Supply Chain Management
Edwards Lifesciences’ Supply Chain Management practices supports our Aspiration to Transform Patient Care Through Innovative Technologies.
To create industry-leading therapies for cardiovascular disease, we rely on our suppliers. We know supply chain performance can directly impact the quality and innovation of Edwards’ products. With just over 400 direct material suppliers, Edwards is highly selective when evaluating and adding new suppliers to our portfolio. These include suppliers of the following materials and services:
- Extruded tubing and extrusions
- Packaging materials
- Electronic assemblies and cables
- Contract manufacturing
- Bovine pericardial tissue
- Precision machining components
- Injection molded components
Localizing Supply and Distribution
Edwards protects both the environment and our bottom line by sourcing materials close to our manufacturing sites. Where possible, we strategically align distribution facilities with the global markets we serve, reducing the costs and environmental impacts of transportation. Our supply base is primarily located in North America.
Supply Base by Region
- North America
- Latin America/Caribbean
Edwards requires all suppliers to employ ethical and responsible business practices. We adhere to the California Transparency in Supply Chains Act of 2010 by disclosing our actions to prevent human trafficking and slavery. Our Responsible Supply Chain Policy outlines our approach and expectations for suppliers, which include:
- Fair labor practices
- Environmental responsibility
- Workplace health and safety
- Ethical practices
- Protection of human rights
- Socially responsible behavior
- Legal compliance
Our future goal is to connect with our top 10 suppliers to provide additional training and patient interactions. Through this, we aim to provide our suppliers with enhanced awareness of quality issues and engagement with our mission to serve patients. We’ve also developed supplier metrics which include quality levels and expectations that each of our preferred suppliers must meet. These include:
- ISO Certification where applicable
- Completion of comprehensive quality audit with no critical findings
- Minimum lot acceptance rate
- Minimum scar-free rate
- Minimum performance on good delivery and service levels
Assessing and Monitoring Supply Chain Risk
Before partnering with suppliers, Edwards conducts a comprehensive risk evaluation. Certain suppliers require on-site assessment of facilities and quality control systems. Once approved, we periodically conduct supplier audits and performance reviews to ensure continual adherence to our standards. For every new part established for use, the supplier completes a form through which they must disclose the material inputs to their products.Edwards evaluates potential risks due to location and country regulations. We prefer doing business in countries with higher ethical standards and protection for information technology and intellectual property. This reduces the chance of sustainability violations that could impact our stakeholders and business. Edwards also uses a risk monitoring tool that provides updates on our suppliers’ business developments, acquisitions and credit performance. Our team sets automatic alerts so important information is forwarded immediately to the right employee at Edwards.
Edwards continually works to localize our supply base and distribution centers. Freight is the largest component of our distribution costs. We have reduced these costs by shifting freight from air to ocean, eliminating warehouses, consolidating shipments and increasing our direct shipments to regions. Over 90 percent of Edwards’ global freight is with our strategic partners, who have sustainability programs in place and monitor their impact.
In 2015, Edwards Lifesciences received FDA approval for use of our SAPIEN 3 heart valve in the United States. We designed the SAPIEN 3 for transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR), an innovative and minimally invasive procedure. Clinical trials have shown that TAVR reduces patient risk of mortality and other post-operation complications.1