Medical Device Manufacturer Discusses the Importance of Supply Chain Agility
January 06, 2022 at 17:40
Aaron Swanson, President of Pro-Tech Design & Manufacturing, Inc., says he realizes that the supply chain has become a sensitive topic lately. It’s not a subject that most people typically pay much attention to - that is until things aren’t working smoothly. He added that in the medical device contract manufacturing industry, they have felt the shortages very acutely. That’s because they assemble and package many different types of medical devices. As such, the company is part of complex, global supply chains involving many suppliers and customers. Pro-Tech Design & Manufacturing, Inc. is based in Los Angeles, CA, a place where approximately 40% of all goods that are shipped by boat to the United States come through the local ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. The company president said that from the right vantage point, one can actually see the long traffic jam of huge container ships carrying everything from medical devices to toys to electronics. It’s like the 405 freeway at rush hour but out in the ocean. He stated that against that background, he wanted to share some of the activities and strategies that they have been pursuing to adjust to this new environment. The company takes great pride in being flexible and they will continue to work hard to satisfy their customers’ needs by adapting to changing conditions.
Swanson pointed out, “One of the actions that we took several months ago was to anticipate that the situation was going to get worse before it got better. As a result, we increased our safety stock on all raw materials. This runs the gamut of pouches to trays to foam to adhesives. You’d be surprised how many different materials go into the packaging and protection of medical devices. The number of individual components is in the hundreds and a shortage of any one of these has the potential to majorly disrupt customer shipments. Early ordering to increase our component inventory has given us a buffer against the long lead times the industry is currently seeing and has protected us from significant downtime.” The company president went on to state that the tradeoff for the actions they have taken is that it has increased their inventory carrying costs. However, they feel that it’s more important to protect their medical device supply lines and deliver for customers. It adheres to one of their guiding principles to put the customer first as they have made decisions related to the supply chain.
Another critical action has been consistent, transparent communication with their clients. For months now, they have been informing them about the medical device supply chain challenges, providing visibility to the situation, and working with them to best handle each situation. Swanson says that in many cases, they are experiencing this themselves. Most of their biggest medical device supply challenges are from their clients not being able to send them their medical devices or the unassembled components because they can’t get them on time. He mentioned that their strategy has been to communicate any potential supply chain disruptions early and often and to highlight any potential delays to the ship date. They have also provided their clients with 24/7 access to their online portal that tracks their projects in real-time. This is done so they can see where the company is at throughout the production process. This feature is explained in more detail on the company website which can be found at https://protechdesign.com/.
The company president said, “Another area of focus has been to re-set expectations both internally and externally. As part of our communications outreach, we have been counseling everyone to rethink timelines and conventional decision-making. The new normal demands that we move up key milestones to adjust to longer shipping times and component shortages so that we can build that extended time in, rather than sit still and expect the environment to change. Instead, we’ve pushed our internal team and our clients to change and adapt.” He went on to say that one of Pro-Tech Design’s most significant advantages is that they have been doing this for over 40 years and have built strong relationships with their key suppliers. When things get difficult, that allows them to have real conversations about where they stand with their deliveries, and what they can do to expedite them or work together to solve the problem.
All these steps taken together have been the key to their success in navigating these current supply chain challenges. When they are combined with their customer-first approach, company-wide flexibility, and the dedication of the people at their company, Pro-Tech Design & Manufacturing, Inc. will continue to stay ahead of the supply chain difficulties that are plaguing so many other companies at the moment. Swanson ended by saying, “We’ll emerge from this supply chain mess at some point in 2022, but there will be some other challenge down the road that will grab headlines. The lessons learned for us are to ground our strategies in our values, hire great people, and build strong relationships with clients and suppliers.” More information on this reputable medical device outsourcing company can be viewed at https://protechdesign.com/medical-device-outsourcing.
For more information about PRO-TECH Design & Manufacturing, Inc., contact the company here:
PRO-TECH Design & Manufacturing, Inc.
14561 Marquardt Ave, Santa Fe Springs, CA 90670