As technology rapidly advances, a plethora of companies have risen, supposedly offering superior products, the most advanced technology, an excellent bargain, or all of the above. How can your business begin to vet these suppliers, and how do you know you’re making the right choice for your business?
My years of experience in Medical Technology have taught me what to look for, how to select the best without falling for gimmicks, and how to balance value with product quality to get the optimal experience for your growing business.
Let me walk you through the Ultimate Guide to Vetting Med Tech Vendors for your next big project, and let’s help your business grow the smart way.
How Broad and Deep is the Vendor’s Scope?
The broader and more profound the scope of your vendor’s technological achievements and expertise, the better synched and more streamlined the final product is likely to be. While in the past, companies could afford to do a single thing well, advancements in
- Software and hardware interface
- Machine Learning
- Wearable medical devices
- Digital health apps
- Cloud storage in medical settings
have made it necessary for competitive and successful businesses to deeply understand multiple levels of the field and excel on several planes. How many successful projects does your vendor have to their name, and do these devices and services integrate well with existing and emerging systems?
Is there something else I look for? Sustainable business models. Choose a vendor that is deeply financially invested in their own success for the long run. This doesn’t have to mean that your chosen MedTech partner employs thousands; smaller and medium-sized companies can be just as innovative and future-viable.
Look for quality designs, innovative and integrated work, and ongoing successful product development. A vendor that isn’t pushing the envelope may not be around in a year. Having said that, you also don’t want to choose a vendor that’s racing too far ahead at the expense of safety or ethics.
Choose A Vendor With Regulatory Know-How
You’ve chosen someone you think is a great vendor, and you’re excited to work with them, and then disaster hits. Turns out their team was lax on regulatory stringency in the rush to get the product to market. This could be a recipe for huge financial losses, stalled projects, and even lawsuits.
You need to make sure you work with a vendor who’s not only capable and innovative but ethical, knowledgeable, and safe, too. Advancements in medical technology that rush ahead of safety measures, regulators, proper testing, or ethical development protocol will cost you and your company terribly and could do permanent damage to your brand’s image. Make sure that the vendor you choose follows stringent industry standards like ISO 13485
I’ve been watching the industry for years and can assure you that recovering former brand trust after a public ethics or safety failure in the MedTech sector is essentially impossible. Don’t give the vendor a chance to land you there. Make sure the vendor you choose is not only innovative but willing to take the time to develop products that you can proudly and safely stand by.
Don’t take verbal or written assurances of quality and safety at face value, either. Hire a reputable auditor to investigate on-site protocols. Assess for yourself what standards are in place, verify all claims of compliance and all certifications, even if it’s hanging on the wall. Failing to do this could put your company back months, years, or millions of dollars.
Are They Within Your Budget, and Can They Deliver?
You need someone innovative and successful, as well as safe and ethical. But
- Can you afford them?
- Is their output well matched to your company’s needs?
- Can their business deliver on deadlines and promises?
You don’t want a vendor with an unreliable supply chain or who fails over and over to deliver products on time. You’ll need to ensure that innovation, quality, safety, and deadlines are all present and respected at each stage of the deal. Communication is key here; make sure that your team and the prospective vendor can work together effectively. Poor chemistry can make an otherwise profitable partnership stall.
Set clear and transparent expectations ahead of time, and enquire with past partners as to how this company delivered in the past. This is where you can cross-check by looking into
- product reliability
- Revenue growth and
- Past partner satisfaction
If they don’t have the resources, staff, talent, or money to get you what you need at a price that sounds reasonable to you, look elsewhere.
Again, don’t take promises at face value; I always dig, ask around, inquire, and make sure I’m choosing someone who looks just as great behind the scenes as they do upfront.
I also make sure that initial discussions involve time talking frankly about logistics protocols for natural disasters, global supply chain disruptions, and system failures. As tech advances and weather patterns change, preparing for the worst and working around problems will be key to keeping my business in the lead. Make this a part of your vetting strategy, and you’ll come out ahead.
The MedTech vendor you choose can make or break your brand. You’ll need to go with someone who is productive, innovative, high-quality, forward-thinking, and capable of developing products that are compatible with current and existing technologies.
I can’t emphasize enough: don’t skimp on safety. Check and double-check the vendor’s qualifications, output, and product quality. Talk to people presently and formerly partnered with the prospect.
Hire an auditor to do a deep dive into the facility and verify all certifications and claimed safety protocols. Back out immediately if there are any gaps in safety, quality, or ethical standards. Failure to do so could cost you everything.
When vetting, I always make sure to talk frankly and realistically about the budget and ensure my vendor has the manpower, supplies, tools, and trucks to get me the products I need on time. I discuss disaster or system failure protocols and, if possible, tour facilities to get a sense of productivity and efficiency for myself. If my customers would be anything less than 100% pleased with what I see, I back out.
In short, make sure you’re partnering with someone who will supply, benefit, and grow your brand successfully now and in the future. If you know that you can trust your vendor, that means the public can trust you, and that’s a win all around.