Medical Manufacturing Timelines: What Should You Expect?

Medical Manufacturing Timelines

You’ve made the big decision to onboard a Contract Medical Manufacture and Tape Converter – what does life look like now?

Well, it’s safe to say that you won’t see a prototype by next week. From the time you put pen to paper and do the literal (or virtual) handshaking with your new CMO partner, the initiation of manufacturing could be between 12 to 18 months. While this may seem like a long time, this shouldn’t surprise any of the old hands when it comes to manufacturing medical equipment and devices. The fact of the matter is that we’re in the healthcare industry, and taking shortcuts with manufacturing products that peoples’ lives depend on is just not done. Cutting corners in this initial phase could lead to mistakes, a failure to meet industry standards, lawsuits, and (if a subpar product is manufactured) injury, ill-health, or death on the part of the people using your product. We are not using hyperbole here. This is the reality of this industry.


The first year of a CMO relationship is probably the most important in your partnership. While this time won’t necessarily be typified by the mass output of products, it will be where you lay the groundwork for that future vast production you are envisioning.

You and your CMO partner are going to be in constant communication at this time, sharing ideas, specifications, and designs. This is where you will ultimately develop your product from a great concept to a fully-functioning physical device. You’ll use this time to develop the product into the best possible incarnation – using both the physical and mental resources of your new partner to fine-tune and develop prototypes.

It may be helpful to think of this time like you are planning a wedding. You and your CMO have just become engaged, and are now looking through bridal catalogues and going to cake-tastings. Except instead of catalogues, you’re looking through specifications and drafts. Instead of cake-tastings, you’re sampling materials and adhesives. Your wedding day is, essentially, the first day your product gets manufactured. You want to make sure that every single thing is perfect and ready by the time that day rolls around. If you are reading this and have been through planning a wedding, you know the perfection comparison is apt.


And like a good marriage/relationship, communication is always the most important key to success. Neither you nor your CMO can achieve success without the other, so to keep the planning stages as painless as possible, the goal should be to communicate often, openly, and efficiently. Tell them what you want, what your requirements are, how you communicate, and how they must work with you to make sure you are both efficient. Efficient communication is estimated to boost productivity and profitability by up to 10%.

It’s okay to be excited to get the ball rolling, but you don’t want to rush your product out the door in the same way that you wouldn’t want a shotgun wedding: neither is going to be good and both look suspicious. Take your time, develop your product, and make sure that you’ve got everything just right.

For the previous blog in this mini-series, which looks into which medical manufacturing applications are available to you, please CLICK HERE.

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