems and low-unit-of-measure distribution. Raudenbush also was a staunch supporter of electronic data interchange (EDI), serving as an early advocate of Johnson & Johnson Health Care System’s COACT program. Raudenbush was known for mentoring scores of supply chain professionals who went on to advance their careers, something he considers one of his proudest achievements. He served as AHRMM president in 1988, where he helped to fortify regional educational seminars, improve chapter recognition and institute Board-Elect positions for more effective policy continuity, earning the association’s George Gossett Leadership Award in 1990.
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Warren Rhodes
Warren Rhodes may have started his supply chain career as a purchasing agent at Evanston (IL) Hospital in 1960, but within four years he began his meteoric rise in group purchasing ranks by heading up shared services operations at another local hospital. By 1968, Rhodes was tapped by two Catholic health systems to head up their collective group purchasing effort, forming the multi-system GPO Mercy National Purchasing Inc. where he served as president for 34 years until his retirement. Rhodes expanded Mercy National in 1987 to manage the purchasing of non-Mercy-owned for-profit affiliates, a concept that the leading investor-owned hospital companies at the time had yet to explore. In addition, Rhodes helped to establish the first Catholic member group purchasing collaborative known as C+R+O+S+S in the 1990s, a national GPO that lasted for five years and inspired the creation of future GPOs Ascension and Consorta.
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James E. Stover
Jim Stover can best be characterized as the “Johnny Appleseed” of distribution innovation in that he helped to spread the process efficiencies and improvements he amassed during his more than 40-year career throughout the industry. In relentless pursuit of knowledge and innovation, Stover eagerly adopted leading-edge trends at his distribution company and cultivated such seeds within the industry as bar coding, computerization and product numbering systems. Stover contributed to the distribution industry through extensive association work as well, serving as executive director of HIDA in the 1980s and executive director of ABCO in the 1990s, now known as NDC.

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