Boosting Velocity with Just In Time Supply Chain Management and Faster Inspection

In any business dependent on its supply chain, the goal is to deliver the products your customers need when they need them—as cost-effectively as possible. For many OEMs, especially in medical device manufacturing, that goal is elusive.

Why? The answer comes down to two interconnected factors: unpredictability in your inbound supply chain and constrained internal resources and capacity.

To see these two factors in action, consider this scenario. You know that certain products are needed immediately for an upcoming surgery. These products are given higher priority and are moved to the front of the line of products moving into finished goods and then distribution. The devices arrive where they’re needed, when they’re needed.

But now, behind the scenes, a backup is building for the end-of-line services. Instead of focusing on getting them all through finished goods and to the market, the tactic of picking and choosing has driven down efficiency. The net effect is that your team chases the product that’s most in-demand at the moment, and backups drive up backorders. As you turn your attention to one backorder, another grows, and another.

This continual cycle of chasing priorities rather than pulling all products through the system efficiently is a familiar one for many manufacturers. And, even if your team is exceptional at managing internal capacity and production efficiently, if you’re highly dependent on an outside contract manufacturer upstream in your supply chain, chaos can enter it at any time—because you’re not in control.

That’s where the key tool of JIT (just in time) supply chain management comes in. By optimizing your supply chain and creating efficiency throughout your entire inbound and outbound process, JIT can boost velocity. Here’s how.

JIT boosts velocity through the planning phase

Does your team contend with uncertainty about when components or products are going to hit your dock? If so, consider how these internal resources could work smarter if they knew they were always going to receive finished products. JIT changes the planning phase by removing the central constraint: your internal capacity and how you have to plan around it.

JIT increases profitability through better efficiency

Often called the bullwhip, the very end of the supply chain can swing wildly. One week might result in massive overtime, while another brings no product to package. Bringing order to it enables you to plan internal resources more efficiently and avoid overtime that might otherwise be required if product comes in late.

JIT with an expert partner can help you manage your growth curve better

Growth presents a conundrum: do you invest before you see growth, or do you wait to see it? Your growth curve is highly dependent on how you resource, which can be difficult in today’s labor market. Investing in scalable, flexible resources can help you manage your growth curve more cost effectively.

Independent quality critical inspection reduces risk—and can boost velocity

Independent third-party verification that a product is being manufactured to your specifications can save valuable time in the product development and manufacturing processes. If there is a problem with your product being manufactured to spec, the more quickly that can be determined, the more quickly it can be resolved, and the faster you can get to market.

JIT supply chain management with an expert partner offers an array of benefits to boost your velocity. In the end, it’s about bringing order to the end of the line and enabling you to translate market needs more efficiently through your entire supply chain.

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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