Medical Device Labelers Powwow in Phoenix

by Craig Hodgson, on October 5, 2016

IMG_0825.jpgLast week nearly 120 medical device professionals and solution providers gathered at the Wigwam resort in Phoenix, AZ, to discuss labeling challenges and solutions. Indeed, Q1 Productions’ 5th Semi-Annual Medical Device Labeling & Packaging conference featured over 40 speakers from the FDA, industry, academia, standards committees and healthcare practice—most of whom were there to share insights to help attendees optimize their labeling and packaging programs.

Here are a few takeaways from the proceedings:
  • Think, Act Globally – A recurring theme, reflected in many of the presentations, is the need for labelers to expand their operation and take into account global labeling standards. With another FDA UDI labeling deadline behind them, attendees were anxious to hear about helpful ways to tackle new requirements of medical device labels, including translation and localization. As we discovered in our Unique Device Identification (UDI) survey, “Taking the Pulse of UDI Compliance,” earlier this summer, nearly half of the respondents weren’t sure their labeling solution would scale to meet international requirements. The conference provided some valuable guidance in that direction.

  • Efficiency Rules the Day – It was clear talking to attendees that UDI compliance was a huge hurdle for organizations and that many scrambled to meet impending deadlines without following best practices. Now technically compliant, companies can fine-tune their readiness programs and implement time- and cost-saving measures they couldn’t before. The conference offered several helpful presentations covering topics such as budgeting, managing 3rd party supplier labeling, and implementing LEAN labeling—all in an effort to improve the processes medical device labelers currently rely on.

  • Is There an Echo in Here? – After attending similar conferences earlier this year, it seems more and more people are embracing this idea of an "enterprise-wide" labeling solution. We’ve been touting the virtues of standardized, enterprise labeling for several years, and it's catching on as many sessions referenced the need for just such a solution.  We also often heard mentions of "sources of truth" in labeling or drawing from those ERP, PLM, and other systems where data is entered, updated and consistently accurate. That’s always been one of the linchpins of a Loftware Enterprise Labeling solution, tightly integrating labeling with SAP, Oracle, and additional applications and processes you already have in place. This allows companies to leverage existing investments to take advantage of current business processes and vital data sources.

  • Sunny Dispositions Abound – Perhaps it was the venue in beautiful Phoenix or the sense of relief with the recent passing of another UDI deadline, but the overall mood of the conference was very positive. Speakers and attendees alike appeared more confident and enthusiastic about the future of medical device labeling. This was in stark contrast to the UDI Conference in April where a steady, long line of concerned faces formed at the FDA booth. This is not to suggest that labeling struggles have suddenly disappeared for organizations---there is still much to be accomplished—but clearly there are proven solutions available today to help sustain compliance and drive significant efficiencies throughout the supply chain.

We were proud to be an exhibitor at the Q1 Productions’ event and met a lot of smart, dedicated people focused on doing what’s best for their company. Here’s hoping that the good vibes continue in their pursuit of a more scalable, sustainable UDI label software solution. In case you didn’t make it to the event—and got your hands on a hard copy of our "Enterprise Labeling for Dummies"—here’s a downloadable version, which, maybe not surprisingly, covers many of the topics discussed at the conference. See for yourself and enjoy.

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