Published on July 25, 2019

Shumpert Retires with 44+ Combined Years of Service

David Shumpert

David Shumpert retired in June as NMMC’s Supply Chain director after 44 years of combined service.

David Shumpert, North Mississippi Medical Center’s Supply Chain director, retired June 28 after more than 44 years of combined service.

Shumpert joined the NMMC staff as a stock boy in Central Supply in May 1974, just days after graduation from Nettleton High School. “At the time, we were a 300-bed hospital,” Shumpert said. “Our department was located at the back of the hospital and we stocked all supplies for all areas—crash carts, pacemakers, everything.”

After six months he left to pursue his dream of becoming a riverboat pilot. He went through the training program in Helena, Ark., and set out as a deckhand on his first voyage. “We left from Greenville and went up the river to Paducah, Kentucky,” he said. “It started snowing and it was so cold. I only worked about two weeks and decided that wasn’t for me.”

He rejoined NMMC Central Supply as a stock boy in March 1975. He left in August 1976 to pursue an engineering degree at the University of Mississippi in Oxford. By November, he decided engineering was not for him either, and he came back to NMMC Central Supply as a clerk.

In 1980, NMMC Central Supply divided into two separate departments—Central Sterile Processing handled sterile supplies, while Supply, Processing and Distribution (SPD) took care of disposable items. Shumpert was named SPD supervisor then and was promoted to director in 1985.

“We handled the warehouse and the courier service,” he said. “Of course, we were only delivering linen to Baldwyn Nursing Facility and making a few stops in town then. We only had two courier vans.”

As community hospitals and medical clinics were added to the organization in the 1980s, the need for supplies and couriers grew as well. In 1988 the warehouse was moved to the new Service Center located on Green Street, which shared space with Laundry and Food and Nutrition’s central kitchen.

“Back then we did everything by stubby pencils—everything was manual,” Shumpert said. “The prime deliveries from our main supplier came at night, so we had a night shift. They counted everything by hand so then Purchasing could generate purchase orders for another load.” In 1994 NMMC began using AMS, an automated inventory system.

“By 2006 we had run out of space at the Service Center, and we started looking for a new space and a better system,” Shumpert said. The new Logistics Center on Weaver Avenue off South Green Street opened in 2007, enlarging the square footage from 10,000 square feet to 30,000 square feet and raising the ceiling height by around 10 feet.

At the same time, Tecsys replaced AMS for inventory control because it could interface with PeopleSoft, the purchasing system. “Tecsys helps us rotate stock so that we always use supplies ‘first in, first out,’ meaning that the items with the closest expiration date get used first.”

Today the Logistics Center employs around 70 employees on one shift five days each week. SPD located at the main hospital operates 24 hours daily. The courier service now includes 20 trucks that log almost 300,000 miles throughout north Mississippi and northwest Alabama every year.

While Shumpert’s career wasn’t his first—or even second—choice right out of high school, it has certainly been rewarding. “I’ll miss the daily challenges, because it was something different every day,” he said. “I will miss working with a team to accomplish something bigger than myself.”

His career also benefited his personal life—he met his late wife, Sherry, when she was working as an LPN on 2 South. “Her unit was right across from our storeroom,” he said. “I saw her pushing a medication cart one day and thought, ‘I could date her.’ Eight weeks later we were married.” They were married for 39 years before Sherry passed away in June.

The Shumperts relocated from Aberdeen to Selmer, Tenn., last year to be closer to their daughter Kim Smith, her husband Justin and their grandchildren—Waverly, 8, and Alena, 2, in Lagrange, Tenn. Their son, James Shumpert, is a state forester in Wiggins.

Now that he’s retired, Shumpert looks forward to having more time for his hobbies—woodworking and collecting coins. Perhaps he will even be able to hunt and fish like he once did.

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