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MTS Blog: Four Traits of Highly Effective Medical Device Makers

Medical device manufacturers are habitually resistant to change.  In some ways it makes sense because there are so many risks associated with medical devices from design flaws to contamination concerns to distribution difficulties.  Innovation in inventory management is often an iterative process at best.  But, as a result of increased cost pressures and changes in healthcare in general, medical device manufacturers are finally realizing the need for more efficient, effective models of inventory control. 

According to a recent report from Brookings, “America’s Advanced Industries: What They Are, Where They Are, and Why They Matter,” the most innovative industries are auto making, aerospace, energy, and high-tech services, including computer software and system design for health applications.  And what do these industries have in common?  They leverage technology, and, according to the Brookings report, they “. . . offer the country’s best shot at supporting innovative, inclusive, and sustainable growth.”[1]

The medical device world, while slow to embrace change, does include a few companies that are moving towards a new way of managing inventory and distribution.  Those manufacturers who are poised to realize industry optimization and positioned to successfully adopt future innovation share the following four characteristics:

They are proactive.  Proactive manufacturers are not complacent about inventory.  They are prepared to enhance inventory control practices by identifying and integrating new technology to streamline processes and build more visibility, accountability, and control into their business. 

They embrace technology.   Innovative manufacturers readily adopt new solutions.  They leave antiquated systems behind and implement technology that enhances accuracy, improves efficiency, eliminates inventory discrepancies, and decreases payment issues.

They cultivate partnerships.  The ability to establish meaningful partnerships is one of the ways manufacturers extend their capabilities and develop advanced processes.  Partners bring new energy and ideas and enable manufacturers to more expertly achieve the next level of productivity.

They attack inefficiencies.  The ability to identify and eliminate waste in the supply chain allows manufacturers to conserve their valuable resources and focus on differentiators in the market.  They make fact-based decisions on how to allocate resources and use them to their greatest advantage.

The medical device industry would benefit from the example set by America’s advanced industries, which all capitalize on technology to maintain a competitive advantage in a global marketplace.  In order to continue to prosper, medical device manufacturers must become early adopters and advocates for technology that enhances efficiency, accuracy, and accountability.  The real risk today is allowing innovation to pass by without extracting the technology that enables the medical device world to meet the challenges of the ever-changing healthcare landscape.


[1] “America’s Advanced Industries: What They Are, Where They Are, and Why They Matter.”  The Brookings Institution.  Executive Summary.  Web.  September 26, 2016.