Help your company overcome the burdens of inadequate data.
Managing data is an enormous challenge in the medical equipment technology market. Companies are burdened with inaccurate, inconsistent, inaccessible, and redundant data. These problems result in unnecessarily high data management costs; slow product deliveries; errors across supply chains, databases, and business processes; and excessive noncompliance with stringent healthcare regulations.
To overcome these flaws, companies need to embrace master data management (MDM), a set of disciplines and processes for ensuring accurate, complete, timely, unified, and consistent classification of data. Using MDM can accelerate data exchange within corporations and to third parties such as customers, suppliers, and regulators; reduce data duplication; expedite product deliveries; and reduce information delivery costs.
Three issues linked to MDM are particularly important: pursuing a “single version of the truth,” regulatory compliance, and the importance of analytics. This article details each of these elements.
Pursuing a Single Version of the Truth
Master data includes information about customers, products, employees, materials, and suppliers. The data permeates an entire company and, if managed correctly, can influence decisions in numerous functional areas such as customer relationship management, sales and service management, finance, and human resources. Managing this data entails consolidating and organizing corporate information into one easily accessible database giving corporate employees “a single version of the truth.” This means a trusted, consistent, and unified data source used for intra- and inter-enterprise purposes gathered from numerous internal databases. This single data source drives processes and decision making, creates competitive advantage, and enables companies to pursue strategic initiatives with greater confidence.
Regulatory Compliance Benefits of MDM
Due to the life-saving nature of medical devices such as magnetic resonance imaging devices, sonograms, and pacemakers, regulatory compliance is of paramount importance. Regulations are stringent and strictly enforced, and adherence to them cannot be overemphasized. As such, companies need to keep accurate and efficient quality control systems including record-keeping. Before and after devices are launched on the market, manufacturers must adhere to extensive requirements and regulations. MDM disciplines and processes enable them to reduce regulatory compliance risks by maintaining historical tracking of device changes, delivering current and correct compliance data, and providing accurate and timely supply chain information.
MDM and Analytics
Analytics are becoming increasingly important in this industry. MDM provides the foundation for successful analytics by enabling companies to divide their customer segments into target customer groups with similar needs and characteristics, and to classify target group customers by their sales potential, profitability, and strategic importance. This segmentation helps companies devise a customer-specific marketing and sales approach based on individual customers’ buying behavior and campaign responsiveness and attractiveness. By using this approach, companies can complete more efficient up-selling and cross-selling campaigns, and generate more revenues.
|An example of a three-stage approach to MDM. Click on graphic for larger view.
Three Phases to the MDM Process
To implement MDM processes, medical equipment companies need to divide their approach into three distinct phases in which benefits can be realized at each stage. The following are those three approaches:
1. Understand and Analyze. Companies need to begin with a strategy and value analysis aimed at gaining insight into specific business goals and their current data management situation. This process enables them to develop a clear case for change, obtaining high-level commitment, drawing up a long term roadmap, and articulating the value they intend to realize leveraging MDM.
2.Define and Prepare. Framed in the context of business goals, companies should develop an MDM strategy that embodies its future vision for data management, taking into account external requirements from trading partners, customers, and regulatory authorities. Developing this strategy provides the basis for creating an enterprise design for MDM that deals with client-specific needs and requirements, and defines specific organizational areas to be addressed by the new MDM strategy.
3. Implement. The most difficult step in the process is the implementation phase, which involves making the new MDM strategy a reality throughout the enterprise. During this phase, companies should expand MDM implementation and embed new processes company wide. This phase includes transforming processes, recommending automation where appropriate, integrating business rules, and cleansing existing data, implementing measurements for compliance, and, most importantly, synchronizing people and business processes to ensure high-quality information on an ongoing basis. Implementing these processes will lead to full-scale, company-wide master data management.
Using MDM should not be solely focused on improving data quality or data technology efficiencies for short-term gain. The vision and execution should be broader and more strategic: MDM should align strategy, process, technology, and change management to drive long-term strategic decision making. Breakthrough innovation remains the largest determinant of success in the medical technology industry. In today’s global business landscape, where one version of the truth must exist across a company’s many far-flung locations, MDM is no longer an option; it’s a practice that is imperative to achieve high performance.
Armin Meissner is a senior executive with Accenture's Electronics & High-Tech group. He is the global leader for the firm’s Medical Equipment Technology segment. His expertise includes supply chain management along the entire chain, covering a fairly wide range of functional domains such as procurement, materials management, warehousing, planning, distribution, and service management. He is focused on the Austria, Switzerland, and Gemany markets. He holds a master degree in industrial engineering and business administration. He is based in Munich and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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