Medical Design & Outsourcing magazine recently included NPI/Medical in its “Engineering 911” feature, focusing on optimizing supply chains and how the company does it for a major player in the medical device OEM space.

CEO Randy Ahlm’s bylined article — “A few ideas for improving supply chains” — appeared in MDO’s October issue in both print and online.

Here’s an excerpt:

Improving profits is every company’s goal while reducing costs is every company’s challenge. The improving profits part is almost easier: Introduce new products and expand operations into global markets. The drawback is that newer and longer supply chains produce upward cost pressures.

Recent supply chain improvements can provide relief from the cost pressures. One strategy is to shorten the supply chain by minimizing suppliers. The consolidation part is made easier when a supplier stands out by exceeding expectations and delivering on time, whether the product is shipped to forecast, or shipped on a demand-driven basis, without anticipated timelines.

Improving a supply chain requires finding suppliers with the capability to produce parts and procure others, and then assemble, decorate, and package assemblies for delivery. Validation for this statement comes from a senior-level procurement supplier at a top-10 medical device OEM. He recently remarked that his company no longer wants “a bunch of parts” shipped to them. His company wants assemblies and finished products.