SAM Medical Positioned for Future Growth

Business Oregon, through its Oregon Trade Promotion Program (OTPP), its Business Retention Services Program and in partnership with the Oregon Manufacturing Extension Partnership (OMEP) helped SAM Medical consolidate its manufacturing facilities, increase productivity and sales, and make global contacts and future business partners.

Founded on the Oregon Coast more than 25 years ago, SAM Medical Products (SAM) develops, manufactures and markets orthopedic splints and wound care devices designed for use by the U.S. military, EMS, outdoor enthusiasts and NASA in space exploration. For the fourth year in a row the company was listed on the Inc. Magazine 5000 list of the fastest growing private companies in America.The company won the 2011 Manufacturer of the Year Award for small businesses by the Portland Business Journal.

In 2008, SAM Medical received a $2,000 OTPP grant from Business Oregon to help company officials attend the 2008 MEDICA show. OTPP grants offer financial assistance to Oregon companies that wish to take advantage of international trade shows and trade missions to enter new markets or expand existing ones around the globe. The MEDICA show featured 4,400 exhibitors from 64 nations and offered a complete range of new products, systems and services for inpatient and outpatient care to 137,200 visitors from more than 100 nations. SAM Medical attributes $10,000 in additional sales to its presence at the MEDICA show. In June 2011, a $2,500 OTPP grant allowed the company to attend the BIO International show in Washington, D.C., which led to introductions and contacts that are expected to generate around $15,000 in additional sales.

"Without the OTPP support we would not have been able to attend the Bio International Show, the grant monies allowed us to make the decision to attend much easier, which, in turn, allowed us to generate good connections and possible business partners that will generate increased sales."
—Adrian Polliack, PhD, President, SAM Medical Products

SAM Medical facing significant domestic and offshore competition, wanted to become more competitive, so they contacted the Oregon Manufacturing Extension Partnership (OMEP) for assistance. OMEP's assessment quickly determined the need to streamline production and administrative processes and to provide improved strategic planning and marketing assistance.

OMEP identified a number of opportunities to streamline production, reduce costs, lead-times and improve quality. A Business Retention Services grant of $12,000 was used to implement improved process and train employees on the new procedures. Specific improvements involved the introduction of continuous flow processing, better workplace organization and improved product yield through standard work and better quality control processes. The most significant improvement came in the form of improved equipment reliability through a diligent Total Productive Maintenance (TPM) effort. After the TPM event was completed, the subject machine set several new daily production records. Manufacturing Manager, Charles Clark boasted that "manufacturing at SAM Medical now meets 95% of orders within 72 hours and we have the ability to increase capacity by 25-30% within just 48 hours."

As a result of OMEP's assistance:

  • Sales increased at 25% (annually compounded rate) for the past two years
  • Production was moved to Wilsonville and the company's two locations were consolidated to one 18,000-square-foot facility
  • Increased productivity by 100%
  • Overtime was eliminated (previously needed to meet work for current "slow production days")
  • Inventory was stabilized and reduced
  • Lead-time was reduced by 33%