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Transferring your production from one medical device manufacturing partner to another isn’t easy. The regulations, costs and technical difficulty associated with finding a new partner can make it tempting to stick with your existing production method, even if there are significant issues.
While it's worthwhile to attempt to fix any issues, sometimes a manufacturing plant transfer from one state — or even continent — to another is the optimal solution. The trick is to know when you should migrate, and how to make migration as painless as possible.
When there’s a glaring, major problem with your current medical device manufacturing partner, migration is often the clear solution. However, it's important to consider the full spectrum of manufacturing issues you're experiencing.
Any individual issue might seem minute in comparison to the overall challenge of migration, but that math might change when you consider all of your manufacturing issues at once.
Whether it’s a massive challenge or death by a thousand papercuts, it's time to consider a new medical device manufacturing partner when you encounter any of the following challenges:
This list is by no means exhaustive, nor does any individual item on this list signal that you must migrate. Every business will be different; you might sell a product where occasional defects are acceptable, or you may have determined that higher labor costs outweigh the savings earned by migrating closer to your target market. What’s important is that you regularly conduct assessments of your current manufacturing capability and evaluate whether migration makes sense for your business.
Finding the right medical device manufacturing partner when you decide to migrate can be a difficult decision. Your new partner should first solve for whatever pain first triggered the need to migrate, but you’ll always want to identify a manufacturer with two key capabilities:
Combined, these features significantly reduce the difficulty of migration.
When you decide it's time to make a change, global sourcing can make a literal world of difference — in cost, supplier dependency and timeline efficiency.
Let’s say that in response to delivery delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, you’ve decided to move your production from China to the U.S. Unless your new partner is capable of sourcing globally, you may still be dependent on the exact same suppliers in China for the basic materials needed to produce your medical device.
Take the same scenario, but your new partner already has a global network in place. There will still be variations in lead time and cost depending on where your manufacturing takes place, but your new partner will already have the relationships and supplier network needed to start production quickly. What’s more, if your timeline is less of a concern than your cost, global sourcing will enable your new partner to gather supplies from the lowest-cost regions.
A medical device manufacturing partner with a global footprint is essential to your company's smooth migration.
There’s going to be a lot of back and forth between your old manufacturing facility and your new one. If your new partner only has a presence in the U.S., then it’s going to be much more difficult to retrieve the tooling, documentation and other resources essential to your production. They also likely won't have the necessary experience with customs, international shipping and so on.
A partner with a global footprint, however, will have facilities located across the world. In this scenario, your new partner’s local Chinese facility would be able to liaise with your old manufacturing plant, retrieve tooling more easily and handle any unique challenges associated with your migration. Rather than handle all transition activities yourself, your new partner can support and facilitate the migration process to the U.S. or elsewhere.
Finding a medical device manufacturing partner with both global sourcing and manufacturing capabilities is an excellent first step in a frictionless migration. But medical manufacturing is a nuanced industry with a lot of requirements, and any migration project will have many moving parts.
If you’re considering a manufacturing plant transfer, we recommend reading our guide on the subject. Migrations aren’t necessarily easy, but when they’re done well, they can transform your business for the better.