It is easy to say “do it right the first time,” but when it comes to selecting a micro-manufacturer, it can be difficult for medical OEMs to navigate the choppy waters of finding a capable molder for their designs while also carefully considering the balance of cost-savings and value. At MTD, we see this struggle often as about 20% of new projects come to us as “rescues,” or failed attempts by others in the industry. We knew these companies had been through a lot before they found their solution in MTD, but what is the actual cost of not doing it right the first time?

We worked with one of our “rescue” customers to calculate what it actually cost their company to have their project rescued. This OEM had developed a concept for a bioabsorbable fixation device that generated excitement and positive comments from reviewing surgeons. Although the company worked with a reputable molder, after five years of labor, the molder had limited success and could not produce the part represented in its drawing with sufficient quality.

After the five years, the OEM decided to cut its losses and start fresh with a different molder. When the OEM tallied its losses, the results were staggering:

What loss can cost

Factoring in about one year delayed market entry, the loss of potential product sales, the time unnecessarily spent in process development, and the cost of restarting their project with a new molder – the sum came to about $1.5 million.

This was a painful realization for them, but it further underlined the point that doing it right the first time can result in big savings.

How did this happen?

Sometimes the molder simply doesn’t have the specialized medical micro molding equipment needed to produce a particular design. Sometimes they don’t have experience or expertise in working with a certain material or challenging design. Other times, a supplier may excel at low volume or on-demand production, but cannot efficiently ramp up production. Unfortunately, from the OEM’s perspective, the reason can take some time to rear its ugly head.

“If you don’t have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?” – John Wooden


Note: A version of this article was originally published in our whitepaper, Design for Manufacturing Breakthroughs.

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