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Reduce Field Inventory Disruptions and Component Obsolescence

A Guide to Best Practices in MedTech and Medical Devices Industry

In the medical device and technology (MedTech) industry, product lifecycle management (PLM) systems are critical for ensuring that products are safe, reliable, and compliant. While most businesses agree that their PLM system is an indispensable tool, not all manufacturers have implemented best practices when it comes to reducing field inventory disruptions and component obsolescence in their manufacturing processes. These two issues cost the MedTech industry billions of dollars annually. Reducing these factors not only helps you save money but also allows your team to focus on more important areas of Field Inventory Management. This article will explain why these issues exist in managing field inventory within the MedTech industry, what causes them, and how to eliminate them from your business processes so you can get back to focusing on strategic business priorities.

Why is reducing inventory disruptions and obsolescence important?

There are two main areas of concern for companies when it comes to managing field inventory. The first is inventory disruptions, or the inability to get product from the manufacturer to the customer in a timely manner. For example, if a distributor places an order, it takes time to travel from the manufacturer to the distributor. This disruption could be a result of mismanaged inventories, poor planning and skills, or inefficient logistics processes and systems. Field inventory management is a complex process that requires manufacturers to maintain clean and accurate data about each item throughout its lifecycle. This data includes information about the quantity held in each of their locations, the location itself (warehouse, etc.), the reason for holding the quantity, and more. If the data is inaccurate or incomplete, it will negatively affect the way operations are performed.

Field Inventory Disruptions

The second is field inventory disruptions, which occur when a company experiences an interruption in the supply of goods from one or more suppliers. This interruption is increasingly caused by issues related to climate change, such as natural disasters or other unexpected events. Likely, you’ve seen the news about events like the recent floods in Central America  and the wildfires in California that created disruptions in the supply chain. So, you can imagine that these events can create problems for your business, as well. All businesses are affected by inventory disruptions, but the effect on the medical device and life sciences industries can be a lot more significant, as these businesses depend on limited supply chains to get products to market. If a company’s supplier is experiencing a disruption, the company may be forced to use a different supplier. This can cause delays in getting products to market.

Component Obsolescence

A component is obsolete when it is no longer available from suppliers or when it is not the best fit for a specific application. When a component is no longer available or is no longer the best fit for a specific application, the component is considered obsolete. Component obsolescence can result from changes in technology, changes in supplier sources, or regulatory changes. Some examples of component obsolescence include a change in a component’s design, a natural disaster that affects a supplier, or a change in a regulatory standard. As a manufacturer, it is your responsibility to proactively monitor component obsolescence and take action to avoid disrupting production. To do this, manufacturers track their component inventory to know how much of each component they have on hand and when they will need to order a new supply. This helps manufacturers avoid disruptions that could result in costly production delays.

Best Practices for Reducing Inventory Disruptions

To minimize the risk of a disruption in inventory, manufacturers should track the inventory of critical components that are used in the manufacturing of their products. When you track critical components, you know how much of each component is on hand, when you purchased those items, and when you will need to reorder them. For example, if you have a large inventory of a specific type of spring that is used in your products, it may be a good idea to track that inventory so you know when you will need to reorder a new supply. If there’s a disruption in the supply chain, you will know about it before your customers start calling about a lack of product on the shelves.

Best Practices for Reducing Component Obsolescence

Manufacturers can also use their PLM system to monitor component obsolescence. When you monitor component obsolescence, you track components that are no longer available from suppliers. This helps you avoid the risk of using unusable components in your products. You can also use your PLM system to identify suitable alternatives for components that are becoming obsolete. This will help you avoid disruption in production.

Conclusion

In the MedTech and medical device space, product lifecycle management systems are critical for ensuring that products are safe, reliable, and compliant. While most businesses agree that their PLM system is an indispensable tool, not all manufacturers have implemented best practices when it comes to reducing field inventory disruptions and component obsolescence in their manufacturing processes.

A software solution like Ventory becomes the smart extension into your core systems, so you can digitize your field inventory, wherever it is. With Ventory, you can increase liquidity, reduce wastage, improve efficiency, eliminate shrinkage, and ultimately improve your customer satisfaction.

Get in touch with our industry experts and discover how you can get started.

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