Manufacturing Technology Insight from Proactive Leaders

By Daniel R. Matlis

I had the privilege to moderate a panel entitled: “Outlook for the Medical Device Industry 2014 and Beyond: Advice from Proactive Leaders” at Camstar’s 2014 Global Conference. The panel included Vice Presidents of Operations from Advanced Bionics, ConforMIS and Terumo Cardiovascular Group.

In this, the second in our series of articles, we share insights and perspective from these executives addressing Technology issues impacting the future of the Med Tech industry.

The following Executives participated in the panel:

Q. How are you leveraging manufacturing technology to improve product quality while reducing cost?

Matt Scott
• We are using Camstar to eliminate our paper-based inspection data recording. By validating the use of the software, we have been able to reduce the time spent sorting through multiple inspection reports and have consolidated all of the pertinent data into a useful format that anyone can review.
• We are also utilizing 3D additive manufacturing technology to manufacture patient specific implants and instruments. This eliminates the need for large inventories at the company and hospitals, thereby reducing operating costs.

Jim Robinson
• We are managing detail analysis of the manufacturing of products which leads to targeted improvements.
• We are using technology to streamline activities associated with data entry and automated equipment interfaces.

Mark Lincoln
• Camstar’s MES has helped play a key role in this success. I have said over the years that Camstar allows us to focus on building that perfect product and allowing compliance come along for the ride. The assemblers do not need to be focused on ensuring the equipment is calibrated or if their training is current or if the process parameters are in spec, Camstar is taking care of that for them. It’s virtually impossible to make a paperwork mistake, one of biggest causes of NCR’s pre Camstar.
• On the back end of the process, we are now able to collect any and all data that will help drive continuous improvements in the process and help specific trouble shooting if we have a problem with components or the process.

Q. What is your company’s priority for a Medical Device Platform? How do you use manufacturing data to support your role in particular and company as a whole?

Matt Scott
• Mass customization – the ability for us to scale while designing and making patient specific implants.
• We utilize the manufacturing data for lean improvement projects, prediction of order complete dates/times, and to ensure capacity needs are met.

Jim Robinson
• Our company is still on a technology growth and innovation trajectory, so the platform evolves regularly by being smaller and having more features. Manufacturing data on yield and cost helps direct improvements.

Mark Lincoln
• I believe the MES system we have put in place aids us in our last frontier: DHRs. The amount of data that can be readily available real time allows you to focus the right resources on the biggest issues. The key is quickly identifying an issue, then taking the right immediate and long term actions required to prevent reoccurrence. Camstar provides that type of feedback.

In summary, there is agreement that a robust MES system is critical to the effective management of a company’s manufacturing efficiency.

Stay tuned to the next article in this series, where we will share insights from our panel on Regulatory challenges impacting the future of the Med Tech industry.

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