Rising to the Challenge: How MAXAIR Systems Helped Protect Healthcare Workers During COVID-19

What’s the first thing you picture when you think about the COVID-19 pandemic? It’s probably masks. The shortage of protective devices made everyone uneasy—especially healthcare workers on the front line of the fight to overcome the deadly virus. 

For Bio-Medical Devices, International, increasing production during COVID-19 wasn’t just a matter of adjusting to demand. It was an imperative for saving lives. The company’s MAXAIR® Powered Air Purifying Respirators (PAPRs) provide respiratory protection against airborne particulates. Doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals rely on these battery-powered, helmet-style respirators to prevent exposure to COVID-19. 

When the pandemic caused sales to increase to five or six times their usual levels, Bio-Medical Devices needed a way to ensure it could manage its supply chain effectively so that it could produce enough MAXAIR CAPR units to meet the exploding demand. That’s when Bio-Medical Devices reached out to Jeff Bower, who mobilized his Demand Solutions team and delivered the solution the company needed—just in time.

From Inquiry to Live System in Less Than Three Weeks

Sometimes it takes massive changes in the market to drive a company to improve its processes. For Bio-Medical Devices, that push came when the company faced a critical shortage of the capacity and supply it needed to meet increased demand. 

Before the company could even address this issue, though, it needed to focus on revamping an outdated ordering process. For years, hospitals had emailed or faxed their orders to the company’s Irvine, California headquarters, where staff would manually enter them into a Sage software platform. 

What Bio-Medical Devices needed most was a way to allocate its inventory and supplies based on rules, rather than best estimates. The main problem? A forecasting process that couldn’t prevent bottlenecks. The company often found itself on the verge of shipping MAXAIR CAPR units--only to have to halt the process because a key part was on backorder from a supplier.  

Capacity shortages. Supply shortages. Forecasting challenges. Production bottlenecks. And a pandemic that had caused an explosion in demand. To an outsider, these challenges may have seemed too diverse--and too severe--for Bio-Medical Devices to address with a single supply chain planning solution. But Jake Herbert, the company’s COO and legal counsel, addressed these challenges by calling Demand Management’s toll-free number. 

He called on a Monday evening. By the end of the week, the company had seen a demo of Demand Solutions Requirements Planning and Demand Solutions Deploy, thanks to Jeff Bower and his team. Within eight days, Bio-Medical Devices was live on the platform. 

Prioritizing Orders to Help Save Lives

Demand Solutions isn’t just helping Bio-Medical Devices increase its overall production. The platform shows the company the smartest ways to prioritize production so that it can meet the needs of the markets hardest hit by COVID-19. Meanwhile, service to other markets stays above acceptable levels. The company’s customer service and sales teams now set prioritization rules that ensure accurate promise dates for customers across the nation. 

This prioritization isn’t just a matter of profitability--it’s a matter of life and death. Healthcare workers depend on Bio-Medical Devices products, and Demand Solutions helps the company deliver:

Priority 1: Hot-zone areas where COVID-19 has hit hardest
Priority 2: Customers providing healthcare and emergency response
Priority 3: All other orders, filled on a first-come, first-served basis 

With a clear view of the supply that has been specially assigned to each demand, Bio-Medical Devices’ sales and customer service staff have all the information they need to offer accurate promise dates. As Demand Solutions works, it disregards certain inventory from consideration so that the company is never in danger of losing its safety stock. 

Thanks to Demand Solutions, Bio-Medical Devices isn’t just putting out fires--it’s planning for the future. Not only has the company coordinated its overall operations to meet demand, but its decision-makers are also getting the real-time data they need to forecast more effectively. Gone are the days when one missing part would hold up an entire batch of products from shipping.  

4x-5x Production Becomes the New Normal

To meet the surge in demand during COVID-19, Bio-Medical Devices has quadrupled its customer service staff. Increased its raw materials orders to the highest possible levels. Accelerated production to maximum capacity. And researched ways to expand into new manufacturing facilities. All by going from initial inquiry to live solution in just three weeks.

We commend the entire Bio-Medical Devices team for innovating in ways that helped them coordinate operations, master inventory allocation, and make better decisions. We at Demand Management are honored to be a part of this remarkable company’s success—and we look forward to continuing to help them save lives around the globe.