Over the course of my 16+ years covering the medical manufacturing supply chain, countless component suppliers have told me that they're not sure of the final application for which their part is being used. It's not something you're likely to hear from Trelleborg Sealing Solutions (Torrance, CA), unless, of course, their customer has asked them not to share any information with nosy journalists. At the Medical Design and Manufacturing (MD&M) East event in New York City last week, Trelleborg talked up elevating the customer relationship beyond a simple transaction via its commitment to applied innovation and a total value of ownership (TVO) approach.
"We emphasize the total cost of ownership," says Jerry Zawada, Life Sciences Segment Manager. "When you buy a part, you have to look beyond the purchase price and consider the total life cycle, the potential cost of recalls, and so forth."
Trelleborg prides itself on establishing partnerships with customers and seeking a deep understanding of how the part will be used and the materials that have been specified for the finished device (and that the seals or gaskets may come into contact with) to ensure the best possible outcome. "We will even walk the production line to observe the assembly process," says Zawada. That attention to detail can highlight improvements in part design that might otherwise escape notice.