The complex nature of medical device development means challenges are met regularly. Overcoming these challenges on a project-by-project basis is a natural skill of designers, but how do you overcome challenges that face the industry as a whole?

We sat down with our Managing Director, David Mills, and asked him about what he thinks the biggest challenges being experienced in the design development sector are at the moment. David passes on his thoughts and advice on:

Cutting Device Development Project Times & Costs

“I’ve spoken to a number of device development team leaders recently at both large pharma and med tech companies – they were all concerned about the pressures they are under to reduce development times and to some extent costs too. Most wanted/needed to strip significant amounts of time from projects or to quickly catch up on projects in order to meet ambitious milestones and avoid very awkward conversations to explain that some prototypes or tooled samples would not be available for testing or trials.”

It’s not a nice place to be when something’s gone wrong or the unexpected has happened on a project, and identifying these flaws or validating characteristics can be a lengthy and therefore costly process. When looking at reducing project timescales and costs, using alternative methods and software can help reduce these cumbersome processes and speed projects up. We previously discussed how using SolidWorks Motion can save lots of time whilst significantly reducing the number of physical iterations of designs and prototypes.

We’ve used this approach very successfully a number of times such that when components are moulded and assembled, it could be seen that the test results very accurately match the force or torque profiles required for a breakthrough design to be successful. Using a lean mixture of simulation, rapid prototypes and then soft tooling to confirm the engineering work has saved lots of time and in these challenging times – money.


Why Recruit? How to Increase the Productivity & Effectiveness of Your Design Team

“Most of the device development team leaders I spoke with wanted or needed to remove significant amounts of design and engineering time from projects or to quickly catch up on projects to meet ambitious milestones. All of them wanted avoid awkward conversations as discussed previously, particularly when milestones could not be met due to a lack of resource.”

The design engineering industry and in particular medical device development is currently struggling for resource. Rather than immediately recruiting which can be a slow and expensive process, reviewing your current team skills and optimising what you can get out of your designers can hugely improve the output of your existing resource.

Improving productivity and effectiveness of a team is a complex subject but when done successfully, you will soon start to eat away at potential overruns, significantly reduce stress for everyone, and could even remove the need to employ new team members. Many companies look to recruit, either to increase design capacity or replace people who’ve jumped out for a more comfortable place to be. HD’s Design Manager, Mark, put together an article based on actions implemented at HD which saw our output rise dramatically without the need for immediate recruitment.

How Our Innovative Problem Solving Strategies Can Help You

There’s always pressure on design and development teams to get projects out faster so hitting unforeseen problems is the last thing anyone needs on a key project or with an impending deadline looming. It’s incredibly hard, if not impossible to plan for unexpected problems as they are – unexpected. It is possible to build in contingencies whilst planning but this is often insufficient or maybe there are multiple unexpected problems.

In the below article we discuss the framework used at HD for innovative problem solving. If someone is leading or working on a very challenging project, implementing some of these approaches can help you turn a project around by making the breakthrough needed to ensure a successful outcome.

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