China Policy Impacts EMS

One of the biggest developing problems we have
in our industry today is outsourcing. As everybody goes to China for cheaper
labor, inventory levels become much more difficult to maintain reliably.
Instead of producing products in the US on a regular schedule, “manufacturers”
order product produced abroad much less often. This is due to high minimum run
quantities, many times requiring them to order a full container at a time. When
we ask where our order is, the answer we often hear is, "The Product is on
The Water". It can make a distributor crazy.

A delay in shipment or inaccurate forecasting frequently causes times when
products go back ordered. We are rapidly adapting our system to compensate for
increasingly irregular shipments from our suppliers. But no matter how hard we
try, deliveries are getting less predictable and backorders are more frequent.
The problem is only getting worse, and the list of affected product is getting

Once only the highest volume disposables were made in China. Now even the Ferno
KED is made in China. Most disposable emergency medical supplies on the market
today are produced somewhere in Asia. Everything from C-Collars, Bandages,
BVM’s, Electrodes, IV Sets, – all of these items are all made mostly in China.
Not long ago many of our suppliers produced these products on a regular
production schedule. You could predict
delivery times, which allowed you to plan your orders so you would not run out.
Today deliveries from our suppliers can take almost 6 weeks just in transit. There are many new and constantly changing variables like Customs, FDA, Port Delays, all taking a toll on
reliable delivery times.

Remember when Wal-Mart used to advertise Made in America? Those days are long
gone, and Wal-Mart is now selling mainly Chinese Imports. Well, this market
trend has finally hit the EMS Product Industry hard. The consequences are
increasing dependency on foreign suppliers, less predictable delivery, longer
backorders, and more Americans out looking for a decent job.

The smart EMS Operations Manager should take this issue into account when
establishing supply minimums and supply reserves. Those without supply reserves
will sooner or later run out of something they can’t do without – that is still
somewhere off the coast of Shenzhen "On the Water".


About Dan White

I'm a retired Paramedic and EMS Instructor with 35 years EMS and emergency medical product experience. I love canoes, cars and EMS. I have written a lot about EMS Technology on the Paramedic Blog, the Insights on Innovation column for, on and I can be reached directly at 573-240-0002.
This entry was posted in EMS Equipment & Supplies. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to China Policy Impacts EMS

  1. Nae says:

    Happy Easter, Dan ~
    I pray that this is a weekend that will allow you peace and rest.
    God bless you and keep you,
    Nae  :o)

  2. Arki says:

    The logistics industry had been being all realm that a civil capital can\’t enter before.The policy openned to provide an opportunity with huge market in China now.Native company in China is all weaker in operating the efficiency and the management ability.Face the competitor of the abroad, they are usually indecisive.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s