7 complications when outsourcing to multiple vendors

The service offering of outsourcing your manufacturing process is a common practice within medical device manufacturing, by outsourcing the manufacture of your product you free up valuable space, time and in-house capabilities enabling you to cut costs, and invest in growth. 

When a company decides to outsource the manufacture of a medical device the decision is driven by the many advantages such as cost savings, growth, access to experienced operators and expertise they do not have in-house, but when deciding to outsource is it better for business to utilize multiple vendors? 

We investigate some of the complications you may face when deciding to outsource to more than one vendor and help you establish the best options for your business.

Delayed Route to Market:
Managing multiple vendors can be complex, especially when they are spread across different locations or time zones. Ensuring effective communication and collaboration between all vendors is essential to avoid delays, misunderstandings, and potential conflicts, often situations will arise where one location is awaiting the completion of a particular part from another, which leads to our next point.

Higher Costs and More Complex Contract Negotiations:

The cost may be higher than outsourcing to a sole vendor, this is due to the administrative, transport, handling and supply chain rates that different manufacturers may have in place, in addition delays to production, supply chain etc may have a knock-on effect to the other vendors resulting in hidden cost. When working with a sole vendor, everything can be negotiated upfront, delays are less likely and will be internal to the vendor.

Integration Issues:

Integrating their work into a cohesive solution can be challenging. Different vendors may use varying technologies, standards, or methodologies, which can lead to compatibility issues and hinder seamless integration. When a manufacturing process is handled by one vendor, the entire process is handled under one roof, ensuring the efficient integration of all techniques.

Quality Control:

Maintaining consistent quality throughout the entire process across multiple vendors can be demanding. Each vendor may have its own quality assurance processes and standards, which could lead to inconsistencies, material waste or delays in the final deliverables.

Accountability and Responsibility:

When something goes wrong, it can be difficult to pinpoint responsibility among multiple vendors. This can lead to situations where one vendor blames another, leaving the client caught in the middle, a tricky situation to navigate causing unnecessary delays and friction.

Vendor Management:

Managing relationships with multiple vendors requires a dedicated effort from the client's side. This includes contract negotiations, performance monitoring, issue resolution, and contract renewals.

Scalability and Flexibility:

While outsourcing to multiple vendors can offer flexibility, it can also make it harder to scale or change the project scope quickly. Coordinating changes across vendors can be time-consuming and challenging.

To mitigate these complications, businesses must carefully select vendors based on their reputation, expertise, and track record. Additionally, a strong contract with clearly defined roles, responsibilities, and performance metrics can help manage expectations and hold vendors accountable. Regular communication and performance reviews are essential to keep track of progress and address any issues promptly. 

Ultimately, successful multi-vendor outsourcing requires strong project management and an understanding of the potential challenges and how to overcome them.

PolarSeal can manage the outsourcing of your project from start to finish and our wide range of capabilities and services may be exactly what you need to bring your medical device to market.

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