Strategic Product Life Cycle Management Partnerships as the New Means of Competitive Advantage for Medical Technology Companies

Published: 25 Oct 2010

During the 20th century, innovation determined a medical device company’s success. However, in the future, innovation for medical technology companies will no longer mean simply making a better product, but executing an overall better business model. This business model needs to cover every stage of a product’s life cycle from design, manufacturing processes and regulatory submission at the beginning through distribution and after market service at the end. While success in the market demands that all stages of this life cycle be well-executed and done cost-efficiently, fewer companies are devoting internal resources to developing competencies in all of them. This is true across many industries, including the medical devices industry.

Product life cycle management in medical devices is key to the success of a product and company. As one product approaches maturity, new innovative products must be introduced that offer improved clinical efficacy, ease-of-use, or cost-effectiveness. Device improvements can be patented and, thereby, extend the company’s intellectual property and its unique selling proposition in the competitive marketplace. Because of the high value of intellectual property, medical device companies have considered new product innovation to be their core competency. Traditionally, the continual innovation of the same device and the need to protect intellectual property have contributed to medical device companies being slow to outsource their R&D and manufacturing processes. However, companies in the industry are increasingly exploring new business models that are more reliant on strategic supply chain partnerships in order to lower costs, gain access to skills and resources, and enter new markets faster.

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