Healthcare and Life SciencesQ&A: Top Medical Product Development Challenges

A look at some of the challenges life sciences companies are facing today and how to get their complex devices to market faster.



Bill Stube is the Director of Engineering Operations for Life Sciences and Aerospace and Defense at Plexus. He was interviewed to share insight into some of the top medical product development challenges companies are facing today and how to get these complex devices to market faster.

Q: What are some of the top medical product development challenges companies face today?

A: How quickly a product can get to market is a challenge faced by almost every company, but the increasing complexity of life sciences devices has expanded the needed skillsets involved in that process. 

A good example of the complexity of products are microfluidic devices. Companies continue to advance the design of these devices by using more complex disposables and creating 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 device. 

We help manage this complexity in a few key ways. Using our deep, 40 year engineering expertise, we can help optimize the design of these devices with the whole product life cycle in mind. Additionally, because we can serve as a full system development partner, the development process is more efficient, which helps get products to market more quickly.

Q: Why is having a full system, full life cycle development partner important?

A: Countless decisions are made about any highly complex device that’s produced in low to medium volumes. These are tradeoffs that can impact the product’s cost, its level of reliability, the user experience, and much more.
 
By working with a full system, full life cycle development partner like Plexus, companies won’t lose time moving between different partners. For example, when there are multiple partners, it takes additional effort to consolidate the designs before a prototype, and subsequently, a final product is created. We can consolidate all of that work into one design effort that we can then smoothly transition into production. It simplifies the supply chain management requirements, so a company can focus on its core business instead of multi-partner management.

Q: What else should companies know about Plexus?

A: We have decades of experience providing support across the entire product life cycle. We integrate engineering, manufacturing, aftermarket services and supply chain from the beginning, so we can address any challenges early on. 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. Then, we can lead every step along the way – up to and including Aftermarket Services. Or, we can engage with a company at any one point in their process. 
 
Also, in whatever capacity Plexus provides support, the customer’s goals are our goals. We can help in areas like faster time to market, lower total cost of ownership, and achieving the highest level of quality.

Bill has 15 years of experience in engineering, system architecture, and project management of complex product development projects from initial concept and architecture through production manufacturing.


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