Why Medical Device Shortages Happen (and what to do about them)



As demonstrated over the past year and a half, medical device shortages are inevitable factors in a world of unpredictable natural and manmade disruptions.

With some medical devices and essential PPE still bouncing back from COVID-19 shortages and other supply-chain-related delays, are you prepared for another shortage in your industry?

Let’s dive into some of the common causes of medical device shortages and what you can do to prepare for them in the future.

COVID-19 Impact

The medical device supply chain suffered vulnerabilities long before the COVID-19 pandemic. The rapid spread of sickness, combined with soaring prices and government intervention to redirect supplies, left a huge gap in availability for those healthcare organizations in dire need of essential personal protective equipment (PPE).

Shortages of PPE or other medical supplies endanger the healthcare workforce and impact patient care dramatically by putting people at risk due to subpar supplies, rationing, price gouging, or delays in care.

Supply Chain Delays

The medical device supply chain, like any other, suffered vulnerabilities long before the COVID-19 pandemic. The supply chain industry has been rocked over the past year by unprecedented shipping delays, disruptions in port capability due to evolving COVID restrictions, congested ports, and increased e-commerce demand by consumers. Many of these factors were commonplace, even long before the pandemic began.

Nearly every industry has suffered delays due to supply chain disruptions that have only been exacerbated by COVID delays. Relying on the swiftness and efficiency of a supply chain isn’t always possible when it comes to essential health care supplies, especially when sourcing internationally. It’s another reason why American-manufactured medical devices can help relieve shortages.

Planning Ahead

To protect your company from situations like this in the future, it’s important to make sure to have a store of your products and components in the United States. Our Foreign Trade Zone Division can store large levels of inventory for you, all without it being technically imported to the country until you need it. That means you won’t pay tariffs on your items until you need them, but they will still be conveniently stored right here in Battle Creek, Michigan.

You can reduce supply chain disruptions and shipping times by utilizing an FTZ. STEWART can receive, inspect, process, and warehouse your product within the United States, all before paying import taxes.

STEWART Medical Supply is also ISO 13485:2016 certified, the standard required of a Quality Management System (QMS) for manufacturing medical supplies. We manufacture and QA medical devices, ensuring both internal company standards and goals are met, as well as those set forth by medical regulators like the FDA and ISO. Plus, since we’re a domestic supplier, you won’t be combating international supply chain delays to get lifesaving medical devices and supplies.

We’re here to help you plan for the unpredictable and ensure quality medical devices for your team. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help secure your medical supplies while saving you money.

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