Being Prepared is Good Business: The American Red Cross

Monday’s Keynote Address Luncheon was the place to be on this overcast Baltimore afternoon! The halls were packed to capacity with Conference attendees, who enjoyed a delicious lunch as the Chair of the ISM Board of Directors, Sidney Johnson, took the stage to welcome everyone and, especially, congratulate the student recipients of the 2012 R. Gene Richter Scholarship Awards and the four winners of the ISM and Michigan State University Awards for Excellence in Supply Management:

The American Red Cross: Organization/Structure Category

Cisco Systems, Inc.: Process Category

IBM Corporation: Technology Category

T-Mobile USA, Inc: Sustainability Category

(For a detailed look at each of these award winners, see the April 2012 issue of Inside Supply Management magazine.)

Mr. Johnson then introduced the keynote speaker– the president and CEO of one of the Award-winning companies, The American Red Cross, Gail J. McGovern.

McGovern shared her empassionated viewpoint of the work the ARC does each and every day. “When I want to restore my faith in humanity, I visit one of our blood donation centers and hear some of the stories of why people donate blood,” she said. (Over 9 million blood products are shipped each year by the ARC, representing 40 percent of the U.S. blood supply.)

When McGovern joined the organization in 2008, the non-profit had a deficit of US$209 million, a high amount of debt and procurement was done separately at hundreds of chapters around the country. There was ample room for improvement. Chief Procurement Officer Jill Bossi headed up a new centralized procurement department, and by 2012, over $31 million in savings was realized and inventory had been restructured to best prepare for disasters, wherever they might occur.

The ARC has also launched the Ready Rating Program, according to McGovern. This web-based program offers companies an opportunity to get a comprehensive analysis of its own disaster-preparedness. Participating companies also get customized feedback and a scorecard to help them maximize their risk management plans. “We’re getting very positive ratings from customers, many of whom have improved their preparedness scores by 57% (average) in one year,” said McGovern.

For more information on the no-cost Ready Rating program, visit



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