Thinking Outside the Box at MD&M West 2012

How did you elevate your strategic partnerships at MD&M West?

February 16, 2012

5 Min Read
Thinking Outside the Box at MD&M West 2012

BY Tricia Rodewald 

In an era of stringent FDA regulations, limitations to innovation and a looming medical device tax, outside-the-box thinking is what ultimately enables medical technology companies to offer the most value to customers and patients.

 

This is why our company, Pro-Dex, Inc., a medical device design, development and contract manufacturer, looks to maximize trade show events, like MD&M West, by aligning with companies that demonstrate creative problem-solving, processes and strategic partnerships.

 

Two companies that we met at this year’s MD&M West whose technologies and tenets reflect out-of-the-box thinking are: Source Scientific (Irvine, CA) and Minnetronix (St. Paul, MN).

 

 

Source Scientific
 

Efficient processes are crucial to a medical technology company’s ability to remain competitive and effective. Source Scientific, a medical device contract engineering and manufacturing company, shared four strategies that they’ve integrated to enhance their core competencies.

 

1. Scrum. The Scrum process provides a collaborative framework in which to compress design and development time frames. By implementing Scrum into their development process, Source Scientific has a structured strategy for continuous improvement.

 

“In Scrum, the project team tackles the highest priority items in manageable, “time-boxed” chunks—usually one week to thirty days—called “Sprints,” explains Steve Maylish, Vice President of Business Development at Source Scientific. “After these short duration milestones are completed, the team reflects on how the project is going, what’s working, what’s not and makes necessary adjustments before moving forward. This process supports the whole group working together more effectively.”

(Find out more about Scrum and how it can be applied to the medical technology industry)

 

 

2. Kaizen. Where Scrum brings efficiency to product development, Kaizen, a Japanese word meaning “change for the better,” is a practice that centers on continuous improvement of the manufacturing process.

 

“The five phases of Kaizen are sorting, straightening, systematic cleaning, standardizing, and sustaining. These are really built around being consistent and having discipline and order that you can build upon,” shares Maylish. “Once you’ve got those elements in place, you’re better able to eliminate inefficiencies in the system.”

 

 

3. Platform technology. Starting over from scratch on every project can waste a lot of time, money and resources. This is why Source started developing off-the-shelf components, parts and subassemblies that can be used in multiple projects.

 

From circuit boards to thermal electrics, Source can take advantage of volume with pre-tested platforms, helping prevent engineering and manufacturing teams from having to reinvent the wheel with every new project.

 

 

4. Strategic partnerships. While diagnostics is a core competency of Source Scientific, their goal is to find the best solution for all clients and potential clients.

“If there’s a situation where a like-minded partner is able to provide a more suitable solution to a customer or prospect, we’ve found that by collaborating with them—either as a joint partner or as a referral source, we’re able to better serve our clients and diversify our Medtech solutions,” says Maylish. “As a result, we have a lot of repeat clients that have been around for a long time.”

 

And repeat, long-term clients are what keep companies thriving.

 

 

Minnetronix

 

Aligning quality hardware with intelligent software has proven to be an important factor in medical technology advancement, as demonstrated by Minnetronix, a medical device designer, developer and manufacturer.

 

Their MD&M West-showcased innovation is the Cognita System, a remote, cloud-based technology that gathers data from the device and translates it into information that enables companies to manage costs, increase revenue and enhance customer service.

 

On display at their booth, Minnetronix demonstrates how their Cognita-incorporated ablation system conveys relevant, timely information back to sales, repair, engineering and operations teams.

 

Using a web application or mobile device, company representatives can track where the device fleet is, see which devices are working correctly and which ones need repairs—or will in the near future.

 

“With Cognita, companies can look at trend data, such as how long are doctors using the device, how much power the device is using, if there are certain times of the day that the device is being used more and a plethora of other information related to their technology,” explains Jesse Carlson, an Account Executive at Minnetronix.

 

Ablation system

Especially when it comes to helping customers navigating the choppy, uncertain waters of IEC 60601-1 3rd Edition Standard for medical electrical equipment, Minnetronix understands that it’s not enough to have a design that’s aesthetically impressive. They appreciate that devices today must also be built with Design for Manufacturing in mind and offer features that benefit diverse users and an increasingly complex medical infrastructure.

 

To quote Dr. Seuss: "Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple."

 

At times, the medical technology industry has been known to overcomplicate things. But when it comes to raising the value that your Medtech company brings to the marketplace, sometimes it’s as simple as connecting with a new—and even seemingly unrelated—industry partner. We can all learn a lot from one another—and this year’s MD&M West is a great place to start.

 

What will you do to elevate your strategic partnerships at this year’s MD&M West?

 

If there’s one industry-related question you’d like to have answered at this event, what is it? What Medtech company might you be able to reach out to for an answer?

Tricia Rodewald is director of marketing at Pro-Dex (Irvine, CA).

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