Synergy: “the interaction or cooperation of two or more organizations, substances, or other agents to produce a combined effect greater than the sum of their separate effects”
Synergy can be achieved only through better collaboration, but how can the medical device manufacturing industry utilize this idea? Improving collaboration within medical device manufacturing involves a combination of organizational practices, communication strategies, and technology solutions, and employing a cloud-based ERP system is an integral part of achieving this combination. From pre to post market collaboration, the medical device industry is adopting more of a partnership approach to innovation rather than an in-house one, and manufacturers agree that adopting more collaborative business models with suppliers and customers is the key to their future vitality in the market.
Medical Device Manufacturers (MDMs) list lack of efficiency in product development/R&D as one of the main reasons adding to the time horizon for new product introduction and innovation, which is why many have begun to look outside the standard in-house business model. In fact, medical device manufacturers see entering new partnerships to drive innovation as the top growth driver (second only to increasing R&D spending), and the majority are already adopting more collaborative business models.1 Collaboration accelerates innovation by fostering the exchange of knowledge and insights. When professionals from diverse backgrounds and across the supply chain collaborate, they bring diverse perspectives to the table, and as a result, this diversity fuels creativity and problem-solving, leading to the development of novel solutions that may not have been possible through isolated efforts.2
One advantage of an ERP system is its ability to bring together larger manufacturers with smaller, more agile companies that have developed more streamlined R&D processes, a marriage that helps MDMs bring new and more innovative products to market more quickly. By offering integrated communication tools, such as discussion forums, messaging systems, product lifecycle management solutions, and collaboration spaces, an ERP system provides the backbone for real-time information visibility across teams (engineering, production, quality, etc.) from different companies so they can simultaneously share ideas, updates, and feedback.
In addition to the challenges of product development, MDMs face stringent regulatory oversight to ensure the safety and efficacy of products during (and after) the manufacturing process. Collaboration with regulatory authorities is essential to navigate these challenges. Staying updated with evolving regulations and adopting a proactive approach to compliance are crucial for long-term success.3 ERP systems can assist in managing and ensuring compliance with various regulations, reducing the risk of errors and delays not only in collaborative R&D projects but also during product manufacturing, delivery, and long-time support and warranty.
Collaboration extends beyond the parameters of pre-market research, design, and development, especially now that MDMs have shifted to a more patient-centric approach, something we’ve discussed in prior articles in this series. Patient-centric collaboration with health care providers and with patients themselves ensures MDMs are receiving invaluable information that helps them fine-tune devices and address any issues that have arisen in a more timely and effective manner. ERP systems provide real-time, integrated data, giving MDMs a holistic view of the entire product lifecycle and ensuring continuous improvement in the quality of their devices and in the quality of patient well-being. In a field where precision and safety are paramount, “collaboration is not just a strategy; it’s the heartbeat of progress, ensuring that every medical device that reaches the hands of a healthcare provider is a testament to the power of working together.”2
Medical device manufacturing is a complex landscape that requires the harmonious collaboration of various disciplines. Engineering operators, device designers, project managers, R&D Experts, Regulatory Experts, supply chain professionals, health care providers, as well as the end-users all come together, each contributing their unique expertise. The synergy of expertise from these diverse disciplines paves the way for industry breakthroughs that revolutionize healthcare practices.2 By incorporating an ERP system, MDMs can ensure that the wealth and breadth of knowledge gained through these collaborative efforts is utilized to the best of its ability, ensuring that the products brought to market are not only ground-breaking but also highly trusted in the medical community.