Simplifying the Complexity of Rapid Growth

There was a time—not so long ago—in medical device manufacturing when the pursuit of topline revenue growth at almost any cost offered a sure path to success.

To grow topline revenue, OEMs sometimes launched new products while legacy versions still flooded the market (some still do). Hungry to enter new categories and new markets, they often did so without carefully considered strategies (some still do). M&A activity increased—but acquisitions often weren’t fully integrated (of course, some still aren’t).

Complexity increased, yet with high gross margins and stable pricing, the resultant profits were well worth the challenge. Increases in competition and disruption create pressure—and the market changes. In today’s market, complexity can seriously affect performance.

Why? Complexity can amplify inefficiency, introduce error, and drive up risk. It can slow down decision making and increase costs. More seriously, it can hamper innovation and put real constraints on future growth, profitability, and potential.

Even for those OEMs that haven’t pursued topline growth while allowing complexity to flourish can end up contending with it, because complexity increases rapidly as OEMs scale.

Confronting complexity head-on and tackling its effects systematically can enable OEMs to flourish amid continual market pressures. Tackling it in every corner of your business can remove the barriers to accelerating growth, helping you and your team unlock efficiencies, jumpstart innovation, and focus on the core competencies that will drive success.

What’s the key to truly and effectively countering complexity? Simplification. Just as productivity often depends more on managing attention rather than time, simplifying also means focusing on only the most essential functions—and finding more efficient resources and means to tackle the rest. Here are three key areas to consider simplifying.

Simplify supply chain process complexity

The distributed supply chain of a manufacturer consigning inventory to distributors and sales reps is a complex process that consumes significant operational energy and often introduces chaos. Consider, instead, how a single expert outsourcing partner may be able to reduce chaos by wholly owning areas such as reverse logistics, loaner kit management, finished goods warehousing, and more. Additionally, a reduction or elimination of some of your in-house or off-site warehousing facilities can also offer cost savings—and reduce complexity.

Simplify vendor management

Often, merger and acquisition activity results in an abundance of vendors. Some of them may provide redundant services or areas of overlap. Contractual relationships may be longstanding or of a legacy nature.

It’s critical to step back and assess the full array of vendor relationships within your portfolio. Consider the extent of overlap and the particular process expertise each vendor brings to your business. If you understand the full scope of services of high-performing, expert vendors, you can seek consolidation of your vendor relationships to handle multiple critical functions via one single, expert partner.

Having fewer vendors to manage means less communication, fewer invoices, and fewer details to manage. A single trusted partner offering comprehensive services can radically streamline a complex series of workflows, letting you and your team focus where it matters most.

Simplify process and resource complexity

Reconsidering labor resources that can flex and scale with demand can offer significant upside. Faster loaner kit turnarounds and extended shipping windows can increase case coverage without driving up operational chaos (and internal complexity). Entrusting complex, highly fraught processes—such as package design and validation, for example—to an expert partner can also cut down on complexity while significantly speeding time to market for new product launches. Often, the best use of your resources is not adding to internal headcount with the hope of getting more done.

Complexity dampens progress. Savvy OEMs that tackle it head-on through streamlining and outsourcing are better positioned to grow—and succeed—in today’s market.

At Millstone, we get it. We believe quality drives patient success. That’s why we’ve perfected all the capabilities medical device manufacturers need to get to market. Today we offer post-manufacturing and aftermarket services to more than 50 customers, including some of the top 10 orthopedic companies in the world. We are constantly evolving our processes and services to help OEMs achieve sustainable success. We offer clean room packaging, medical device specific warehousing, finished goods distribution, loaner kit management, advanced inspection and reverse logistics services—all with an unparalleled focus on quality.

What could we help you do better? Learn more at


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