4. Owning healthcare technology sectorsBeyond providing expert product development and manufacturing services, it’s helpful if large and midsize contract manufacturers become experts in particular therapeutic/disease areas, such as orthopedics, drug delivery or wearable devices. The largest companies essentially will be focused on the highest-volume, most sophisticated projects (e.g., large drug-delivery programs). The midsize firms may be able to benefit by becoming experts in segments such as diagnostics. The continued shift to minimally invasive procedures and their improved outcomes, often conducted on an outpatient basis, has been an area of focus and growth for many contract manufacturers.
Finding a product niche and continually updating, and improving and adding new capabilities can help contract manufacturers take advantage of some of the current healthcare technology trends.
For example, the growing importance of in-vitro diagnostics, point-of-care technology and microfluidics present additional areas for contract manufacturers to showcase their manufacturing skill. Many of the OEMs in these markets aren’t the traditional, large OEMs. The smaller device companies need help with product development, design for manufacturing, supply chain management and scaling up manufacturing. To compete in this area, contract manufacturers will need to upgrade injection molding and other processes (such as micromolding, tooling and automation) to meet demand.
Another growth area in healthcare (and opportunity for contract manufacturers) is wearable devices and consumerization of medical technology. Handheld and smartphone technology is transforming how patients expect to interact with their healthcare technology and how companies plan to deliver it. To stay competitive, contract manufacturers will need robust electronics capabilities. They’ll need to be skilled at integrating electronics (sensors, chips, etc.), and be adept at managing the supply chain specific to such sophisticated electronic devices.
Along the lines of sophisticated electronics manufacturing, surgical robots increasingly are being used in the treatment of urological diseases, oral and throat cancers, cardiovascular disease, neurological conditions, gynecologic procedures and thoracic conditions. Though there have been conflicting studies on the cost and patient benefits of robotic surgery, it is an area that undoubtedly will continue to grow in importance, capability, and cost reduction and will branch off into other areas of care. Beyond surgery, medical robotics has the potential to relieve strain on many healthcare systems by automating tasks and freeing up healthcare workers. Medical robotics someday may be able to perform more complex tasks such as patient monitoring or keeping track of patients in a home-care setting.
These are just a few of the evolving dynamics that contract manufacturers are facing. The ability to adapt to and adopt new technology, as well as maintaining a high level of velocity, will continue to be critical in upcoming years and will provide the most responsive firms with a competitive advantage. There have been a tremendous amount of changes the last 15 years, and we expect this pace to continue, if not accelerate, in the future.
Andrew Potter joined Bonifacio Consulting Services, (BCS) in 2012 and leads the company’s strategic planning and M&A engagements. He has more than 20 years of global manufacturing experience and helps corporate and financial groups maximize the value of their companies for long-term growth and competitive advantage, or for the best possible exit.
Christopher Delporte is a journalist, messaging leader and content strategist with more than 20 years of experience. He is an award-winning editor, storyteller and multiplatform communicator, with expertise in Capitol Hill coverage of Congress and federal regulatory agencies, as well as investigative journalism.
The opinions expressed in this blog post are the author’s only and do not necessarily reflect those of MedicalDesignandOutsourcing.com or its employees.