Smiths Group has embraced Value Engineering (VE) as a highly effective way to maximise margins across all its divisions, none more so than at Smiths Medical where a close review of cost-function ratios in production has led to a number of product enhancements.
A prime example is the EpiFuse Catheter Connector which accepts a range of epidural (spinal) needles. After a thorough VE evaluation of costs, productivity and quality, the number of parts used in production was cut by around 70%, resulting in a similar reduction in the cost of production combined with a marked improvement in end-design.
The new, two-material injection moulding process introduced for mass production of the EpiFuse connector enables it to click-lock securely yet unlock easily. The VE focus on improving quality as well as boosting productivity helped develop the one-hand activation for easy use by clinicians and a flat profile for increased patient comfort.
China is at the forefront of Smiths Medical’s drive into emerging markets where the rapidly increasing quality and quantity of healthcare is driving long-term demand for devices and equipment customised to local needs.
A sales recruitment push has almost doubled the Chinese workforce to more than 400 and Smiths Medical’s expanded Hangzhou-based plant is boosting production of its highly popular Graseby 2000 range of infusion pumps.
We achieved double-digit revenue growth in markets such as China, India, the Middle East and Latin America. Recruitment in targeted regions has also been stepped up to support the push for growth.
With subdued growth in North America and Europe, the accelerated investment in marketing, sales, and distribution in emerging economies leaves Smiths Medical well placed to service regions where increasing affluence is matched by improving medical infrastructure and access to healthcare.