3 Ways Metal Fabricators Can Serve the Medical Device Industry
By Aimee Sukol, JD/MA/MS Ed.
The medical device industry is critical and as we’ve seen with COVID-19, disruptions in the supply chain make it more difficult for medical providers to meet urgent needs. While medical device manufacturers adhere to their best practices in ensuring a stable supply of medical equipment, their supply chain must also abide by best practices that support medical device customers. So what are key best practices metal fabricators can follow to serve medical device manufacturers?
Pay attention to changes in healthcare and medical conditions that impact medical device customers.
Staying on top of industry changes may be challenging as a metal fabricator focuses on filling existing orders; however, medical suppliers’ urgent needs to meet public demand means they will not think twice about switching suppliers to those that can deliver. Hence, preparation through information is the first step to building capacity for unusual demand.
Possess a sense of urgency & manage communication.
Unlike other end products, medical devices are critical to fundamental health and human life. That sense of urgency in a highly regulatory field requires special attention to quality under strict time constraints. There is little time to send orders back that fail standards, which is also why metal fabricators must communicate with medical device customers as new information is available about whether they anticipate changes to their orders.
Manage relationships & communication with back up raw materials suppliers.
When medical device customers have an unusually high demand, metal fabricators must be able to source materials quickly and can’t afford to wait when their supply chain is running slow. In these times, metal fabricators must be able to call upon a back up supplier that can handle larger or more urgent orders.
Whether medical device customers are primary/large accounts or small, their needs are unique. They operate in a highly regulatory environment that requires uniform quality, and they may be called to produce significantly more units under urgent circumstances. The nature of their industry requires a supply chain that is able to meet these needs.
In short, informed, prepared, and resourceful metal fabricators will be choice suppliers for a strong industry like medical device manufacturers.
For more information about strengthening the medical device supply chain, see: McKinsey & Company, The Resilience Imperative for Medtech Supply Chains.