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Tecma Talks about the medical device industry supply chain in Tijuana with Ian Monroy

Tecma Talks about  the medical device industry supply chain in Tijuana with Ian Monroy

The medical device industry supply chain in Tijuana can accommodate both simple and complex manufacturing.

Tecma Group of Companies:

Hello and welcome to another installation of Tecma Talk podcast. These, as frequent listeners to these discussions know, are conversations that deal with the topic of manufacturing in Mexico, and issues that are related. Guests are experts that are both internal and external to the Tecma Group of Companies that have expertise in a diversity of areas. Today is no different than any other day in that regard. The individual that we are speaking with today comes to us from outside of the Tecma Group of Companies. His name is Ian Monroy. Ian is an individual that is based in Baja California, Tijuana to be precise. He is well-spoken and well-informed with respect to the supply chain situation and the supplier base that serves the Tijuana and Baja California medical device manufacturing sector. I’d like to welcome you today to Tecma Talk, Ian, and ask that you tell us a little bit about yourself both personally and professionally.

Ian Monroy:

Thank you for the kind introduction. My name is Ian Monroy. I am a season sourcing and supply chain professional with about eighteen years of experience. I hold a Master’s Degree from CETYS Tijuana. I started off in the very different field of international political studies. Live does have its twists, and I ended up working the area of supply chain of industry.

Tecma Group of Companies:

Today, our focus is going to be on the medical device industry. You’ve communicated to me that, over the last several years, that you have become very familiar with the supply chain of the medical device industry. Is that a correct interpretation of comments that you have made in our discussions?

Ian Monroy:

The focus of my comments on the medical device supply chain in Tijuana will be on when I was working for Made in Mexico, that’s a NxStage Medical company out of Boston. NxStage manufactures both the disposable, and the machine, for dialysis therapy. Additionally, we manufactured our own dialysis solution.

When I went to college, I wanted to be a doctor, so, in a way, this is the closest that I have been to studying medicine. I became involved with NxStage. We started off with zero medical device industry supplier base in Tijuana. Since all of our vendors were based on the East Coast, we started moving some vendors, or products better yet, to the West Coast to California and to Baja. That is how I became involved with the medical device industry here in Baja California.

I started participating in the Tijuana-Baja California Medical Cluster, which is a group of companies that are related to the manufacture of medical devices here in Tijuana and Baja California. I became their supply chain committee coordinator.

Tecma Group of Companies:

Between the medical device experience and that which you have had with the medical device cluster organization in Tijuana, you have a broad overview of what is there in terms of both the industry and the industry that constitutes the Tijuana medical device industry supply chain. That second point is what we are interested in learning more about today. First, however, it would be good if you could give us an overview of what the industry looks like in terms of its diversity and role in the local manufacturing economy? I’m sure that the listeners would find that information to be interesting.

Ian Monroy:

The medical device industry has been resident in Baja California and Tijuana for more than twenty-five years. It had its start in the very simple assembly of disposable medical products. Since the beginning, however, the industry has evolved. We have grown at the that has reflected growing demands from American OEMs in terms of increasing complexity in the manufacturing process. We went be on strict assembly and began doing molding, medical device molding, that is. I mean the type of molding that requires a clean tool room and an ISO certification, as well as all the processes that are related to these demands. Additionally, the Tijuana medical device supply chain developed the capability to sterilize the products of the items that were being manufactured locally. Years ago,

product was sterilized in the United States, and engineers were not involved in the validation protocols that are required for sterilization operations. Nowadays there are Mexican engineers present in most of the companies that manufacture disposable devices that come into contact with blood. These engineers have the knowledge to establish acceptable protocols, and know how to validate medical device sterilization operations.

What I am trying to say is that we started off with rudimentary products, and, over time, the medical device industry supply chain in Tijuana has become stronger in terms of knowledge, resources and processes. We have started to automate processes, as well. Today, the medical device industry supply chain in Tijuana does not only consist only of people on a production line, but also consists of robotic arms and machines that do automated assembly. These new capabilities have made the medical device industry supply chain in Tijuana more robust compared to other markets that do medical device manufacturing in other parts of the world such as Southeast Asia or South America. That is how things have changed over the years.

Tecma Group of Companies:

That was a good overview of both the evolution of the activities that go on in the medical device industry supply chain in Tijuana, as well as the technology that is used to carry them out. Whatwe want to get at today, very specifically, we want to look at things from the perspective of a company from any part of the world that wants to be an OEM, or become a part of the medical device industry supply chain in Tijuana. If they are looking at Tijuana, what can they expect to find in the region in terms of a manufacturing and supplier base that can help them to achieve their manufacturing goals?

Ian Monroy:

In the medical device industry supply chain in Tijuana, companies can find extrusion on both sides of the border. There are companies that are doing extrusion for blood lines and other complicated operations. This is being done in a clean room environment. Some of the companies that are here doing this have a solid ten or fifteen years of experience. A good range of molding can be found. This extends from a lower range of 10 or 15 tons to up to 400 tons. These things, as well, are done in a clean room environment. The companies that are engaged in this are using almost all type of resins. In the medical device industry supply chain in Tijuana, there are no restrictions in the types of molding services that are available to those that need them. Medical device molding can be done in a clean room and in a controlled environment.

We also have the availability of CNC machining. There are pcb and wire harness manufacturers in the medical device industry supply chain in Tijuana, as well.

Previously, I mentioned the increasing complexity of the type of manufacturing for the medical device industry in Tijuana. Increasingly, companies here are involved in the manufacturing of hand held devices. Some of these devices are both hand held and disposable. Now, the increasing complexity and completeness of the medical device industry supply chain in Tijuana has even created an environment in which capital equipment can be manufactured. These items need electronics, machining and molding of parts and wire harnesses. In most cases, the OEMs make only a certain portion of the device, the rest is being sourced here in Tijuana and Baja This is more effective. We now have suppliers in the medical device industry supply chain in Tijuana that can do, as mentioned earlier, molding to meet any requirements, machining, wire harness manufacturing and, even though it is in its beginning stages, micro-molding. Micro-molding is something new. Micro-molding is employed in the manufacture of ear pieces for hearing aids. This is an indication that the Mexican engineers that are running the molds and the machines are now capable of that are setting up a machine that will do micro-molding. This complexity, to me, is an indication as to the degree to which the industry has evolved.

We can also do disposable bags, either for IV, or for Uline solutions. Additionally the medical device industry supply chain in Tijuana has plastics thermoforming capabilities. These can be manufactured either in a clean room environment, or under controlled conditions. Almost any type of manufacturing process that is involved in the making of both disposables and capital equipment
here in Tijuana.

With the three companies that are now here, we are expanding into the area of Pharma. For instance, this includes dialysis solution for related treatment and therapies. What is the medical device industry supply chain in Tijuana is becoming more complete.

Tecma Group of Companies:

The range and breadth that you have in terms of the market and the availability of suppliers is both very wide and impressive. Often we receive inquiries from companies that have to do with, not only the products that they wish to manufacture, but also are looking for information on the capabilities of available suppliers’. How would listeners of this podcast that may be in such a position contact you directly in order to ask questions about this?

Ian Monroy:

They can find my profile on LinkedIn. They can also contact my consultancy at bajabusinessdev@gmail.com. My personal email will work, as well. It is ianmg@yahoo.com.

The Tecma Group of Companies:

Thank you for making yourself available to our listeners.

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