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Problems and Solutions in IT Lifecycle Management for Medical Devices

20 May, 2015

How can a medical device manufacturer keep the long, highly regulated lifecycle of their human diagnostics or digital imaging product aligned with the fast-changing hardware and software at the product's core? Finding the right IT supplier who is an expert in lifecycle management, is key. These problem-solution scenarios illustrate how the device maker and IT supplier can work together effectively.

Problem 1

Our current OEM doesn’t offer the exact specs required by our new device.

Solution: The right supplier should be able to source IT from hundreds of leading OEMs and distributors. They can find the right replacement or add-on product – from the medical device manufacturer’s current provider or another one.

Problem 2

This product spec is too granular. We’ll be stuck with a very short IT lifecycle.

Solution: The right IT supplier can work with the medical device manufacturer to build a custom product specification. It can specify non-critical items more generally. This allows for flexibility in future procurement.

Problem 3

We’re locked into this OEM. We don’t always know the other options available.

Solution: The right supplier can serve as the medical device manufacturer’s eyes and ears in the IT marketplace. Product selection can be vendor-neutral. The device maker chooses from the latest and best technology from hundreds of leading sources.

Problem 4

Can I count on this to be in stock? Will they still offer it next year? It’s hard to know.

Solution: The right IT supplier will stay in everyday contact with the major hardware and software providers. They will track and share inventory and end-of-life information for all products offered for direct IT purchasing by the medical device manufacturer.

Problem 5

This piece is critical. It’s going end of life, and a replacement hasn’t been validated.

Solution: The right IT supplier will work with the medical device manufacturer to calculate the quantity for a last-time buy based on purchase history and forecast. In this way, the device maker maintains IT availability pending the new product’s validation.

Problem 6

Wait a minute. This new product was substituted without notice or validation.

Solution: The right IT supplier knows the need for consistent specifications for medical devices. The device maker should expect and insist that the IT supplier will never substitute a product – not even a small cable – without verification and/or validation.

Problem 7

We’ll ship this product globally, but it’s sourced in the U.S. Is it OK for import?

Solution: The right supplier should work with both the medical device manufacturer and the IT providers to ensure that any product sourced for a device’s global use will meet import requirements for each region or country.

Problem 8

An IT product’s lifecycle is simply too short for the long life of our medical device.

Solution: The right supplier will know which IT products offer long-life options. For example, with the right choice of laptop computer, the typical 18-month product lifecycle can extend to 30 or even 36 months.

Problem 9

IT products from multiple OEMs demand multi-vendor relationships. What a mess!

Solution: The right IT supplier can be the medical device manufacturer’s single source for all needed hardware and software products. Device makers should look for their supplier’s expertise in the medical device industry. The right supplier can be more responsive and flexible than the large IT vendors.

Problem 10

Help! We’re overstocked with IT equipment, and we’re afraid it will go obsolete.

Solution: The right IT supplier practices just-in-time inventory management by stocking products and drop-shipping them directly to your customers. This minimizes on-hand inventory. New products can be cut in when validated.



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