Why Industry Partnerships Are Critical for Successful Dialysis Medtech Disruption


If a small manufacturing organization wants to be a disruptor, embracing industry 4.0 is essential. Marc Nash, VP of Manufacturing at Outset Medical, spoke with DisruptED’s Ron Stefanski on the importance of advanced manufacturing in his organization’s mission to improve dialysis.

Experts often told Nash that only sizeable medical device manufacturers could tackle something as momentous as dialysis, but that is no answer for a disruptor; that’s a challenge.

“You don’t need to have a team of a hundred software developers building out applications for you,” Nash said. “You could start with two or three. You didn’t need monolithic systems that have been out there for a decade. You could take a more agile start-up approach to these projects.”

When Outset Medical started its journey to make an in-home dialysis device, it partnered with Tulip, a frontline operations platform. This partnership helped Outset develop homegrown applications.

“We flipped that paradigm,” Nash said. “We said, we’re going to give it to the process engineers that are going to have to support our operators who build the product, so you better build those applications as good as you can because you’re going to have to support it on the backend. It’s been a huge success thus far.”

Getting employees invested in an advanced manufacturing operation system is essential to its success.

“What we did was brought in not only our managers but our supervisors and employees who work on the floor; we brought them in from day one to learn about the system, for them to participate in designing the different applications we use,” Nash said. “Every single time we release a change to the floor before we release that change, it goes through an operator review to ensure the way we describe it, and the way it’s written is correct, easy for them to understand, and it’s usable.”

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