The Emergence of Consolidated Service Centers in Health Care

Yousef Abdulsalam, Mohan Gopalakrishnan, Arnold Maltz, Eugene Schneller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Hospital supply chains can be conceptualized as complex systems with a large number of players and a high degree of interrelatedness among them, creating an environment that is difficult to optimize and manage. In recent years, a consolidated service center (CSC) strategy (sometimes also referred to as “self-distribution” strategy), has emerged in some healthcare systems, showing a strong potential for reducing the complexity in a hospital's supply chain to achieve high levels of performance and innovation. We examine three CSCs using a qualitative case method to understand the unique characteristics of this supply chain strategy, and how CSCs move hospital supply chains toward a less complex state. We find that CSCs demonstrate characteristics that distinguish them from other supply chain strategies. These characteristics enable the CSC to orchestrate supply base rationalization and disintermediation initiatives in the hospital's supply chain to effectively reduce the number of components and interrelatedness in this complex system.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)321-334
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Business Logistics
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2015


  • complexity
  • consolidated service centers
  • health care
  • self-distribution
  • supply chain strategy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business, Management and Accounting (miscellaneous)
  • Management Science and Operations Research


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