Medstrom Healthcare: A success story

Learning from mistakes: How leading UK specialist bed manufacturer Medstrom refused to take Quality Assurance defects lying down.

In the competitive landscape of healthcare equipment manufacturing, companies must continuously strive for quality assurance to deliver premium products and maintain customer satisfaction. This case study explores how Medstrom Healthcare, a prominent UK specialist bed manufacturer, transformed their approach to Quality Assurance (QA) defects and gained a lasting competitive advantage. By revolutionising their QA management information, Medstrom was able to improve production quality, reduce costs, and achieve highly responsive delivery times for their customers. This case study delves into the journey Medstrom embarked upon, the challenges they faced, and the valuable insights they gained by addressing the root causes of production defects.

Background and Challenges

Medstrom Healthcare, as the second largest service provider of Total Bed Management solutions to the UK’s National Health Service (NHS), operates numerous service contracts
covering over 70 hospitals. To enhance supply chain visibility, improve production quality, and mitigate Brexit-related uncertainties, Medstrom opened a factory in the UK in 2019.
However, they soon encountered an issue with the visibility of their QA information. While defect data was collected through post-production surveys, the lack of proper reporting and feedback mechanisms hindered the identification of trends and timely resolution of defects. Given the critical nature of the products—acute care beds for vulnerable patients—their reputation and patient outcomes were at stake.

The Case for Change

Recognising the need for a transformative solution, Medstrom engaged with Wizard Commercial Analytics, a trusted provider of industry-leading mobile applications for data
analysis. Collaborative meetings and visits between the two teams allowed a deep understanding of Medstrom’s specific requirements and enabled the development of a
tailored solution.

Wizard Commercial Analytics followed lean development principles, conducting short development sprints to ensure rapid content delivery and iterative feedback incorporation.

Developing the Product

During the development process, Wizard Commercial Analytics focused on creating an intuitive mobile application that retained the look and feel of the original QA survey form.
This design ensured minimal disruption to production upon deployment. A key innovation was colour coding the questions in the application to highlight the sections driving the most defects, enabling the factory team to identify and address critical issues. Moreover, real-time defect visibility was provided on the same tablet devices used for QA surveys, empowering the factory floor with immediate feedback and the opportunity for corrective actions.

Learning from Mistakes and Launching the Solution

Despite the successful development of the solution, Medstrom encountered challenges regarding the integration of the new process with their existing IT systems. This issue
highlighted the importance of engaging internal IT teams from the outset to address concerns and ensure seamless integration. With adjustments made to the product based on
stakeholder feedback, the final application was ready to be deployed. Early data entry issues were swiftly identified and resolved through remote monitoring and targeted training by the Wizard team.

Benefits and Analysis

The implemented Virtual Production Manager (VPM) application revolutionised Medstrom’s QA process, providing real-time information, improving communication, and driving efficiency.

The intuitive and visually appealing design facilitated data-driven production stand-up meetings and helped identify areas for improvement. With the live production data readily available, the team could assess their progress towards daily production targets, enabling timely adjustments to maintain efficiency.

Analysing the defect data revealed insights into specific QA survey questions driving the majority of defects. This information allowed the team to prioritise improvement efforts and implement lasting solutions.

By employing lean and Six Sigma methodologies, Medstrom’s team used the data to drive a culture of continuous improvement and reduce rework.

As a result, the company saw a significant increase in production rate, achieving a 300% boost to meet the demands of the COVID-19 pandemic while maintaining exceptional quality standards.

In Summary

Medstrom’s journey from a lack of QA visibility to a data-driven, efficient process demonstrates the transformative power of addressing defects head-on. By embracing real-time information and collaboration, Medstrom Healthcare successfully elevated their QA practices, improving production quality, reducing costs, and ensuring responsive delivery
times. The partnership with Wizard Commercial Analytics showcased the importance of understanding client needs and building tailored solutions that integrate seamlessly with
existing processes. Medstrom’s success story serves as a testament to the value of continuous learning and proactive QA practices in manufacturing industries. Through their
dedication to quality assurance, Medstrom Healthcare has solidified their position as a leader in the specialist bed manufacturing industry, setting a high standard for their competitors to follow.

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