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Selecting the right EMS partner for medical apps

Posted: 10 Sep 2012 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:electronics manufacturing services? medical? manufacturing process?

Fierce competition, tightening regulations and growing pressure to produce a differentiated product: these are the challenges of the fast paced medical electronics market that OEMs have to tackle to reduce the lead-time from initial concept to order fulfillment. As a result, the demand for support from an electronics manufacturing services (EMS) partner is on the increase, especially in the sophisticated category of high complexity, low volume medical electronic devices.

It's a tough time to be a medical OEM. The current economic uncertainties challenge all organizations to streamline their business, whilst reducing costs, improving efficiency and ensuring optimized use of internal resources. Deciding to work with an EMS company can help a medical OEM to respond better to its evolving challenges while improving its return on investment on resources deployed in the design and manufacturing process. Whereas before an EMS was engaged to fulfill a set function at a critical stage of the manufacturing process, today an OEM should select an EMS company who can add value at every stage of the product realization process and is a trusted integrated partner from design through to manufacturing and after-market solutions. So, when it comes to deciding on an EMS partner what should OEMs ask before making a decision?

In-house capabilities, resources
Prior to consulting an EMS company, a medical OEM needs to assess its own internal strengths and capabilities. An internal audit enables the company to evaluate and determine their key differentiators as their focus areas. Then, it will be able to identify significant areas where an EMS partner will add most value.

This will vary depending on the core strength of the medical OEM. Many companies choose to focus on their core technology to maximize the value and differentiation of their intellectual property, such as a unique sensor technology. These OEMs are looking for an EMS partner that can support them with both the design and manufacture of the equipment around this core technology. By dividing areas of the design and development process dependent on their key focuses, OEMs can gain the most value from working with an EMS partner who can reduce time to revenue whilst controlling fixed costs.

Right fit, right size for your business
EMS companies continue to increase the scale and extent of their solutions to device companies. Today, some EMS companies provide a wider array of services from conceptual design to system assembly and configuration / shipping devices to the end user, but not every medical OEM will require that level of integration with an EMS partner. The first question to address is the volume and complexity of the medical electronic device. There are companies that specialize at different levels of volume and product complexity and it is, therefore, essential to choose an EMS partner with core specializations that complement its internal capabilities.

Consider level of collaboration required
Some medical OEMs will prefer to work with an EMS partner that can help drive solutions and support with medical device design, but there are others that simply need assistance at a specific stage, such as PCB assembly, higher level assembly or product configuration.

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