IT Supply Chain Quality

Integrated IT Case Study: “Communications Are Key”

Need proof of the value of effective IT lifecycle management for medical devices? Consider this recent real-world example. It is the story of how a leading U.S. medical device manufacturer had to swiftly scramble when the life spans of one of their most important products and its integrated IT were suddenly thrown out of sync.

No Easy Way Out

The problem occurred in 2012. The device manufacturer learned, without advance warning from their IT supplier at the time, that the power supply driving one of their flagship products for pathology labs was soon to reach its end of life. Worse, the replacement power supply, as it turned out, was incompatible with the overall device.

The device maker had no easy way out of this hole. They special-ordered renewed production of the discontinued power supply from the OEM in China. But three months passed before they could get their hands back onto the needed component. In the meantime, the device manufacturer was unable to ship their market-leading product.

The consequences were severe: lost sales and disappointed customers. Even if the rap to the device maker’s reputation was only temporary, it was more than enough to hurt.

Since then, the device company has shifted the supply of their integrated IT for this prime product platform to Dynamic Computer Corporation, the Farmington Hills, Michigan-based IT solutions provider. Dynamic specializes in end-to-end IT lifecycle management for medical device manufacturers. From project management through process automation, Dynamic works tightly with device makers to be sure that their products’ critical hardware and software components keep working right for life.

Ensuring IT Availability

Looking ahead to IT availability, and keeping customers informed of changes, is standard operating procedure at Dynamic. For the particular device manufacturer and product profiled here, Dynamic continues to order custom builds of the original power supply –always with at least a 20-week lead time – to ensure consistent product availability.

In other ways, Dynamic’s approach to IT lifecycle management is even more proactive. Now, for all product platforms, the device maker gets ample warning when an essential piece of IT is to go EOL. Dynamic then coordinates with the customer to place a strategic last-time buy. Meanwhile, replacement products are thoroughly tested for compatibility.

“Communications are key,” says Farida Ali, Dynamic’s president and CEO. “A medical device manufacturer must trust that their primary suppliers are giving them plenty of time to react to changes in features, functions, and availability. Being the device maker’s eyes and ears in the technology marketplace – that’s the hallmark of a quality IT supplier.”