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. At this time, when provide chains are anticipated to ship actual worth to prospects, there are some key concerns for provide chain leaders when constructing their inbound capabilities.

Medical machine firms have been notably onerous hit throughout the pandemic on account of outdated sourcing methods, inbound provide chains that over-index on price financial savings versus redundancy, suboptimal processes and methods, and information 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 essential companion in creating tangible worth via provide chain methods.

Key inbound concerns for medical machine worth chains embody sourcing methods that allow dependable provide and fast innovation, sophistication in balancing price and danger, and agility and transparency in managing uncertainty that builds belief with prospects.

1. Make versus purchase

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

Lengthy-term concerns, akin to core efficiencies, price, and manufacturing capabilities, are key inputs to creating a “buy-to-buy” determination. Manufacturing utilization is essential to managing price buildings inside medical machine firms, notably in an business with growing margin pressures. As well as, main firms place extra weight on elements akin to proximity to key markets, geopolitical dangers, and redundancy capabilities.

2. A number of sources

Many main medical machine firms are taking a extra critical strategy to qualifying a number of provide sources for key merchandise. The drawback of the historic price of leverage misplaced on account of quantity splitting is overcome by the benefit of securing a gradual provide within the occasion of a serious disruption. Twin sourcing comes at a excessive price, particularly for medical machine firms which have vital bills in tooling, validation, engineering, and provider administration. Nonetheless, the fact of large losses in income and market share on account of rampant provide disruptions has prompted firms to reassess and be extra proactive in sourcing a number of merchandise and key parts. Consider income danger and impression of outage on the element stage and put money into twin sourcing methods early within the product life cycle to mitigate enterprise danger for probably the most essential components.

3. Companion choice

Deciding on the best provide companions requires evaluating a number of key elements, subsequently, sturdy provider administration practices are essential for attaining sustainable efficiency.1 Guaranteeing that suppliers have strong quality control in place and a compliant high quality administration system is paramount. Along with high quality, price, and repair, significant differentiating elements for provider choice choices ought to embody course of and design experience, velocity to market of innovation, manufacturing switch effectivity, provide chain flexibility, and manufacturing footprint.

Skilled suppliers and robust service in design and course of, mixed with price optimization and scaling processes, make for a profitable mixture. Medical machine R&D groups want close by provider companions and possess design competence, hands-on expertise, and fast prototyping capabilities. Not solely do these elements allow fast 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 machine provide chain leaders should prioritize in sourcing choices, particularly when they’re managing a high-tech portfolio with quick product life cycles that require fast innovation cycles.

4. Abroad Switch vs. Abroad Switch

Within the late Nineteen Nineties, there was a mass pattern in medical machine firms to maneuver giant manufacturing scale to low-cost international locations akin to China. Shut sourcing has emerged as a extra fascinating choice as medical machine firms understand the hidden prices related to offshoring. Nearshoring permits firms to benefit from low-cost geographies whereas decreasing transportation prices, transportation prices, and the hidden and tender prices of managing provide networks throughout a number of time zones.

Finally, the important thing elements of the business market, required manufacturing processes, volumes, and bodily versus labor content material in merchandise all have to be taken into 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 international markets towards the comfort of home manufacturing turns into undisguised.

5. Planning and stock

Rigorous Gross sales and Operations (S&OP) planning is essential to making sure alignment throughout the group, from gross sales and advertising to the availability community. Ahead-looking provide and demand plans, constraints and danger administration, and stock methods are essential parts of a powerful and dependable inbound provide chain. Via the cadence of disciplined and built-in month-to-month planning, you’ll acquire 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 objective is to allow most income whereas managing prices sustainably. Sturdy 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 eventualities, and finally unifying below an agreed working plan with shared accountability.

6. Sensing danger and responding

Predicting the long run and anticipating each situation is sadly not doable, which is why medical machine firms that put money into danger sensing and response capabilities will likely be higher outfitted to get better shortly from surprising occasions. Doing this properly requires devoted sources, expertise platforms with subtle analytics, and exterior enter.

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


Well being care methods and their suppliers have struggled throughout the pandemic, usually in need of very important provides and merchandise wanted to look after the sick. Provide chain and procurement leaders expanded price, high quality and expertise focus to incorporate evaluation of provide flexibility, danger mitigation capabilities, and information transparency in medical machine suppliers. Whereas not beforehand a critical consideration within the buy determination, these inbound worth chain elements are compelling differentiators for medical machine 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 business 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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