Bellwether League, Inc.Robert Bross Majors (1943-2007)

Robert Bross Majors, 1943-2007

Advancing the Profession/Industry Influence – Bellwethers challenge the norms, push the envelope and raise the bar. Examples include serving as a mentor either within his or her individual organization or on a national, regional or local level outside of his or her individual organization; producing and presenting internal training sessions for the C-suite and/or clinicians and physicians on supply chain management; pioneering new concepts and ideas that may become reality; influencing those up and down the corporate hierarchy on the benefits of and promotion of optimal and sound supply chain management principles and techniques.

Robert (Bob) Majors was very active in the advisory councils of University Health System Consortium, VHA and Novation, as well as in the Association for Healthcare Resource and Materials Management and in the Indiana Hospital Purchasing & Materials Management Association, where he held leadership roles – most notably the office of president.

Majors was an early and avid supporter of electronic commerce, whether it was Internet-based, or involved electronic data interchange, bar coding or radiofrequency identification (RFID), and an expert in healthcare systems automation. He also was a staunch advocate of group purchasing and its inherent value to supply chain management, even when it wasn’t fashionable, during the variety of federal investigations into the industry’s alleged anticompetitive practices. He faithfully participated in a number of nationalcommittees and task forces, specializing in the areas of his expertise.

Because of his industry knowledge and experience, Majors frequently was consulted during the development of new healthcare products and technologies, new processes and ways to ensure successful relationships between buyers and sellers.

Work Experience – Minimum 25 years of service within the healthcare supply chain (including a hospital or non-acute care facility, manufacturer, distributor, GPO, consulting or service company, university or news publication).

Robert (Bob) Majors, MBA, CMRP, FAHRMM, had been director of materials management at the 300-bed Bloomington Hospital since 1999. Previously, he spent 22 years as director of materials management at Wishard Memorial Hospital, which is part of the Indiana University School of Medicine.

Although he spent nearly three decades in his materials management career at two different hospitals, his 10 years of sales experience with American Hospital Supply Corporation, Sorensen and Baxter Laboratories also helped him develop a keen understanding of the buyer-seller relationship and how it fits in supply chain management.

Work Performance – Specific accomplishments and achievements in their respective organizations, including relationships with executives, clinicians, physicians and staff, quality management, expense management measures, committee involvement and management leadership.

Bob Majors worked tirelessly in an effort to have supply chain management more recognized by the C-suites in hospitals (or the Os, as he referred to them). He worked for seamless relationships with every department in the hospital setting in order to drive the best results for all, especially the patient. Majors served on numerous committees at both Wishard and Bloomington Hospitals. He always seemed to be appointed chairman of whatever committee he was involved because everyone knew he would stimulate activity and reach the goal. Majors also managed to make the meetings interesting as well as productive.

Professional Activities – Minimum 10 years of active association participation (e.g., office holder, committee chair or contributor, organizing and running meetings, mentoring others) on the national, regional and local level; performed a minimum of 5 speaking engagements (national, regional, local, facility) and published at least 5 times (including writing an article or being interviewed by the trade media) during career. 

Bob Majors would speak at the drop of a hat anywhere to anyone, be it an audience of 1 or 200, to promote our profession. He spoke frequently at AHRMM and GPO meetings and supply chain seminars.

He was noted by all as the best of mentors, taking whatever time it took to respond to a question from someone new to the industry. He might be asked a quick question, but if the asker was interested and willing, Bob would provide them a full lesson in whatever the topic was.

He was continually in touch with the various trade magazines providing them articles to explain things or to prompt new thoughts or ideas. “After all,” he would say, “we’ve got to get the word out!”

In His Wife Jean Majors' Words…

What do you think about Bellwether League Inc.’s mission and philosophy and how do you feel about becoming an Honoree?

Bob would have been in total agreement with the mission and philosophy of Bellwether League. He was a “wordsmith” and would have loved the word bellwether and its definition. Needless to say, Bob Majors would be gratefully pleased to be an Honoree, as is his family.

What attracted and motivated you to join the healthcare supply chain management field when you did?

After Bob completed his MBA at Indiana University, he joined the sales force of American Hospital Supply Corporation. He continued in sales for 5-6 years and during this time was exposed to the “other side of the desk.” He felt his energies and innovations could be better applied in the healthcare supply chain management field.

For what one contribution would you like to be most remembered? 

While director of materials management at Bloomington Hospital in Bloomington, Indiana, Bob was very pleased to have initiated e-commerce. His hospital was one of four hospitals across the country to be the first to use this technology.

If you were to encourage people – either outside of healthcare or just out of school – to enter the supply chain management field and potentially qualify to be a future Bellwether League Inc. Honoree, what would you tell them?

I think Bob would encourage those interested in entering the supply chain management field to do their homework. They should read as much as possible about the present technologies and realize the impact their active involvement in local, state and national organization can have in this profession.

What is the one industry challenge you would like to see solved in your lifetime?

This is a very difficult question for me to answer as Bob would. He talked frequently about concerns in his industry. I can report that he was pleased with all the progress being made and that he was very happy to commit his time to this process.

How important is effective and innovative supply chain management during tough economic times?

Bob experienced some though economic times during several of his assignments, both at Wishard and Bloomington Hospitals. He was always worried about being able to meet expectations, both his own and the hospitals’. Sometimes, I think that Bob’s own expectations were more intense than those of his employer.