The Premier hospital alliance has reached outside the ranks of health systems to fill two high-level positions at its San Diego headquarters.
Later this month, Herb Johnson will become executive vice president of supply chain management, and Michael Martin will become executive vice president of relationship management, the alliance said last week.
Both positions are new for Premier. The appointments signal initiatives by the 1,700-hospital group to better supply products to its members and simplify the sale of services to them.
Well-known in industry circles as a logistics expert, Johnson, 55, will be responsible for streamlining the flow of supplies to Premier facilities.
"I'm looking forward to bringing some of the innovation and efficiency that I've learned to eke out of the supply side of the business and (seeing) how it applies to healthcare," Johnson said.
Premier's approach to purchasing will continue on its present course, he said. His task is to focus on improving distribution and fulfillment. "Velocity is the name of the game in the supply chain," he explained. "You don't want products sitting around anywhere."
Johnson was senior vice president of logistics at CVS Corp., a Woonsocket, R.I.-based retail pharmacy chain. He is president-elect of the Council of Logistics Management, a professional organization for supply chain managers.
Logistics improvement is a top priority for Premier.
"We think this is where the future is, and that's how we will create value for our owners," said Richard Norling, chief executive officer of Premier. He said it was no accident that an outsider was tapped for the job. Healthcare providers, he explained, can learn a lot about supply practices from other industries.
To bring some order to the hodgepodge of Premier employees who have been independently selling everything from insurance to clinical equipment maintenance, Premier is hiring about 28 account executives to serve as the main contacts with the top brass at member health systems.
As executive vice president of relationship management, Martin will be responsible for consolidating and overseeing Premier's myriad sales activities. Premier said Martin had been general manager of General Electric Medical Systems' central Atlantic territory.