Friday, March 21, 2008

Interesting article from MPO

This article is related to EMS, but the principles it speaks of apply at multiple levels.

Some good advice from Medical Product Outsourcing on choosing a supplier, and how Laystrom can help:

1. Clearly define your expectations.

This is great for both customer and vendor, creating a win-win scenario right from the start. As a manufacturer, the better we understand what the expectations are, the better we can customise solutions to fit that customers' needs.

2. Ensure that a prospective supplier’s technologies for product and process mirror your own.

Currently we are working with some customers to help align our processes with theirs. Sometimes the best option is for us to add more value by incorporating higher-level assemblies into our processes so that that customer can focus more on their areas of expertise. We have spent time with our customers helping them develop their designs so that they can best manufactured in the most efficient manner possible.

3. Since quality is the top priority, guarantee that it will remain superior at the EMS company.

I think quality has to be a given these days. Not having the appropriate standards to validate top quality production standards will create a mismatch of technologies and culture.

4. Look for a culture fit.

An excellent point! How can you do business with people you can't communicate with on all levels? This ties really strongly to an alignment of expectations and establishing that value is being created for both vendor and customer.

5. Decide if you want a supplier that will partner with you actively as you introduce the medical device.

The level of interaction between vendor and customer can be critical to success on any project. Overloading a supplier can create delays, and not outsourcing enough may overload the internal systems creating a backlog which affects time to market. This balancing act is something to consider early on with the setting of expectations and the alignment of resources. We work with many different vendors to provide multiple levels of complex solutions to help our customers make the best decision about how much to do in-house and how much to outsource.

6. Identify how a supplier ensures reliability and business continuity.

Laystrom has been around for over 50 years and has a very diverse customer base, allowing us to ride out the variations in the marketplace. We use the knowledge that we gain from all those different customers (medical, agriculture, telecommunications, packaging, appliances) to build systems that ensure we can remain competitive and consistent.

7. Don’t buy just on price.

Excellent point! Bravo! :) Seriously, this is something I have recently heard our customers talking about more and more. The "total cost" of product solutions, and the idea that proximity and embedded-engineering and service and reliability and, sometimes, just being able to pick up the phone and communicate, in critical to success. price has its place, but not at the very real cost of productivity and quality.