How Orthopedic Set Mapping and Supply Chain Automation Solves Field Inventory Problems for OEM Devic




noun: map; plural noun: maps

  • a diagram or collection of data showing the spatial arrangement or distribution of something over an area.

I’ve written extensively on a new way of managing orthopedic sets and trays through a new technology called set mapping. Simply put, set mapping is using software and scanning technology to manage and track the implants (and instruments) inside the trays.

Tray contents are mapped to Summate’s Velox database software, and implant usage is scanned at point of use during surgery. Granular, real time demand information can be then instantly sent to the OEMs for order fulfillment. This detailed information will revolutionize how the OEMs manage their operations and market to their customers. Think of it as bringing the Amazon model of supply chain efficiency and targeted marketing to an industry currently operating on a model that is stuck in the 1950’s.

One area I have not touched upon is how set mapping solves perhaps the biggest real-time headache that currently plagues the industry - management and audit of field inventory. It’s currently an enormous time sink and cost drag on the entire industry. The main problem is trying to keep track of thousands product SKUs covering millions of implants representing billions of dollars. These valuable assets are currently monitored and managed by field-based sales personnel, who experience turnover and also often move the assets (implants, sets and trays) around to meet uneven demand in their territories (or to other territories). The challenge is further exacerbated by the fact that the implants are taken out of their packages when stored in the trays. It’s a challenge just keeping track of the sets themselves, let alone the inventory in them. Every year all of these field assets must be audited for accounting purposes. These annual asset audits become an extremely expensive, time consuming process that is plagued by inaccuracies and lost inventory, for which there is no accounting.

“The amount of time and energy required for annual asset audits was extensive. We hired an outside firm unfamiliar with the medical device inventory to count implants, instruments and sets. This required interrupting the daily activities of the sales person and going into hospitals central supply with the contracted auditor. It entailed engaging hospital personnel and interrupting them from performing their daily duties to pull sets, potentially opening the sterile wrap and counting the inventory. The set would then have to be reprocessed taking it out of commission for a few hours. Because of the inexperience of the contracted auditor there were many inaccuracies in inventory levels and set locations resulting in a significant loss in unaccounted for assets requiring us to write-off assets.”

-Vice President of Sales of Major Medical Device Company

With adoption of set mapping, the use, replenishment and restock of field implant trays is upgraded from a 5-6 manual step process relying on pens, papers, multiple manual data entry steps and phone calls to one accurate, scanned efficient process. With set mapping the demand data is scanned at point of use, making it very accurate. Device OEMs can track inventory to the individual tray, and have a real time mechanism for reporting current inventory in sets and trays down to the individual part numbers. Instead of today’s significantly long process, inventory audit can be conducted and processed with keystrokes.

Set mapping orthopedic trays automates field inventory tracking and audit management, turning it from a current nightmare into a pleasant dream. It’s a total win-win for everyone involved, freeing up rep time and eliminating tedious paper chasing and large write offs for device OEMs.

Its time for the Device OEMs to put Scan in The Plan, and invest in set mapping and supply chain automation.

For more information, or to contact Summate, please go to www.summate.NET

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