A little forward planning with the right partner can make the supply chain advantages of an authorized distributor work for you.

Involving your distributor early in the design process can be important for reasons that may not be entirely obvious. For instance – one of the critical decisions early in the design stage of a medical device is whether there is an industry standard part that fits your needs, or, is a custom manufactured solution the best way forward. Your distributor’s knowledge of the manufacturers they represent can save design engineers considerable time with their understanding of the strengths, capabilities and types of custom products available on the market today. An authorized distributor will also know if there is an off-the-shelf part that will work. Either way, involving the distributor early in the process, will allow lead-times and costs for production to be reduced.

Because of the variety of connector manufacturers that distributors work with on a daily basis, they understand which manufacturer will be the best fit for your design. This includes available production capacity, or a manufacturer with particular expertise that is applicable to the performance requirements of your medical device. TTI has even brought together a number of manufacturers to supply a hybrid solution for a design that no one manufacturer had the ability to provide. The experience of the right distributor can go a long way in maximizing the efficiency of your design process.

The best distributors provide flexibility for your production needs, even on custom parts. You may need 10,000 connectors, but do you need them all on the first day of production? The manufacturer wants to do a production run and send them directly to you. But that can be a serious investment in product and inventory space for you. A distributor like TTI can inventory the stock and tailor a just-in-time supply chain management program to give you options for purchasing and for maintaining stock on hand. If the connector is a commercial off-the-shelf component, the distributor typically has other customers ordering that part and purchases significant quantity for inventory stock, providing lower costs through bulk purchasing.

Technology changes every day and part of the business of a distributor is to know the pulse of the market. The industry is constantly working to improve the connectors in medical products by reducing physical size, creating more secure connections, increasing throughput, and reducing noise. To best manage the inventory that is their lifeblood, distributors must be on the cutting edge of advances across their product portfolios. This knowledge will ensure that you aren’t left with a solution that is obsolete before the end of the product life cycle or investing in an unproven technology from an unreliable source.

There is more to your project than just the connector. In some cases the total acquisition cost of the project – assembling the majority of the bill of materials for the device through your distributor partner – can save you money on the entire project. A distributor like TTI can also provide logistical advantages by coordinating your supply chain across the board, ensuring that your production line receives the parts you need, when and where you need them. It is a savings program that grows with the complexity and delivery quantities of your product.

These are just a few of the reasons to call on an authorized distributor when your next medical device project calls for connectors. TTI maintains a 190,000 square foot dedicated, ISO registered, connector facility, with value-add assembly certified to military and aerospace standards, with next day delivery in many cases.

Reprinted with permission from Electronics Sourcing North America.

John Sandy

John Sandy

John Sandy is TTI's Director of Supplier Marketing, North America.

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