Considering a Homegrown Solution? Read This First.

Homegrown is great for a few things, tomatoes and tulips among them. But it’s decidedly not for others, like ERP and inventory systems, especially in an industry as complex as orthopedics.  


A lot of firms, though, look at homegrown solutions as the answer to managing their inventory and business processes. Why? Maybe it’s the sticker shock of a custom ERP: recent research puts the average budget for ERP implementation at approximately $7,200 per user. This can quickly add up to $150,000 to $750,000 for mid-sized firms and $1M or more for larger enterprises. There are other reasons, too, including not being able to find a solution that truly fits their business processes, or the overwhelm that comes with evaluating an array of solutions (and their features). 


In this context, a homegrown solution starts to have a certain appeal. This is where firms must be savvy. Committing to a homegrown solution dedicates significant resources to people, tech, and project management for the long term. Your firm foregoes flexibility for total ownership, which comes at a high cost. 


Still think homegrown is the answer? It’s important to know what success requires. These are the top five challenges of homegrown solutions for orthopedic medical device companies.   


#1. Software development 

Put simply, software development is a different core competency than engineering, making, and selling medical devices. In fact, there’s a saying in software development: development of the application is over when the last user dies. It captures the need to be constantly building and iterating, even as the business and industry are evolving.


#2. Expertise

Often, the people who work in a business aren’t the best people to work on a business (it’s why there are consultants and specialists in every field and process). Software engineers and system administrators are different types of IT professionals. This can lead to difficulty in translating what is needed and how to build it—ultimately compromising the solution’s functionality. 


#3. Productivity   

Developing an in-house solution requires significant resources. One that is often overlooked is decreased productivity. Your team needs to take time out of their day-to-day work to provide input on processes and workflows. This diverted attention can affect everything from sales operations to customer support. 


#4. Frustration 

Frustration can build early in the process, as staff and IT work to translate inputs and industry understanding into processes. But it can also crop up as the work continues. It shows up in dissatisfaction with how the software works, and in low adoption rates among users in different functions as well as the field. In addition, distributors can be a difficult user base, amplifying the frustration factor for everyone. 


#5. Supply chain  

To truly transform your supply chain and inventory management, you need real-time visibility into your medical device inventory and the ability to connect your supply chain digitally all the way down to the rep. This level of visibility and interconnectedness transforms the last mile, where most orthopedic OEMs really struggle. With a truly digitally connected supply chain, you can translate demand into supply, get inventory where it needs to be on time more easily, and much more efficiently handle the business processes that need to happen. This includes eliminating frictions like time-consuming processes, an overreliance on manual data entry, and time-intensive inventory wrangling that burns everyone out. 


Beyond this, a solution needs flexibility for the paradigm shifts in technology and workflows that can fundamentally shift how we work. A homegrown solution may work today, but will it work on the kind of technology you can’t even anticipate yet? 


Built for the industry, built for your business processes

We understand that you want a system with all the functionality your business needs, like modules for field inventory and supply chain management, and all-in-one control over sales operations, commissions, and more. We also understand how complex orthopedics is—which is why we’ve built the kind of system you’re looking for.


It’s orthopedic-specific and designed exactly for how your finance, sales operations, supply chain, and field reps work, with a mobile app for on-demand, real-time access to inventory, data, and processes. With orthopedics as our entire focus, we’re constantly working on new developments and enhancements to help you navigate changes in the market and your business. In addition, we’ve convened a community of 30+ orthopedics firms to provide best practices and input to make running your business easier and more efficient. 


We’ve also made implementation and configuration as streamlined as possible. While overall timelines depend on the number of modules and users, and the systems and processes you have in place, our five-step process means you can be up and running far more quickly (and at far lower cost) than an ERP. Expertise and guidance for your rollout have driven our 97% field adoption rate. 


Still thinking about a homegrown solution? You’ll need to be best-in-class across six categories. Download our checklist to learn more. Then schedule your free assessment with our team to learn more about ImplantBase.

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