60 seconds with Sean O’Neill, St. Onge
Sean O’Neill, St. Onge
Title: Vice president
Location: York, Pa.
Experience: 22 years in the supply chain management industry
Primary Focus: Bringing materials handling optimization to the life sciences and healthcare industries
Modern: What is St. Onge doing in the health care supply chain and what brought it about?
O’Neill: We’ve been working in the health care supply chain for at least the last 20 years. The focus on hospitals, or getting close to the point of care, has happened in the last 10 years.
Modern: Is the health care supply chain now extending into the hospital?
O’Neill: Yes, and it represents an evolution in thinking. Hospitals and health networks used to outsource the activity associated with getting materials and supplies into the hospital. Now, some hospitals are stepping back and asking questions like: “Is there something we can do independent of the distributor?”
So, you’re seeing things like automatic guided vehicles moving supplies into the hospital and bringing laundry or food trays back down to the warehouse. Think of it as hospital logistics. There’s a daisy chain reaction to the patient care—it’s an incredibly difficult problem and a lot of people are in the same boat. It’s a neat problem, and a challenging one.
Modern: Is there now a continuum that begins at the manufacturing plant and extends all the way to the patient?
O’Neill: It’s heading in that direction. You can think of each of those systems separately. But at the end of the day, what counts is the last 100 yards to get the product to the customer. In this case, the customer here is the clinician, the nurse, and the patient in the bed. We’re trying to create visibility across the continuum. It’s a never-ending battle.
Modern: What’s driving that trend?
O’Neill: It’s all about the delivery of care. You don’t want a clinician or a nurse doing logistics functions like retrieving supplies. That’s a non-value added job that they shouldn’t have to handle. Instead, you’re creating an infrastructure that allows a nurse or clinician to focus on their jobs. That’s taking stress off of the experts.