Bill Fitzgerald is the Director of Life Sciences at Plexus. A member of the Plexus Engineering Solutions team for 14 years, Bill is focused on providing product development and commercialization solutions for customers within the life sciences market.
Q: What are some of the top product development challenges life science companies face today?
A: How quickly a product can get to market is a challenge almost every company faces, but the increasing complexity of life sciences devices has expanded the skill sets that need to be involved in the life science commercialization process.
A good example is the increased prevalence of microfluidics in life science instrument solutions. Companies continue to advance the design of devices by using more complex disposables that help create new opportunities to serve patients, such as point-of-care applications. This is also creating challenges in the development process — like more sophisticated interactions between the disposable and the instrument.
We help manage this complexity in a few key ways. With more than 40 years of engineering expertise, we help optimize the design of these devices with the whole product lifecycle in mind. Additionally, because we can serve as a full system development partner, the process is more efficient, which helps in getting products to market more quickly.
Q: Why is having a full system, full lifecycle development partner important for life science commercialization?
A: There are countless decisions to make about any highly complex device produced in low to medium volumes. These trade-offs can impact the product’s cost, its level of reliability, the user experience and much more.
By working with a full system, full lifecycle development partner like Plexus, companies won’t lose time moving between different partners. For example, with multiple partners it takes additional effort to consolidate the designs before building a prototype and, subsequently, a final product. We can consolidate all of that work into one design effort that includes a cross-functional, systems engineering approach to efficiently design and smoothly transition into production. It also simplifies supply chain management, so a company can focus on its core business instead of multi-partner management.
Q: What else should companies know about Plexus?
A: We integrate engineering, manufacturing, aftermarket services and supply chain from the beginning, so we can address challenges early on. We also have experienced life scientists on staff to help identify and tackle challenges unique to life science applications and instrument solutions.
A company can engage us, even before it has defined the engineering requirements, to address elements like what the marketing and user requirements need to be. We’re ready to complement the customer’s team by supporting any stage — or all stages — of a product’s lifecycle. In whatever capacity Plexus provides support, the customer’s goals are our goals. With our expertise in life science commercialization, we can help you achieve faster time to market, lower total cost of ownership and the highest level of quality.