The Bellwether League has just announced 13 supply chain pioneers that have entered their “Hall of Fame” this month. You might not know all of these honorees whom I have listed below who are the recipients of Bellwether’s 2009 awards but I thought I would talk about one recipient who has impacted my career forever… Gordon A. Frieson.
The Honoree Class of 2009 includes George Ainsworth, Charles Auslander, Guy J. Clark, Gordon A. Friesen, Lillian R. Matiska, Brien Laing, William M. McKnight Jr., Sara I. Mobley, Paul B. Powell, Samuel G. Raudenbush, Warren Rhodes and James E. Stover. These 12 were chosen for their intellectual and operational contributions to healthcare through their achievements in hospitals, group purchasing organizations (GPOs), manufacturers and distributors, consulting firms, educational institutions and media properties
When I was a young MM I was hired as Director of Materials Management for a community hospital that was building a new hospital based on the design concepts of Gordon A. Frieson. It was my job to operationalize the Frieson supply chain concepts (nurse servers, exchange carts, supply technicians on nursing floors, SPD, case carts, etc.) into our new building program. The only problem was I had never heard of Gordon Frieson and was only tangentially familiar with his supply chain concepts.
Fast forward one year! After a year of researching “The Frieson Way” of doing things (reading articles, visiting other Frieson hospitals and good old trial and error), my staff and I put in place all of Frieson concepts into a integral supply chain operational plan, which we then implemented over a six-month period. The lesson I learned from this exercise was that if you systematic plan for any project you can be successful even if at the starting point you know little or nothing about the subject matter at hand.
The second thing that I learned from this experience was that if you borrow the best ideas, as Frieson did, from other industries such as airlines, hotels and manufacturing, you can greatly improve your efficiency and effectiveness by “stealing from the best with pride” as Tom Peters used to say.
Lastly, I learned that by adopting the best practices from the disciplines of management engineering, space planning and logistics into my new Frieson supply chain model, that I could dramatically reduce my hospital’s nursing cost by transferring all non-nursing duties to supply chain management.
And that’s not all! This big and challenging learning experience set me on a career path to incorporate “The Frieson Way” of doing things at every hospital, system and IDN where I was employed going forward with great success.
So as you can see, this pioneer in supply chain logistics rightly deserves to be in the Bellwether League’s Hall of Fame because in my opinion he changed the face of supply chain management for all that followed him into this important and rewarding work.