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Driving Domestic Gloves Production: Andy Brailo with Henry Ford Health System

Bill Moir, Senior Vice President of Supply Chain at Henry Ford Health System joins Premier’s Chief Customer Officer, Andy Brailo, for an episode of 3Q, diving into the new collaboration with Honeywell and what supply chain resilience means for the future.

Andy: We’re currently seeing increased COVID-19 hospitalizations in regions across the country. If there is a positive, we know that personal protective equipment (PPE) is in far better shape than we were during the first wave of the pandemic. But the experience reinforced the fragility of the supply chain and the risks of overreliance on foreign manufacturers.

Premier recently announced a new collaboration with Honeywell to expand nitrile exam glove production here in the U.S., and together with our members ─ we’re changing the way we source critical products.

Andy: Why was it important for Henry Ford Health System to join this new collaboration on domestic gloves production?

Bill: Our objectives in the healthcare supply chain are around sourcing quality products and at the best cost possible. When I look at what we’ve learned from the pandemic, and what we’re seeking to do with Premier, is how do we access vital products and really look at the resiliency of the supply chain.

By partnering with Premier, and more than 80 other providers across the country, to bring some of that domestic manufacturing back – that’s certainly a step in the right direction to build that resiliency and rethink how we operate on a day-to-day basis.

Andy: We certainly appreciate the collaboration of all our members who have come together and who share in this strong commitment to solve these challenges.

Andy: We know that this Buy-American strategy isn’t limited to just this project. Can you talk about the other Premier programs in which Henry Ford Health System is participating with Premier?

Bill: Very early on in the pandemic:

  • We partnered with Premier and 14 other providers and invested in N95 manufacturing domestically as well as exam masks ─ critical PPE products top of mind early on during COVID-19.
  • We also invested in the joint venture on isolation gowns.
  • Both programs are domestic, and I’d also like to call out that our partnership with Prestige Ameritech – they are a diverse supplier, which is doubly exciting for HFHS and how we look to source in diverse communities.

When I think about domestic manufacturing, I almost think of it as my personal investment portfolio. You don’t want to put all your eggs in one basket. And in terms of where we need to go as an industry long-term, domestic manufacturing not only helps create jobs – but also builds that resiliency.

By extension, this gives peace of mind to my nurses and my doctors, keeping them safe as well as my community safe. It’s certainly peace of mind having those resources right around the corner from us in Detroit.

Andy: The pandemic really did highlight our risks of overreliance on international sources for critical goods. Our belief is that a successful strategy has to be diverse and it has to be domestic.

Premier’s philosophy is not to pick up all overseas manufacturing onshore or nearshore, but to have an appropriate amount of backstop.

Andy: Given the lessons learned during COVID-19, how is Henry Ford Health System approaching its supply chain in 2021 and beyond?

Bill: Supply chain is no longer solely thought of as those “people who bring you things” anymore. Most organizations, including HFHS, are considering supply chain a strategic differentiator. COVID-19 has elevated the visibility of supply chain across multiple industries, including healthcare.

The focus for the HFHS supply chain is multi-pronged:

  • How do we create and enhance value? Sourcing quality products at the right cost is table stakes for us. So now we’re focused on how we innovate and add more value across our supply chain.
  • We’re also looking at advanced analytics and technologies to enable our business owners to better inform the organization on how best to do business.
  • Another big area for us is supplier diversity – who we’re doing business with and how we enhance and support our local communities. We really need to look at those historically marginalized communities and how we inject wealth in those communities. This is a big part of our strategy at HFHS.

What we’ve found is that including diverse suppliers as part of our process increases value and has created opportunities for us to reduce costs and enhance service levels.

Andy: Bill – from the moment you got to HFHS, you’ve been unwavering in both your vision and personal commitment to diversity. We applaud all of the work you are doing - and how you are challenging all of us to think about diversity in our strategies.

Andy: A fun bonus question to close us out – what’s on your current playlist?

Bill: We talked about diversity, and I have a very diverse playlist. Everything from Johnny Cash to rap to rock.

I like to listen to a little bit of everything, depending on my mood. And when I think about music, fun is the objective. And it’s nice to listen to music on your car ride home – if you’re not on conference calls!

Andy: The actions of HFHS and all of our members allows us to take another step forward in protecting healthcare providers from shortages and driving supply chain innovation.

Bill: We will continue to strive to create those diverse channels and support both our communities and the United States. We’re excited about that, and thank you for your efforts.

Follow Andy on LinkedIn and check out the hashtag #3Qvideo for more of his insights and interviews on hot topics across healthcare.

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