By Scott Newton

When thinking about your medical device distributor activity, do you ever wonder if they’re executing on your agreed-upon plans? How do you know that they’re focused on your products?

As described in the article “You know you’re not in a collaborative relationship when…”, far too often, Business Reviews only bring medical device manufacturers and distributors together semi-regularly. Between these meetings, communication is far too often inconsistent at best, or at worst, non-existent.

Yet, effective collaboration is all about communication and information-sharing. This is what builds the trust and confidence to know you’re both equally invested in achieving agreed-upon outcomes on an ongoing basis. 

I’m not suggesting communication needs to happen 24/7 ­­­– that’s not feasible when you’re talking about global programs, spanning multiple time zones, with distributors managing various suppliers and products. 

But I would suggest that success does require a 24/7 relationship.

That’s the gap we identified when we built myCaribou – what if there was a platform where both manufacturer and distributor could access all the information they need at any given time and on their time?

Just think of the efficiency that being on the same platform brings:

Standardizes digital communication

Email has been the great game-changer for 24/7 communication – you can send one to colleagues at any point in the day. But how do you feel when you wake up in the morning, and there’s an Inbox filled with communication from your global partners? You have to sift through the irrelevant “cc” lists and make sense of a conversation’s status by digging through several stacks. You have to search through all the attachments to make sure you have the correct version.

The risk for error is not only a significant time expense but highly stressful too. (For a great read on this topic, check out Dr. Theo Compernolle’s book, Brain Chains).

To combat the inefficiencies of email, many reps and firms adopt the messaging platform of their choice WhatsApp, WeChat, SMS, Slack. And you’ll see that around the world, individuals use a combination of all of them for a range of relevant reasons that all make sense to them.

Add to this all the CRM programs like SalesForce. As one sales agent recently said to me, “If I keep agreeing to be on each supplier’s CRM, I’ll be committed to so many, I’ll never have time to sell anything.”

With everyone having their way of doing business, a Channel Optimization platform like myCaribou consolidates these communication and CRM tools and sets a standard globally that keeps everyone on the same page. You can still be notified of project updates using your preferred method of communication, but all of those real-time messages and files are centralized, organized, and archived in one central place on myCaribou’s collaborative workspaces.

Facilitates project work

Building on the standardization idea, there are many project management and communications tools out there. Still, a platform like myCaribou gives the medical device sector a unique solution to our specific needs.  

For instance, some distributors developed stockless programs to support the healthcare sector’s adoption of the Just-In-Time (JIT) concept. This supports hospitals that don’t want to keep extensive inventories in their central supply department.

But managing that supply chain requires good, timely information. And no platform is designed to address this issue that’s unique to our industry. myCaribou can help facilitate a more efficient supply chain through more real-time facilitation of real-time data and information. Book a demo, and we can show you how myCaribou is designed to support the medical device sales environment specifically.

Maintains the continuity of your IP

Losing someone on the team who has customer knowledge or market insight is a real issue in any business. You don’t want to lose those people in the first place, but if you do, having everyone already working on a central platform provides a much-needed backup. 

Having all communications managed through a platform like myCaribou mitigates the risk of losing access to essential conversations often left in an individual’s email or WeChat platform that you have no access to when they go. Besides all of that back-and-forth communication, all of the person’s files and project statuses are easily located in one place. That makes it much easier for another account manager to step into a role with at least some sort of history so they can hit the ground running.

Makes partnerships more meaningful – and more productive.

Of course, no platform takes the place of phone, video or in-person Business Reviews. However, these conversations do become more meaningful when you’re not wasting time on questions like: “Oh, did you get that email I sent? What’s today’s agenda? What did we discuss last quarter? Let me try to find the documents.” 

The 24/7 relationship is about connecting with the right people, the right way. It helps to inspire more purposeful and thoughtful communication during the right times of the day.

Schedule a demo to experience myCaribou’s collaborative workspaces firsthand and invite partners to drive faster growth in markets around the world.