Q: Is "lean manufacturing" still an important practice in the medical device industry? Why or why not?
Today, healthcare costs are under more scrutiny than ever. Because the lean journey is all about removing waste to deliver the best possible product at the lowest total cost, utilization of carefully engineered and validated components can translate to significant savings throughout the value chain for medical equipment manufacturers. When we consider what is truly “lean,” however, it is essential to look at how it ultimately impacts all aspects of the manufacturing and design process – including the end user experience.
The use of lean techniques in medical equipment manufacturing can help to drive out lean “wastes” and align the product development team around the specific product elements that truly bring value to the end user, resulting in products that are cost effective and deliver superior performance. For instance, a more sophisticated monitor display mounting system integrated into a medical cart can eliminate adjustment and rework costs within the final assembly process, and provide a more reliable and ergonomic user experience in the field. The result is a product with optimized cost and performance levels that reinforces critical customer perception of brand quality.