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Journal cover: Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management

Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management

ISSN: 1741-038X
Previously published as: Integrated Manufacturing Systems

Online from: 2004

Subject Area: Operations and Logistics Management

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An exploratory survey of current practice in the medical device industry

Document Information:
Title:An exploratory survey of current practice in the medical device industry
Author(s):Julie Eatock, (DISC, Brunel University, Uxbridge, UK), Dorian Dixon, (NIBEC, University of Ulster, Newtownabbey, UK), Terry Young, (DISC, Brunel University, Uxbridge, UK)
Citation:Julie Eatock, Dorian Dixon, Terry Young, (2009) "An exploratory survey of current practice in the medical device industry", Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management, Vol. 20 Iss: 2, pp.218 - 234
Keywords:Corporate strategy, Manufacturing industries, Medical equipment
Article type:Research paper
DOI:10.1108/17410380910929637 (Permanent URL)
Publisher:Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Acknowledgements:The authors would like to acknowledge Dr Michael Craven at the University of Nottingham who designed the in-depth interview instrument, and all of the authors' MATCH colleagues who also conducted interviews. The authors would like to thank the referees for their very helpful comments and suggestions while reviewing this paper. This work has been funded by the MATCH Programme (EPSRC Grant GR/S29874/01). The views expressed, however, are entirely those of the authors.

Purpose – This study seeks to examine the extent to which mainstream tools and strategies are applied in the medical devices sector, which is highly fragmented and contains a high percentage of small companies, and to determine if company size impacts on manufacturing strategy selection.

Design/methodology/approach – A questionnaire was developed and disseminated through a number of channels. Responses were received from 38 companies in the UK and Ireland, describing 68 products taken to market in the past five years.

Findings – Because of the limited scope of the survey, the findings are indicative rather than conclusive, and interesting trends have emerged. New to the world products were much more likely to exceed company expectations of market success compared to derivative products. It was found that the majority of these innovative products were developed by small companies. Large companies appear to favour minor upgrades over major upgrades even though these prove – on the data presented – to be less successful overall.

Practical implications – These results provide those engaged in this sector with comparative information and some insights for further improvement. The reported trends with respect to company size and product complexity (or degree of novelty) are particularly illuminating. Academically, this sets some expected trends on a firmer footing and unearths one or two unexpected findings.

Originality/value – It is believed that this is the largest survey of determinants of success in UK medical device companies and it provides a comparison with other sectors.

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