The level of medical device outsourcing
is still low compared to other industries
such as pharmaceutical, automotive and
electronics due to the late entry of the
medical device industry to the outsourcing market, as well as concerns about
quality and regulatory compliance.
to result in faster market entry for these opportunities.
Connor: Most CMs specialize in one particular type of
manufacturing—such as stamping, machining, or plastic
injection molding—and each has a particular set of capabilities. The dialog between many CMs and customers is
centered around how the customer should modify the design to fit the capabilities of the CM. There are elements of
value-enhancing design for manufacturability but, in many
cases, the goal of the supplier is to make sure the design is
something that they can manufacture. We have had great
success by approaching customers with a question they are
not used to hearing from their CMs: “What patient outcome are you trying to achieve?” If necessary, we will then
invent a process or technology that delivers the necessary
manufacturing capabilities to enable that outcome. In other
words, we try to change the process to facilitate the design,
not the other way around. This approach is highly valued by
our customers who are challenged with designing products
that improve patient outcomes at ever-lower costs.
Cameron: Suppliers are looking for additional services from
the current supply base. The first place medical device companies look for a supplier is on their current approved supplier list.
There is a benefit to the medical device company to leverage
purchases with the current base and limit their supply chain
complexity. We have seen increased interest in secondary operations, assembly and even finished packaging from a fabricator.
Reed: Popular services include design assistance, design
for manufacturablity (DFM), product life cycle management
and inventory management programs. Customers embrace
these services, as they are designed to control quality and
costs from the start, while also ensuring a path to ensure
long-term objectives are met.