New AdvaMed, Deloitte Semiconductor Chip Study Looks at Impact of Shortages on Medtech
WASHINGTON – Deloitte released the findings of a follow-up survey of medical device manufacturers that found since the initial survey in July 2021 that semiconductor disruptions continue across multiple chip types and medtech companies are more pessimistic, facing depleted inventory, reduced manufacturing, and extended lead times.
The study, which was commissioned by the Advanced Medical Technology Association (AdvaMed), found that medtech companies are doing their best to react to ongoing pressures, including by increasing stocking levels, seeking alternative sources of supply, and utilizing alternative transportation options. However, 75 percent of respondents reported that their customers are turning to alternative treatment types, alternate products, and new strategies.
“One of the key issues AdvaMed has been working on since the outset of this pandemic has been ensuring that the health care sector is prioritized by chip manufacturers and suppliers, and this study paints a clear picture as to why. Our members are developing lifesaving and innovative treatments for patients, and without the necessary components, it is becoming difficult to get these products into the hands of health care professionals,” said Scott Whitaker, AdvaMed President and CEO. “A failure to strengthen the chips supply line to medtech companies could result in a shortage of the medical devices and technology that millions of patients rely on every day, resulting in a crisis on par with what we are seeing with baby formula right now. We are encouraged by the efforts made by the Biden Administration in recent months to address our concerns head-on, and we look forward to continue working with them and our partners to put patients first.”
According to the survey, medtech companies have taken many steps to mitigate risks and navigate semiconductor chip shortages, including:
- Consider alternative suppliers: More than half of our most recent survey respondents said they previously relied on a single source for 75% of their chip supply. All of them are now pursuing alternative sources.
- Evolve broker relationships: In the past, medtech manufacturers had little need for brokers. Now, nearly one-third of respondents said they have reached out to brokers as an alternate source of supply. Some companies have turned to brokers because they don’t have any other way to acquire the semiconductors they need for their products. Additionally, brokers can provide safeguards against counterfeits, which has become more of a challenge since our first survey.
- Increase inventory: In the past, medical device manufacturers usually didn’t stock a large chip inventory. For example, 13% of respondents said they did not have a chip inventory prior to the pandemic. That has since changed. More than 70% of respondents said they have recently increased their semiconductor inventory levels.
- Focus on agility: Building speed and flexibility into component substitutions—through planning, manufacturing, and regulatory processes—could make it easier for manufacturers to switch to alternate suppliers when needed. Many companies are revalidating components to increase sourcing options even though the process can be cumbersome.
- Use digitization to enhance supply chain visibility: There are typically multiple tiers between a medtech company and the chip manufacturers. Since our 2021 survey, most companies have increased their multi-tier visibility. Increased visibility can help medtech companies identify issues more quickly, which can mitigate risk. Digitization of the supply chain can provide visibility from the suppliers all the way to the customer and help enable a quicker response. Advanced analytics could enhance the ability to be more proactive in every step of the supply chain.
In the last six months, AdvaMed has organized meetings and roundtable discussions for medtech manufacturers to discuss the semiconductor chip issue with Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, Deputy Secretary of Commerce Don Graves, and the Semiconductor Industry Association.
Earlier this year, AdvaMed announced its involvement in the Biden Administration’s Joint Supply Chain Resilience Working Group. The working group was convened to assist in the implementation of the National Strategy for a Resilient Public Health Supply Chain. Additionally, AdvaMed’s Abby Pratt has been named to the executive committee of the working group. More than 125 industry and government partners have come together to establish the Joint Supply Chain Resilience Working Group as a formal working group of the Critical Infrastructure Partnership Advisory Council.