About 10 years ago, there were a number of notable trends and market forces which began to, once again, change how the medical device manufacturing sector brought its products to market. They’re still shaping the market we have today.
Andrew Potter, Bonifacio Consulting Services, and Chris Delporte
Perhaps the true measure of a forward-thinking industry is its ability to evolve to meet new market challenges, demands and opportunities. The medical device industry — and certainly the contract manufacturing sector that has grown over the last two decades into an integral part of medtech’s success story — not only has adeptly changed to meet new clinical demands, but also has, as part of that process, reshaped its manufacturing models to better respond to shifting economic realities.
The pace of evolution means that industry-watchers are constantly charting trends, trying to stay out in front of the wave. And if you enjoy trendspotting, the medical device manufacturing space doesn’t disappoint. There are plenty of industry-altering forces from which to choose: the expanding role of additive manufacturing (in fact, the FDA recently issued a first-of-its-kind guidance for 3-D printing of medical devices), cloud computing, increased supply chain efficiencies — and the list goes on.
Over the course of a few blogs, we’re going examine some of the variables currently (or soon to be) in play that we predict will shape the medical device contract manufacturing sector in the year(s) to come. We’ll also discuss how companies can best position themselves for success. Prior to looking forward, however, this article will take a brief look back at a few of the manufacturing, clinical and financial trends in the last 10 years that have led the contract manufacturing space to where we are at the start of 2018.
A historical look at medical device manufacturing trends
In the early 1990s, computer and other industrial outsourcing grew rapidly as companies such as Flextronics International Inc. (now Flex Ltd.), Jabil Inc. and Celestica Inc. quickly were acquiring their customer’s manufacturing operations and growing in areas such as consumer electronics. Despite the expansion, outsourcing in the medical device sector lagged in market share due to the regulatory nature of the business as well as the inherent risks associated with medical products. There were only a few major players, and a lot smaller highly specialized process-based shops providing unique skills. But, slowly, a more robust medical device outsourcing market and supply chain began to emerge. About 10 years ago, there were a number of notable trends and market forces which began to, once again, change how the medical device manufacturing sector brought its products to market. They’re still shaping the market we have today.