Realizing Manufacturing Success Through Digitalization: Connected Manufacturing for MedTech 4.0

As our world and our industry begins to emerge from the Covid19 pandemic and its related impact, Medical Device manufacturers are not immune from feeling the effects of months of industrial uncertainty. 

One thing that has become increasingly clear over the past 12 months is that all companies must become agile in their business approach.  In no industry is this more evident than in Medical Device manufacturing. We have seen a vast difference between the success levels and sustainability of those manufacturers who are agile vs. those who are stagnant. What is the primary factor in these different approaches? Manufacturers who embrace digitalization of their processes are realizing the benefits of agility and transforming their businesses…and are separating themselves from their competitors now more than ever.   

By embracing digitalization, companies can take advantage of technological advances throughout each phase of operations. If done so correctly, organizations can experience:

• Manufacturing excellence through increased productivity and speed-to-market.

• Improved quality, in turn reducing compliance issues, recalls, and a variety of adverse situations.

• Enhanced accuracy through the elimination of paper records, and increased traceability throughout the manufacturing process.

• Reduced complications as issues are identified more quickly and errors are reduced.

• Realized success as costs decrease, throughput increases, and profit margin transcends current market and industry trends.

At Seabrook Technology Group, this winning aspiration is referred to as Connected Manufacturing for MedTech 4.0®

What Is Connected Manufacturing for MedTech 4.0®?

If agility is the desired result, the method to achieve that result is Connected Manufacturing for MedTech 4.0®.  Connected Manufacturing for MedTech 4.0® aims to bring a fully integrated approach to medical technologies and manufacturing operations. Connected manufacturing processes are based on industry best practices and empower the digitalized organization to flexibly approach operations within the current climate.

Connected Manufacturing is not just a “product” or “service”, but a strategy that begins with an analysis of current systems, a review of manufacturing goals, and a journey toward full digitalization.  When Connected Manufacturing is realized, legacy (older/outdated) systems are removed, and the “Frankenstein” approach (add on, change this, plug in, adjust) to manufacturing is eliminated. Additionally, Connected Manufacturing increases operational efficiency, supports compliance, and maximizes value throughout the manufacturing process (end-to-end). Current – and next generation- Medical Device Manufacturers must stay lean and agile if they want to survive and thrive as the world awakes from its current economic state. 

Components of Connected Manufacturing for MedTech 4.0®

Manufacturing Execution Systems:

Manufacturing execution systems (MES) are computerized systems used in manufacturing to track and document the transformation of raw materials to finished goods. Siemens Opcenter Execution is the industry standard and provides a holistic solution that enables organizations to implement their manufacturing strategy for the complete digitalization of manufacturing operations. Opcenter provides end-to-end visibility into production, allowing decision makers to readily identify areas to be improved within both the product design and associated manufacturing processes, leading to smoother and more efficient production. 

Cloud Computing:

Cloud computing is a subscription-based infrastructure that delivers services such as storage, databases, software, and networking.  Top medical device manufacturers are working with cloud providers to expand flexibility, quickly scale manufacturing throughput, and gain insight from large amounts of data.

Analytics and “Big Data:”

Predictive analytics using big data is a technology that learns from experience (data) to predict future behavior in order to drive better decisions. The use of predictive (or advanced) analytics in Medical Device manufacturing is crucial as organizations look to efficiently evolve processes and rapidly scale operations.

Industrial Internet of Things (IIOT):

The healthcare industry is evolving quickly, and forward-thinking manufacturers are looking for ways to stay relevant.  IoT solutions are one of the most rapidly growing and successful in healthcare and manufacturing. With the advancement of IIOT, Medical Device manufacturers can now secure, control, and manage devices from the cloud. This increased connectivity allows for improved data collection, exchange, and analysis - which rapidly facilitates improvements in manufacturing productivity and efficiency. 

Integration:

Historically, Medical Device manufacturing connectivity has been beyond reach, as data and processes occurred in silos within an organization – each having their own protocols, software, connections, and terminology.  These times are changing rapidly, however.  MES software is a “connector,” and MES Integration allows for the connection between the Remote I/O Layer and the ERP layer. 

Manufacturing Apps:

Manufacturing Apps have taken Medical Device manufacturing by storm, as low-code and no-code app development expands into the healthcare manufacturing industry.  With ManuApps, workflow data is captured at point of operation, allowing for quick analysis and improvement by supervisors and operators.  At any time, then, supervisors and top-level management have an accurate real-time snapshot of the shop floor. ManuApps can also be utilized to create work instructions, integrate data, identify training opportunities and improve communication throughout the manufacturing process – all by utilizing low-code and no-code applications.

The past 12 months have certainly been a challenge to manufacturers throughout the globe.  Many lessons have been learned, however, and the importance of digitalization is one of the most relevant.  As Medical Device manufacturers look to a world post-Covid19, those who embrace digitalization are sure to experience greater agility and success, and – ultimately – more significantly impact their organization and the world into the new year and beyond.

Questions about transforming your manufacturing to a digital environment?  Let Seabrook help! Seabrook Technology Group consists of a team of global manufacturing experts and industry thought leaders, leading Medical Device manufacturers on their digitalization journey toward Connected Manufacturing for MedTech 4.0®.  As Connected Manufacturing experts, we bring end-to-end manufacturing solutions (people, processes, technology) together in a harmonized fashion to enable operational excellence for medical device manufacturers.  Seabrook Technology Group is a global, privately held company which was founded in 1989.   ​www.seabrookglobal.com

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