Let’s face it: none of us is getting any younger. And while we may squirm in the face of this fact, the medical device manufacturing industry does not—improved life expectancy is one area that acts as driving force for business. Every cloud has a silver lining, you could say.
The global medical device market is a lucrative one and, in the West at least, one which has grown mature. Naturally, then, Western manufacturers look to export their devices overseas and grow their presence internationally. Emerging markets are especially attractive because of their developing healthcare systems which provide new opportunities. But this is by no means an easy feat and intense pressure exists from a combination of factors including regulation, threats to intellectual property, and local competition from within these emerging markets which is becoming increasingly sophisticated. Multinationals and SMEs all face these issues to differing degrees, though many of the largest companies have the advantage of a local presence.
While overseas markets represent an opportunity for further growth, there is a path paved with potential pitfalls and risk. The advice is: know your market. And that means really know it; don’t just think you know it. Pacific Bridge Medical, a U.S. based consultancy firm for international pharmaceutical and medical device companies interested in expanding into Asia, advises researching the needs of the local market and avoiding overly simplistic assumptions and conclusions. By doing this correctly, the most appropriate market can be selected and products can be designed and marketed accordingly. It also recommends careful research of potential distributors and securing the right regulatory expertise.
Beyond this, KPMG suggests in its 2015 report Collaboration – The future of innovation for the medical device industry that for medical device manufacturers to survive and gain competitive advantage: “companies need to embrace more inclusive innovation models, collaborate more frequently and with a broader range of partners, and pursue greater integration with suppliers, development partners and healthcare providers”. It goes on to warn against over-dependence on the established group of suppliers and also advises manufacturers to have the right internal competencies in place to cope with complex and evolving regulation. It can be a huge set of challenges to navigate, and this is not made any easier by the issue of cross-cultural communication.
Language service providers know that translations for the life sciences sector are demanding in terms of terminology and content, and therefore require a high level of expertise. There cannot be mistakes and clarity is imperative, as a matter of safety. But projects are not always technical and may span the corporate spectrum with everything from regulatory affairs and compliance to investor relations, marketing and communications.
To be effective, translations must be precise, but they must also be intelligent so that they engage the target audience when it’s needed. If all of this is delivered on time, as part of a seamless customer experience, manufacturers are able to communicate with overseas markets in a way that is consistent and professional. A partnership with an LSP that has the right mix of linguistic, technological and project management expertise is the kind of partnership that supports ambition and growth.