Here are six things one could hear echoed throughout the expo floor and conference rooms of the Anaheim Convention Center:
1. Trump who?
No one really wanted to talk about President Donald Trump, still in his first 100 days of office. Bosch Rexroth’s Kevin Gingerich said it best, noting that medtech is all about the long view: “Our corporate citizenship and our company mission is not going to change no matter who is in a political office.”
A number of people at MD&M West sounded the same theme—that political theater doesn’t matter if companies are creating good products and responding to market needs (either local or global).
2. Solving a problem through failure
On the TV show Mythbusters, the phrase “failure is always an option,” became a catch phrase. Former show host, Jaime Hyneman spoke in the keynote address and tackled this philosophy. “Failure is wonderful,” he said. “You have to cherish what happened. This is not the time to bemoan—it is the time to dig in.” He does admit that in product development, it can be hard to see that silver lining, but, “within that failure is a newer and better product that you are just about to discover.”
3. Tightening budgets
The need to do more with less is one of the biggest challenges, says Bosch Rexroth’s Gingerich. “We’ve had to come up with creative responses to smaller budgets.”
4. The myth of medtech slowness
The old adage is that medtech as an industry is slow to innovate. That may have been true at one time, but it is certainly not true these days, says Tony Samurkas of Trinseo, which creates polymer housing for medical technology, among other products. (The company also has experience in the consumer products industry.) “The speed of response and the demand for color matching and ‘right the 1st time’ principles is equal to the consumer electronics industry.”
5. Manufacturing transparency
Transparency is playing a larger role in working with contract manufacturing, notes Austin Taliaferro of Coastal Life Technologies (San Antonio, Texas). “OEMs want to be able to see the manufacturing process in their own system,” Taliaferro said. That has driven Coastal Life to modernize its ERP systems to meet those needs.
6. Sterilization cannot be an afterthought
Some designers don’t think about sterilization until it is too late to change things, says Jennifer Principe of Sterigenics. Sterigenics is working hard to change that by offering design consulting services. Sterigenic’s recent acquisition last year of Nelson Labs, brings a slew of respected microbiological and analytical testing and consultancy to Sterigenics’s existing sterilization products powerhouse.
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