When it comes to gaining a grip on the intricate but vital business of having the right materials in the right places at the right times -- and doing it all cost effectively -- few would dispute that hospitals and health systems, despite significant strides, still have work to do. Recognizing the potential for healthcare executives to absorb lessons from other fields and apply them within their own organizations, the ACHE Fund for Innovation in Healthcare Leadership focused on supply chain management as the first topic in its series "Innovations: Lessons from the Leading Edge." Healthcare manufacturers, distributors, group purchasing organizations and hospitals largely operate independently of one another. The industry lacks the infrastructure to send those demand signals, with the exception of automated point-of-use, vendor managed inventory systems, which efficiently transmit demand signals throughout the supply chain. In the future, hospitals will use systems such as bedside scanners to increase accuracy, respond to demand and lower costs, said John Menna of UPS Healthcare Logistics.