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For over 20 years, Marshall Manufacturing has led the way in technologies for the medical device industry. Our mission is to create innovative medical solutions that drive efficiency and impact for our customers. Today, we’re taking a closer look at medical device inventory management and how Marshall can optimize your OEM supply chain. 

As a full-service medical device contract manufacturer, Marshall Manufacturing provides a range of highly customizable solutions for OEMs—including systems that streamline inventory management. To help set you on track for success, let’s discuss how Marshall uses Kanban to identify bottlenecks in the reordering process and deliver value faster. 

What is Kanban?

“Kanban” is a Japanese word that roughly translates to signboard. More importantly, it’s a unique workflow management method that helps manufacturing teams visualize and improve their processes. Kanban was originally used by Toyota Production Systems as a scheduling solution for lean manufacturing. Since then, this system has evolved into a powerful visual tool for companies to promote gradual, non-disruptive improvements to manufacturing workflows. 

At its core, Kanban is very simple. All Kanban boards start with three columns to organize to-do, in-progress and completed tasks. This board is constantly updated as work continues, giving real-time insights on the status of each effort. Kanban boards can be modeled to the exact process a manufacturing team follows—and scale in complexity with the workflows they represent. When properly constructed and analyzed, Kanban boards help to uncover and resolve slowdowns in your manufacturing tasks, improving efficiency and reducing time to market in the process. 

Kanban Inventory Management for Medical OEMs

In the context of inventory management, Kanban assists with the reordering and replenishment of stock. This visual inventory scheduling system ensures that required components and materials are always available—while keeping inventory levels as low as possible. At Marshall Manufacturing, we use Kanban to proactively identify the need for additional stock to maximize efficiency. This system allows us to start and stop production of our manufactured solutions based on the evolving needs of our partners, resulting in more reliable and cost-effective operations. 

The most important benefit of our Kanban inventory management solution is obvious: preventing customers from running out of product. Other advantages of our Kanban system include reduced inventory levels, which contribute to lower stocking and storing costs for your organization overall. Through a partnership with Marshall, your team can use actual customer demand (rather than forecasts) to inform restocking for its precision machined medical devices and surgical instruments.

Getting Started with Kanban

Kanban for medical device inventory management always starts with visualizing the workflow. To begin, you need to create a board that describes each inventory work item—and categorizes them into three pools: to-do, in progress and completed. Whenever you work on a new task, you move it along the board into its appropriate pool—taking note of any tasks that take an excessive amount of time to complete. This system may seem overly simplistic, but it’s one of the best ways to track the progress of work across your supply chain and spot potential bottlenecks.

Marshall Manufacturing uses Kanban to unlock actionable insights on inventory management for our medical OEM partners. Together, we can optimize the efficiency of your ordering and replenishment process to break new ground—and set the stage for optimum manufacturing

Kanban Inventory Management with Marshall

Now that we’ve reviewed the advantages of partnering with Marshall for Kanban inventory management, let’s take a moment to review some key expectations and considerations:

Minimum & Maximum Quantities

Before implementing a Kanban inventory management solution for our customers, we ask the following questions:

  • At what minimum quantity does Marshall begin production?
  • At what maximum quantity does Marshall stop production?


These figures help ensure that each partner we serve receives the appropriate levels of product at all times. We can determine the ideal quantity of materials to keep on hand for your medical device production—and make gradual adjustments as levels of demand shift. 

Costs & Revisions

Partnering with Marshall Manufacturing for a Kanban inventory management solution may involve additional costs. We’ll discuss these charges upfront to ensure your team is comfortable with any changes in compensation before starting. Additionally, there are a few rules and responsibilities regarding inventory revisions we establish from the onset. Namely, customers are held responsible for inventory if a new revision is implemented—as well as if a product is terminated.

Optimize Inventory with Marshall Manufacturing

Ready to learn more about Marshall Manufacturing and how our inventory management tools can help your team drive efficiency? Then don’t hesitate to contact us today. We bring all the capabilities and expertise you’ll need to improve your medical OEM supply chain. You can also connect with us for more insight into Kanban—and how to leverage this innovative workflow management method across your enterprise.