Inside Ventec’s IT ramp up to meet ventilator demand

Ventec Life Systems landed a monster ventilator contract, teamed up with GM to open a new factory, and suddenly needed an IT system to match.

Ventec Life Systems was a little, and little-known, medical device manufacturer in the Northwest until the COVID-19 pandemic triggered a huge spike in demand for its VOCSN ventilators. Previously, Ventec had the capacity to make around 3,000 of its multi-function ventilators a year, but in early April it landed a contract from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to deliver 30,000 of them by the end of August.

To meet this demand, Ventec has teamed up with General Motors to open a new factory halfway across the country, and called on Seattle consultancy Slalom for strategic support in scaling up its IT operations.

Gilbert Wong, general manager of Slalom Strategies, answered their call.

“They needed somebody that has seen from end to end, from lead management all the way through support, from call centers all the way through infrastructure,” he says. “I’d been sitting at home for three weeks on Zoom and Teams calls. This seemed like an opportunity that I could actually get involved in myself.”

Through late March, Ventec was quietly developing plans with GM to begin manufacturing its ventilators at a GM factory in Kokomo, Indiana, and somewhat less quietly negotiating with the Trump administration over their delivery.

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