Best Practices to De-Risk the Medical Device Supply Chain
Although the raw material supply chain is generally recovering from pandemic-related disruptions, many manufacturers continue to build inventory to circumvent potential imbalances. Medical device-makers continue to purchase and manufacture materials ahead of actual orders. The problems we are dealing with now are more inverted. Instead of supply shortages, manufacturers have opted for an excess inventory of both raw materials and finished goods to feel secure.
This overcorrection is causing additional challenges, like covering increased material costs and finding storage for surplus stock. To achieve supply chain parity, we cannot forget the lessons we learned during the pandemic — namely that material surveillance, transparent collaboration and creativity are key to ensuring demand is met, but not exceeded. The following tips offer several opportunities for medical device manufacturers to build a more balanced, resilient supply chain.
1. Manage Materials Critical to Production
Make a list of essential production materials and the exact trade name of their resin chemistry. Once you have the list, make an appointment with your distribution partner to understand any risks to supply, such as discontinuation, plant shutdowns, natural disruptions (like hurricanes), single plant production, new resin to the market or force ma
P2. Use Globally Popular Raw Materials
opular materials have the highest demand and, therefore, the least risk of stocking out. Use common materials over specialty options to improve availability wherever possible.
3. Take Advantage of OEM Buy-Ahead Programs、OEMs can work directly with distributors to buy and store critical materials and devices through buy-ahead programs, which ensure materials are on-hand for as-needed distribution. Many customers depend on a specific branded medical device, and OEM buy-ahead programs help ensure these essential devices are available.
4. Dual Source Materials
Specify material alternatives you can use in a pinch and work with suppliers that stock primary and secondary options. If shipping logistics is the issue instead of material supply, partnering with a second or third distributor may be the answer. Sometimes all it takes is an alternate shipping method or network connection to circumvent delivery
5. Localize Materials & Manufacturing
Deglobalization is trending as manufacturers prioritize supply chain resilience over previously established efficiency. Source materials from where you operate and work with suppliers nearby. Bringing molding and manufacturing closer to home removes the likelihood of international shipping delays and gives you more insight into material availability.
6. Utilize Alternative Production Methods Like 3D Printing
The PPE and ventilator shortages during the pandemic put essential healthcare workers and patients in danger. But instead of buckling under pressure, the industry turned to 3D printing to produce these critical products. Additive manufacturing has proven capable of serving as a stopgap in the medical industry. Consider how you could use it to create fundamental components if traditional processes fail.
7. Find Partners Who Complement Your Business Model
Partnership and communication are vital to securing your supply chain. Work closely with your distribution team to keep a pulse on the market. Provide accurate forecasts and transparency into your needs to ensure timely supply and distribution. The right distributor can solve most supply chain problems by adding stocking locations for customers.
The state of the supply chain has undoubtedly improved since 2020. But the pandemic reminded us how vulnerable supply chains are to volatility and the far-reaching ramifications of supply chain failures. In the distribution and logistics sector, we expect the healthcare supply chain to be more generally reliable this year than in the recent past. Use this moment of calm to bolster supply chain resilience by adding a layer of communication with your supplier and building control into your processes. And, of course, continue to expect the unexpected.
Article Source: Medical Product Sourcing