“Millstone started in 2000 as a non-sterile packaging company,” states Tom Williams, General Manager, Fall River. “We have since grown to provide multiple medical device services. We employ just over 500 people at three sites. Our major milestones? In 2008 we expanded to our distribution facility in Memphis, Tennessee. In 2009, we expanded into a new facility in Fall River, Massachusetts, to increase our clean room capacity. In 2014, we expanded our Fall River facility to add a second clean room and we also expanded to a 150,000 sq ft distribution facility. We've also invested in developing a package testing laboratory in house.”
Brad Schwarz, General Manager, Olive Branch, adds: “We increased our space in Olive Branch in 2015 by adding another 125,000 sq ft to our facility, increasing our total to 276,000 sq ft.”
Such facilities are key to the services that Millstone offers today. “In our Fall River facility, we do post-manufacturing services. We can conduct packaging validations. We can inspect clean and sterile package medical devices, so as to ensure our customers’ products are getting to market as safely and efficiently as possible,” Williams advises.
Focus on quality
Millstone offers clean room packaging, medical device specific warehousing, finished goods distribution, loaner kit management, advanced inspection and after-market services – all with an unparalleled focus on quality. “I'd say we have a highly developed quality system,” Williams notes. Backing this up are a number of registrations and certifications, including FDA registration, ISO 13485 registration and VAWD (Verified-Accredited Wholesale Distributor) accreditation.
“We're proud of the initiatives that we've taken to improve Millstone’s overall quality system that truly considers the customer in all phases of the business. We've recently completed a fully electronic quality control system throughout the entire supply chain,” explains Peter Huie, VP Supply Chain and Facilities.
Such a strong commitment to quality has clearly been key to Millstone’s success over the years. “Our ability to be nimble, is number one. We are able to create processes, and quality processes, quickly,” advises Williams. “And our focus on quality has definitely been the biggest driver of our success, the fact that our customers can come into our facility and understand immediately that we match their commitment to quality.”
Alongside quality sits a commitment to customer service that has helped Millstone to achieve such success. “I think one of the things we like to pride ourselves on as well is that Millstone has never lost a major customer. So, I think that's a tribute to our culture of quality and our culture of customer service being our number one priority,” Huie enthuses.
This culture within Millstone drives everything that the company does. “We are a relatively flat organization, where we empower individuals to make the right decision, and the right decision, ultimately, is what is right for the patient,” Williams advises. “The products that we touch on a daily basis impact the lives of patients, and we ensure that our culture drives decision making but ensures that we are living up to our obligation to service that patient.”
A strategic approach
In order to maintain such high standards, Millstone relies on its workforce, and in turn has put in place measures to help attract the best candidates. “We've recently invested in a senior level human resources person. We're taking a more strategic approach where we're approaching schools, colleges, to get a pipeline of qualified, competitive candidates,” comments Williams. “So, our approach is to get the best possible people early in their career and help them develop.”
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Millstone’s trained industry personnel, state-of-the-art equipment and effective processes and protocols provide an all-encompassing solution for medical device manufacturers. “We can manage the entire back end of a client’s supply chain, meaning we can do all of their distribution needs, from finished goods to loaner kits. Loaner kits being the instruments that are used to deliver the implants. We can turn those around, bring those in, inspect them, replenish them, have them ready for another surgery within 24 hours, and ship those out,” advises Schwarz.
“We can also bring in field returns. As the field compiles inventory, they can send them back to us and we can inspect it, repackage it if necessary and put it back in the inventory. And we can also do mechanical inspection of brand new products, so right from the manufacturer, do a full mechanical inspection, and then package them up again and have that ready to go out for surgeries.”
Already supplying domestically and to Canada, Millstone plans to expand its footprint in the future, targeting the EU within the next 18-24 months. “The plan is to expand internationally, as well as expand the service offerings that we're providing. We're concentrated in orthopedics, today, and our plan is to explore different verticals which require the same high levels of quality and process controls that we deliver today.” Williams concludes.