Varian Medical Systems: Looking Beyond The Medical Device Manufacturing Industry, 27-28 November 2012, Colorado Springs
The Chairman and a speaker at the marcus evans Medical Device Manufacturing Summit 2011, in Las Vegas, Nevada, June 20-22, Wood discussed innovation, cost saving strategies and capitalizing on the best practices in other industries. The 2012, installment of Medical Device Manufacturing will take place in Colorado Springs, CO from November 27-28, 2012.
What would solve the issues facing medical device manufacturing executives today?
Robert Wood: There is continued cost and price pressures, and part of the solution lies in looking for best practices across the industry, as well as outside the medical device space. Other industries are better in some fields. The telecom and automotive industries are sometimes better at supply chain management, for example. I would encourage us to look outside our space to benchmark.
In addition, medical device manufacturing companies have to continue to develop talent. Companies live or die based on the talent within their four walls. We should spend a lot of time developing our people, mentoring and getting the environment right so that they can be as productive as possible. This sounds simple, but it is actually one of the hardest things to do. In my opinion, you can only be successful in this space if you have a very positive environment, where employees are completely aligned with the vision and mission set for the organization.
How can medical device manufacturers drive innovation?
Robert Wood: Necessity is the mother of all invention. Companies that are profitable and do not have competition very rarely feel the need to change. To drive innovation, there needs to be a reason for change. Being in the Silicon Valley for the last 15 years, I would say the medical device industry would benefit by looking at practices in highly competitive, low margin industries. The telecom industry has had to be very aggressive and innovative. I do not agree that companies in highly regulated sectors cannot innovate. Nevertheless, you still need to have a reason to change and express why change and innovation are necessary to everyone in the organization. That can be difficult but it is absolutely essential if you are planning for changes that will positively impact shareholders.
What cost-saving strategies would you recommend?
Robert Wood: I have operated under Total Quality Management, and Lean and Six Sigma - what I consider most important is using a scientific approach for solving problems, involving employees and using visual metrics to measure performance. I do not believe that one size fits all companies. The organizations that explain to employees exactly what is being done to drive costs down and make it real, will be the most successful.
Any final thoughts?
Robert Wood: In manufacturing, developing a strategic plan is key; a plan that ties the operations and business plans together, and identifies where the business is going and what technology platforms and training might be needed to meet that vision in the future.
Change is inevitable. However, in our industry it takes time to implement changes, so we need to be at least three to five years ahead in our strategic vision. Developing a new facility or capability takes at least 18 months to two years once the decision is taken. We need to have a long-term vision to be ahead in this game.
Interview by: Sarin Kouyoumdjian-Gurunlian, Press Manager, marcus evans
About the Medical Device Manufacturing Summit 2012
The Medical Device Manufacturing Summit will highlight the current challenges and opportunities for medical device manufacturing and R&D executives across North America through visionary keynote presentations and case studies delivered by your most esteemed peers and thought leaders. The one-on-one meetings with leading solution providers will offer a wealth of expertise in cutting-edge technology, strategy and implementation. All this seamlessly integrated with informal networking opportunities over three days will provide a unique interactive forum. This networking event presents a unique opportunity to network, establish new connections, exchange ideas and gain knowledge.
For more information please visit the event website. Please note that the summit is a closed business event and the number of participants strictly limited.