25 Aug Best Practices: How to Source OEM Medical Products
What is necessary to find OEM medical products from the right source, and at the right cost — and that can be delivered at the right time and in the right quantities?
In my previous blog, I discussed definitions and criteria for seeking quality medical products at an affordable price. I defined a “quality medical product” as one that meets the needs and expectations of customers. So, with an understanding of how to identify quality medical products, how do we proceed to source and procure those products?
Procurement: Getting It Right, from Start to Finish
Let me first clarify how I define “procurement” — which to me is the process of identifying and obtaining goods and services. It includes sourcing and purchasing, and it covers all activities from identifying potential suppliers on the front end, to delivery from the supplier to the end user on the back end.
Effective, strategic medical product sourcing is a complex balancing act. But with limited time and data for analysis, successful medical product buyers frequently rely on their experience to swiftly estimate the impacts of the sourcing decision.
The first stage is to find the right medical product source by pre-qualifying OEM medical product suppliers and retaining only those that are capable and willing to work diligently to meet requirements.
The pre-qualification process will require weighing the relative merits of multiple factors that may not always be fully quantifiable up-front. For instance, many of the so-called “master medical product distributors” that promise “quality” are often merely go-betweens with no long-term relationship or vested interest in the medical product manufacturing source.
As a proven master medical product distributor, MediPurpose has built its business and reputation by becoming intimately involved with its partner medical product manufacturers.
As discussed in my last blog about defining “quality medical products,” I briefly explained how our medical products fulfill that definition via strict quality control procedures. That quality control can only be achieved with a high standard for well-documented medical product manufacturing procedures, as well as equally strict sterilization procedures.
Determining a source’s ability to meet our standards is frequently accomplished via a series of questions that are asked in our procurement/sourcing cycle. Among them:
- Does the potential medical product source have the appropriate qualifications?
- Does the source control the process_ÑÓfrom manufacturing to assembly to packaging and sterilization (GMP)?
- Does the source have ISO 9001 and ISO 13485 certification?
- If in the United States, is the source registered with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration?
- If in Europe, does the source_Ñés medical products have CE Markings and the supporting technical files?
- Do the specifications support the source_Ñés medical product labeling and claims?
Saving Time = Saving Costs?
“Time is money,” the saying goes, and it often holds true in business. With so many important questions to be researched, answered and documented — along with the cost and difficulty of managing lesser-known (and frequently off-shore) suppliers — it is no surprise that many medical product buyers exclusively place orders with existing known vendors.
However, as the global medical product market both becomes more competitive and offers increasing economic advantages, the rewards can be significant for those willing to invest the time to discover them.
Constant and clear communication is key to finding success in this context. To be sure, resources and time have to be allocated to nurturing the relationship. And, it is understatement to say that the supplier must also be committed to making investments in the short term in order to grow the business over time.
MediPurpose has developed and streamlined its processes to ensure that the investment required to build mutually beneficial relationships with its suppliers does not diminish the savings it can obtain for its customer. At the same time, it is important that the needs of the supplier be balanced with the overall goals of achieving cost savings.
MediPurpose has made the commitments necessary to bring its customers innovative, high-quality medical products that meet their needs and expectations. Not only is this knowledge used to service its customers_Ñé needs, but MediPurpose offers to share this expertise with innovators seeking to bring new novel technologies to market. This is just part of the value-added offered by Medipurpose as a true master distributor.
Next, I will discuss the scope and importance of vendor certification, on-site vigilance and regulatory compliance. In the meantime, what are your experiences with OEM suppliers? Do you typically go with the “known vendor” or do you try to get the best value (and quality) with a lesser-known vendor? How and why have you made the decisions you’ve made?