6 key inbound value chain considerations for medical device companies

Posted by Shane Partington, Clarkston Consulting

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There was a time when the inbound provide chain was seen as a back-end operation, when there was no excellent news. Right this moment, when provide chains are anticipated to ship actual worth to clients, there are some key issues for provide chain leaders when constructing their inbound capabilities.

Medical gadget firms have been notably exhausting hit through the pandemic because of outdated sourcing methods, inbound provide chains that over-index on value financial savings versus redundancy, suboptimal processes and programs, and knowledge visibility. Going ahead, Medtech provide chain leaders who study and develop their strategy will safe the proverbial “seat on the desk” for the long run as a important associate in creating tangible worth by means of provide chain methods.

Key inbound issues for medical gadget worth chains embrace sourcing methods that allow dependable provide and speedy innovation, sophistication in balancing value and threat, and agility and transparency in managing uncertainty that builds belief with clients.

1. Make versus purchase

Making “buy-to-buy” choices on the outset is important for medical gadget firms as a result of community reconfiguration takes a number of years and is value intensive. Relocating manufacturing of a single medical gadget or element includes important investments in testing, engineering, samples, and stock, and this doesn’t even account for the chance value of those sources except they’re deployed within the strategy of relocating manufacturing.

Lengthy-term issues, resembling core efficiencies, value, and manufacturing capabilities, are key inputs to creating a “buy-to-buy” resolution. Manufacturing utilization is important to managing value buildings inside medical gadget firms, notably in an trade with rising margin pressures. As well as, main firms place extra weight on elements resembling proximity to key markets, geopolitical dangers, and redundancy capabilities.

2. A number of sources

Many main medical gadget firms are taking a extra severe strategy to qualifying a number of provide sources for key merchandise. The drawback of the historic value of leverage misplaced because of quantity splitting is overcome by the benefit of securing a gradual provide within the occasion of a significant disruption. Twin sourcing comes at a excessive value, particularly for medical gadget firms which have important bills in tooling, validation, engineering, and provider administration. Nonetheless, the truth of large losses in income and market share because of rampant provide disruptions has prompted firms to reassess and be extra proactive in sourcing a number of merchandise and key parts. Consider income threat and impression of outage on the element degree and spend money on twin sourcing methods early within the product life cycle to mitigate enterprise threat for probably the most important components.

3. Companion choice

Choosing the proper provide companions requires evaluating a number of key elements, due to this fact, sturdy provider administration practices are necessary for attaining sustainable efficiency.1 Making certain that suppliers have strong qc in place and a compliant high quality administration system is paramount. Along with high quality, value, and repair, significant differentiating elements for provider choice choices ought to embrace course of and design experience, velocity to market of innovation, manufacturing switch effectivity, provide chain flexibility, and manufacturing footprint.

Skilled suppliers and powerful service in design and course of, mixed with value optimization and scaling processes, make for a profitable mixture. Medical gadget R&D groups desire close by provider companions and possess design competence, hands-on expertise, and speedy prototyping capabilities. Not solely do these elements allow speedy turnaround of design ideas, however in addition they assist collaboratively troubleshoot points, remedy technical points, and enhance designs. These are invaluable provider capabilities that medical gadget provide chain leaders should prioritize in sourcing choices, particularly when they’re managing a high-tech portfolio with quick product life cycles that require speedy innovation cycles.

4. Abroad Switch vs. Abroad Switch

Within the late Nineteen Nineties, there was a mass pattern in medical gadget firms to maneuver massive manufacturing scale to low-cost nations resembling China. Shut sourcing has emerged as a extra fascinating choice as medical gadget firms understand the hidden prices related to offshoring. Nearshoring permits firms to reap the benefits of low-cost geographies whereas lowering transportation prices, transportation prices, and the hidden and delicate prices of managing provide networks throughout a number of time zones.

Finally, the important thing elements of the industrial market, required manufacturing processes, volumes, and bodily versus labor content material in merchandise all have to be taken under consideration in out, semi, and in methods. For instance, if labor content material makes up a small proportion of the price of a product due to extremely automated processes, the financial savings from balancing labor in overseas markets towards the comfort of home manufacturing turns into undisguised.

5. Planning and stock

Rigorous Gross sales and Operations (S&OP) planning is important to making sure alignment throughout the group, from gross sales and advertising and marketing to the availability community. Ahead-looking provide and demand plans, constraints and threat administration, and stock methods are important parts of a robust and dependable inbound provide chain. Via the cadence of disciplined and built-in month-to-month planning, you’ll achieve key insights by assessing assumptions and gaps that allow rolling plan optimization in addition to direct stock investments and positioning methods to mitigate uncertainty. The aim is to allow most income whereas managing prices sustainably. Robust S&OP operations require cross-functional management engagement and a dedication to bringing intelligence and perception to the operation, collaborating on problem-solving options and situations, and finally unifying below an agreed working plan with shared accountability.

6. Sensing threat and responding

Predicting the long run and anticipating each state of affairs is sadly not doable, which is why medical gadget firms that spend money on threat sensing and response capabilities will likely be higher geared up to get well rapidly from surprising occasions. Doing this effectively requires devoted sources, know-how platforms with refined analytics, and exterior enter.

Healthcare programs provide chains have gotten extra superior in threat administration and count on extra from medical gadget suppliers, together with knowledge and threat transparency, proactive communication and partnership in occasion and disaster administration, and threat planning. Some medical gadget firms are profiting from this chance to collaborate with provide chain leaders for his or her clients as a premium service. Additionally they maintain their suppliers accountable for a similar degree of proactive communication, knowledge transparency, and threat administration practices.


Well being care programs and their suppliers have struggled through the pandemic, usually wanting important provides and merchandise wanted to look after the sick. Provide chain and procurement leaders expanded value, high quality and know-how focus to incorporate evaluation of provide flexibility, threat mitigation capabilities, and knowledge transparency in medical gadget suppliers. Whereas not beforehand a severe consideration within the buy resolution, these inbound worth chain elements are compelling differentiators for medical gadget firms competing for enterprise throughout the hospital and healthcare system.


  1. Erickson, S.; & Partington, S. (2022, September 9). Provider Administration Greatest Practices: The Coronary heart of the Provide Chain. https://clarkstonconsulting.com/insights/supplier-management-best-practices/

Concerning the creator:

Shane Partington is a Director in Administration and Operations Technique at Clarkston Consulting. She has over 20 years of trade expertise, with experience in Operations, Provide Chain, Provide Chain, Procurement, Built-in Enterprise Planning, Organizational Change Administration and Expertise Administration. She has expertise designing transformation methods and main large-scale initiatives.

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