Medical device manufacturing: how to manage supply chain disruptions

Manufacturing & Distribution

Last month, I wrote an article on how medical device manufacturing had a really good year. Medical device manufacturing has rebounded back from COVID-19 in 2021. This was reflected by the strong uptick in merger and acquisition (M&A) activities among outsourcing providers. According to GlobalData’s Medical Devices Deals Database, the total value of the deals in this field reached a record high of $1.6bn this year.  

The Manufacturer recently wrote an article on how the medical device manufacturing industry can manage supply chain issues. At Polestar, we are currently handling many deals in the healthcare space, so this article can provide some tips for our clients on how to focus on their supply chains.

Here are the important takeaways from the article:

  • Unlike other electronics manufacturers, medical device manufacturers have to navigate an abundance of red tape to ensure regulatory compliance. This means that if a component is in short supply, they cannot just replace it with something similar. Medical device components have to be approved with the initial design by the regulatory board for that jurisdiction. 
  • However, there are ways to decrease the impact of supply chain disruptions. Firstly, in the design phase for the medical device, the manufacturer should try to be as vague as possible on the specifications of the device components. This will make it easier to source spare components while still meeting the approved design requirements, meaning that the safety and efficiency of the final product will not be compromised. 
  • For manufacturers already past the design stage, the best way to combat the negative consequences of shortages is by keeping track of stock and increasing inventory whenever possible – if a popular component becomes available, buy as much as you can afford. Invest in Supply Chain Management (SCM) software can help track inventory, manage shipping and keep updated on which stocks are decreasing fastest.

For an industry that cannot replace their products instantly, it is important to manage supply chain expectations accordingly. Many of our clients are in the healthcare space so hopefully this blog post gave some new ideas on how to manage stock and supplies.

As we move into a post-COVID era, supply chains gradually start to adjust to the new normal. But it is never a bad idea to be prepared – you never know what can happen in the future. Hopefully, COVID’s supply chain issues will be a lesson learned in planning tomorrow!

At Polestar, an important sector that we cover is healthcare. If you would like more details in this space, or need help on growing your business, please reach out!

With the worry that COVID-19 could continue disrupting supply chains, manufacturers should take the time to implement a good obsolescence management plan

By Anusheh Khan on 10/03/2022