Find out more about customer engagement in the packaging of medical devices – Med-Tech Innovation


Curtis Hogan, UK & Ireland Regional Director at Oliver Healthcare Packaging, offers his perspective on entering the medical device packaging industry.

In any industry, putting the customer first is the key to success, but this is especially true when it comes to medical packaging. It’s a niche industry that requires significant knowledge and expertise to make sure you understand and are ready to meet customer needs.

Tell us a bit about yourself. How did you get started in the packaging industry?

I was born and raised in the UK and have been working for Oliver Healthcare Packaging for about two years now. My role at Oliver is to work with companies based in the UK and Ireland in the medical device and pharmaceutical industries.

When I left school, I was looking for a stable industry that interested me too. I started my career in nutrition. From there, I went to dental, then to pharma. This experience led me to the sterilization industry. All of these industries are linked by their focus on health, medicine and wellness. My last role in sterilization, however, and the work I do today at Oliver, are the most similar as they both fall later in the medical supply chain.

What are you still interested in in the healthcare industry?

It gives me great satisfaction to work in an industry that really helps people. A real societal need is met, from life-saving products to breakthroughs in pain management. Our industry is one with such potential for growth, rapid change and advancement for the future, which is what excites me. There is always something new coming to the fore.

How do you think your past experiences have helped you bring value to your customers?

Everything is highly technical with implications for human health, life and patient safety. You must be able to provide technical information as part of your business responsibilities. It can be difficult, but it is also a great challenge. My past experiences have helped to better understand the constraints customers face when it comes to packaging their device. When it comes to patient and packaging safety, it’s important to be able to look at situations and come up with solutions from a different perspective.

What do you need to know from a technical standpoint to be credible with who you are selling to?

You need to have good product knowledge, but we also have a world-class technical team at Oliver. I can start a discussion and then rely on our tech team to help me with specific science and troubleshooting. For example, at Oliver, my sterilization experience gives me a complete perspective, and our technical team can expand on what I know as needed. Working with engineers, operations or scientists requires the ability to deal with complex problems. It’s gratifying to be able to offer that. It is also important to include other services: it allows your client to meet other team members and benefit from the experience of the whole team. The collaborative nature of Oliver’s culture is a point of differentiation that clients appreciate. At the end of the day, it’s really a team effort.

In your current role at Oliver Healthcare Packaging, what kind of trends do you see among customers?

It’s hard to talk about trends without mentioning Brexit and COVID, but it hasn’t been seen by anyone. The pandemic has caused an increase in elective surgeries and this is where we are seeing trends taking hold. The sudden rise in elective surgeries is leading to a lack of resources in hospitals, making it difficult to manage the backlog resulting from COVID. This shows the fluid nature and expansion of our industry. We must remain flexible and responsive.

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