Five manufacturing services companies that mostly have a presence in Minnesota’s medtech hub have joined forces to help small to mid-size OEMs start getting their products off the ground.
Calling themselves the Medical Device Development Collaborative (MD2C), the group’s members include:
- Intelligent Product Solutions, a New York-based product design and engineering company specializing in smart, embedded systems.
- Borderless Compliance, LLC, an Osseo, MN, regulatory requirements and systems consulting company;
- South Dakota Partners, an electronics manufacturing, assembly, and distribution company in Clear Lake, SD;
- Protoduction Inc., a product design and prototyping for electronics, in Edina, MN;
- Velocity Group, an injection molding and machining company near Cincinnati, OH.
Intelligent Product Solutions, which has engineers in Minneapolis and Seattle, is the face of the six-month-old collaborative by virtue of its design capabilities, which smaller OEMs often seek help with first. But any of the collaborative members can take the lead on a project, depending upon the OEM’s needs and stage of product development.
The owners of the companies had some shared experiences that led them to form MD2C, according to Andrew Stelmack of the Velocity Group. The shift toward data and analytics in medical devices had led several of their customers to outsource of product design and development. Clients were also frequently asking for referrals to firms that can help them with the next steps. The would-be collaborative realized that having this network in place could help OEMs eliminate the costly and time-consuming search for the next right partner.
“A lot of companies that are out there are really just are missing a broad swath of internal capabilities,” Stelmack told MD+DI. “We realize there’s value in not just a referral and a handoff but having a group of companies that we work with on a regular basis, and we become one integrated capability.”
The Medical Alley Association, Minnesota’s medtech trade group, was instrumental in bringing the coalition partners together, Stelmack added. While it’s not the first collaborative of its kind in medtech, MD2C is informal in that it does not require OEMs to fit into a particular model to become clients.
The group recognized that product design and final assembly are what most OEMs want “right next door,” while having parts fabrication in another state was less important, Stelmack added.
“The whole point was to try to pull together the complete end-to-end set of services. That’s the part that a lot of OEMs prefer, so they're not having to build those capabilities but also not having to spend a lot of time managing all these vendors,” he said. “Once we recognize their needs and program requirements, then we’ll put together the right parts of the team to work with the company. We keep it lean and keep it focused on the value that the customer actually needs.”