Mastering the Medical Device Supply Chain: An Interview with Enrico Lionello, Supply Chain Manager

January 3, 2024 / Leadership Insights

Can you briefly describe your role as Supply Chain Manager at ICS Medical Devices?

  • As Supply Chain Manager, I’m responsible for shaping the Supply Chain of an extremely dynamic and fast-growing company. 
  • Among my responsibilities lie planning for growth and foreseeing future development of the supply chain. Evaluating suppliers and creating Win-Win relationships with them.  
  • I’m also currently working on an ERP implementation. The main objective of this implementation is to create a good flow of goods and services while reviewing the process to acquire and manage these goods and services. In other words, the right amount of goods at the right time at the right price. 

What are the key challenges and complexities specific to managing the supply chain in the medical device industry? How do you address these challenges? 

  • The typical challenges would vary from company to company and from time to time. However, there are challenges that all companies are facing at the moment. For example, Covid created extremely complex chain reaction and constraints (shortages). When factories re-started production they also had to face a bidding war in order to conquer some shipping space aboard planes and ships. 
  • In our case, the biggest challenge is probably forecasting purchases for the long term since we work with growing companies (customers) with growing needs and we must be flexible to move with our customers changing environment and ensure we have the correct goods and materials on time to carry out these projects.

What strategies or initiatives are you currently implementing to enhance sustainability and reduce the environmental impact of the supply chain at ICS Medical Devices? 

  • Myself and ICS as a whole are very committed to sustainability. We are constantly exploring new possible ways to reduce our impact. ICS is actively taking action by working with our suppliers to also leverage a change on their side. 
  • For example: 
  • -ICS is promoting and supporting Active Travel. 
  • -ICS is re-using all packaging as much as possible. 
  • -We use recyclable packing. 
  • -ICS offsets our carbon footprint by working closely with our transport partner. 
  • -Recycle all materials appropriately. 
  • -Reduce waste internally. 
  • -Being energy efficient internally

Looking ahead, what trends or changes do you foresee in the medical device supply chain? How is ICS Medical Devices preparing for these changes? 

  • We have already seen over the past 4 years an inversion of trend. Many industry sectors are reversing the outsourcing trends and are bringing sourcing and manufacturing back to Europe. Where possible, companies are insulating themselves against the uncertainties of having suppliers or sub-suppliers all on one continent. In other words, if you solely rely on one supplier based in a different continent you will have very little control over the supply chain. For example, in the news when we again heard about delays at the Panama Canal due to drought, obliging ships to queue for a longer than planned time.  Other disruptions include those coming from the mounting attacks in the Red Sea. These attacks are disrupting maritime trade as leading global freight firms reroute around the Cape of Good Hope to avoid the Suez canal.
  • ICS Medical wants and needs to ensure business continuity for its customers. We therefore work with local suppliers (where possible) to meet the highest quality standards and ensure timely communication and responses to our customers’ demands. 

– Enrico Lionello, Supply Chain Manager

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