How Artificial Intelligence Is Driving Product Lifecycle Management

How Artificial Intelligence Is Driving Product Lifecycle Management

Today artificial intelligence (AI) is increasingly being integrated into platforms across industries, and the healthcare sector is no exception, with AI being used to support medical device Product Lifecycle Management (PLM).

The ability to apply machine learning to PLM systems can help medical device manufacturers drive insights more effectively from product data that has been collected over many months, or even years, said digital transformation provider Kalypso. This sort of “product lifecycle intelligence” applies AI and automation to help users develop predictions and to recommend improvements, ultimately allowing manufacturers to prevent costly product delays and failures.

Kalypso detailed how one top medical device manufacturer addressed its global challenges by using AI and machine learning to drive measurable business results. “By combining PLM with product lifecycle intelligence,” they said, “companies can bridge the gap in PLM analytics capability today, allowing them to understand current performance, historical averages, and the variances across different business units and functions. These insights can help them develop more meaningful customer experiences, while driving business and product value.”

A Higher Level of Guidance

AI-powered product insights platforms now exist that help companies create and market their products more effectively, and they can contribute meaningfully to every stage of the product development cycle, said AI innovator Rodrigo Pantigas, CPO and co-founder of AI-driven insights startup Birdie, in a recent article for technology news site VentureBeat. Using the right platform during the different stages of the product development cycle can help companies maximize their return on investment.

For example, when conducting competitive assessments and evaluating trends during the initial development stage, AI-driven product intelligence can provide a higher level of guidance beyond human concept testing and social listening. “Instead of latent indicators caused by surfacing reading of comments today, product intelligence platforms can crunch the totality of conversations to understand where customer preferences are going,” reported Pantigas.

Once a product has been built and is ready to launch, “the right intelligence platforms can tap into existing conversations to understand existing customer perception both about the anticipation of this launch and consumers’ ongoing opinions about the product category and competition—which can also help to identify product issues and crises early on,” said Pantigas. “It allows you to contrast your product against the competitive set, as well as identify channels that could help get your product in front of a much wider audience.”

Real-time Metrics

AI offers the ability to generate real-time metrics on a product’s health, growth, and risk factors, which is “important for successful product managers to add an additional layer of efficiency with strategic and operational decision-making,” noted Skyjed, an AI platform provider for product teams. The ability to access data about a product’s health on the fly helps teams make more effective decisions as market conditions evolve, providing them with a competitive advantage.

Dynamic Technologies has a role to play in helping your company identify and manage the lifecycles of connected hardware and software in your supply chain. Our technology supply chain management services include product sourcing, supply chain design, and management, and product procurement. Review our case studies and learn more about how we can help you with your next project.

Medical Device Cybersecurity Challenges and How to Counter Them

Cybersecurity Challenges

As cyber threats to the healthcare sector continue to ramp up in frequency and severity in the U.S. and globally, they increase the risk of rendering medical devices inoperable and disrupting patient care. In a worst-case scenario, ransomware attacks on medical devices can put protected health information at risk or even threaten lives. In this environment, healthcare cybersecurity experts report the need for improved standards and better efforts by hospitals and manufacturers to share responsibility for medical device security.

One of the challenges healthcare organizations face is defending older legacy medical devices – which often were not built with security in mind—against the growing threats of hacker attacks, according to a recent MedTech Dive article. Hospitals contend that as the end users, they bear a heavier burden for securing medical devices than medical device manufacturers do, and the American Hospital Association wants to see the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) mandate lifetime support of medical devices by manufacturers.

MedTech Dive also says the FDA has warned that unpatched medical devices “will become increasingly vulnerable to cyberattacks over time and has called for more communication from OEMs when they can no longer support software upgrades and patches needed to address their devices’ cybersecurity risks.” 

Mitigating Risk Throughout the Product Life Cycle 

According to the FDA, the need for effective cybersecurity to ensure medical device functionality and safety has become more important with the increasing use of wireless, internet- and network-connected devices; portable media like USB drives; and the frequent electronic exchange of medical device-related health information.

The agency in April released draft guidance titled “Cybersecurity in Medical Devices: Quality System Considerations and Content of Premarket Submissions,” which is intended to provide recommendations to agency staff and the industry regarding cybersecurity device design, labeling, and the documentation that the FDA recommends be included in premarket submissions for devices with cybersecurity risk.

This new draft guidance replaces an earlier 2018 draft version and is intended to further emphasize the importance of ensuring that devices are designed securely, enabling emerging cybersecurity risks to be mitigated throughout the total product life cycle, and to outline more clearly the FDA’s recommendations for premarket submission content to address cybersecurity concerns. The draft was shared for public comment between April 8 and July 7 as Docket Number FDA-2021-D-1158-0001 on the website, but as of this writing, it is not yet considered final or ready for implementation.

When securing medical devices, some of the primary challenges IT departments face include non-secure device designs, standardized configurations, patching restrictions, and insider threats, according to cybersecurity solutions provider Cybeats. They recommend the following four best practices to help healthcare organizations improve the security of their medical devices:

  • Endpoint protection – Securing not only the medical device but also the endpoints they connect to, such as workstations
  • Access management – Binding device authentication to the corporate authentication system
  • Asset management – Maintaining a reliable inventory of medical devices and software components
  • Vulnerability management – Conducting a vulnerability assessment of the software deployed on medical devices and reviewing vulnerability disclosures provided by vendors

For more medical device security guidance, visit:

Read Related Dynamic Technology Solutions Content:

Supply Chain Cybersecurity: The Ukrainian War Increases Your Company’s Risk

For Your Supply Chain Summer Reading List: A thriller, a graphic novel, and a “How-To” book

Supply Chain Summer Reading List

It’s tempting, as you head out on vacation this summer, to leave the laptop at home and turn your attention to the best-selling mystery novel you picked up at the airport while waiting for your delayed flight to finally board.  But there’s an argument to be made for filling your suitcase with books that explore—and offer thought-provoking remedies to—the critical mysteries that you wrangle with every day: How to keep your supply chain moving in the face of natural and man-made disasters. How to create and manage a product development process that maximizes profitability and remains resilient regardless of market forces. How to forecast new challenges and turn them into opportunities before they wreak havoc with your business. How to infuse the spirit of innovation, experimentation, and constant questioning throughout your company, using crises to spur growth.

Not the relaxing read you were looking for? On the contrary, we would submit that the following collection of books may well provide not only solace in this challenging time but bring you back to work both reenergized and recommitted.

In Ian Bremmer’s new book, The Power of Crisis, this renowned political scientist explores the paralysis that many business leaders have felt when confronting recent global health emergencies, climate change, and even artificial intelligence, especially when consensus on actions to take has become so difficult to reach. But, through a careful look at both historic and current strategies, he’s able to demonstrate that “governments, corporations, and every concerned citizen … can use these coming crises to create … worldwide prosperity and opportunity.”

MIT professor and serial entrepreneur Yossi Sheffi, who spoke to Dynamic in a recent edition of Value Chain, provides similar evidence in The Resilent Enterprise. Building on his 2016 volume, The Power of Resilience, Sheffi uses real-world case studies from such companies as Nokia, Dell, UPS, Apple, and Toyota to show how the flexibility—and resilience—these companies have built into their supply chains have allowed them, despite the volatile marketplace in which they operate, to balance security, redundancy, and short-term profits, reducing risk and achieving competitive advantage.

In Transforming Supply Chains, Sydney-based supply chain thought leaders John Gattorna and Deborah Ellis take a similar stance, showing how companies can successfully incorporate geopolitics, climate change, social media, and fragmenting consumer behavior into both their supply chain design and their daily operations. Toward that same end, Risk—and Your Supply Chain, by supply chain and procurement leaders Omer Abdullah and Subash Chandar, reexamines standard approaches to crisis and risk management and concludes that business leaders can not only safeguard against current crises, but prepare for those yet to come.

The mindset necessary to take this approach, argues supply chain consultant Nicolas Vandeput in Data Science for Supply Chain Forecasting, is rooted in such scientific method principles as experimentation, observation, and constant questioning. Product management veteran Matthew Fitzgerald applies this approach to product lifecycle management in Trees Don’t Grow to the Sky, warning, in the words of the German proverb from which he took his book’s title, against straight-line thinking, pointing out that “the product, the customer, the market will not continue to grow simply because they have always grown in the past.”

Still too heavy for the beach? Then consider illustrator Dean Motter’s recent graphic interpretation of the late management guru Eliyahu M. Goldratt’s 1984 best-selling business novel, The Goal, which tells the story of a harried plant manager who saves his factory after a former professor introduces him to the Theory of Constraints. Or Devil in the Chain, billed as “a supply chain management business thriller.” In business turnaround expert James Amoah’s story, a family uses the principles of supply chain management to lead their chocolate business from likely failure to success.

Inspired? Then start putting together your Christmas gift list today. One suggestion: Sustainable Procurement, due out in December, purchasing authority Jonathan O’Brien’s argument that savvy management of supply chains is intricately tied to the quest for sustainability.

Steps to Managing Geopolitical Risk on the Road to Supply Chain Resiliency

Managing Geopolitical Risk

In addition to the ongoing effects of the pandemic, geopolitical issues around the world are creating unstable operating environments that can increase costs while lowering supply chain efficiency. Tariffs, sanctions, civil unrest, and military action can disrupt access to suppliers, markets, and shipping channels.

In the face of destabilization caused by events like the war in Ukraine or COVID-related factory closures in China, how can you bulletproof your supply chain to make sure that the products you need are not caught up in political disputes?

Some experts believe we’re currently in a period of re-alignment of manufacturing economics. For example, according to futurist Trond Arne Undheim, the world went too far toward lean, just-in-time supply chains, so now, in today’s political environment, the geopolitics of manufacturing needs to adjust, adapt, and align by putting greater focus on regional networks and innovation.

Thanks to the impact of the pandemic combined with geopolitics, “reshoring, even major reshoring that will be costly and take time to implement, is back on the table” for manufacturers, Undheim said in a recent Forbes article.

The Quest for Strategic Agility

With this sort of manufacturing rebalancing taking place, strategic agility is essential to managing geopolitical supply chain risks. “You should be confident in your organization’s ability to monitor, measure, and manage exposure to geopolitical events,” according to PwC business transformation analyst Matthew Comte.

Business leaders should be aware of their major supply routes, and how existing or emerging geopolitical conflicts could make them vulnerable, Comte explained. To reduce risk, they can consider not only regionalizing their supply chains or reshoring, but also other strategic actions.

To develop strategic agility, Comte recommends that company leaders:

  • Monitor geopolitical trends and events that may impact key suppliers
  • Identify risk exposure by mapping supply chain nodes for suppliers around the world
  • Assess each node’s vulnerability to disruption and the company’s ability to mitigate various types of geopolitical risks
  • Plan to adapt business strategies and operations to changing geopolitical conditions on short notice, such as by securing redundant suppliers or creating an inventory approach that straddles just-in-time and just-in-case strategies

Other steps executives can take to manage geopolitical risks more proactively and strategically include identifying quantitative political risk indicators; assessing the business impact of political risk; integrating political risk into enterprise-wide processes; engaging the board and the C-suite to incorporate political risk into strategic planning; and setting up a cross-functional geostrategic committee, according to a 2021 EY Geostrategy in Practice study conducted in collaboration with the Political Risk Lab at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

The Impact of Digital Twins

Leveraging data and technology is yet another way for companies to mitigate geopolitical risks. For example, digital twins are being used by some companies as an emerging artificial intelligence (AI)-powered tool that allows supply chain managers to run “what-if” scenarios.

When political issues arise, digital twins calculate the risks, estimate the impact on a supply chain, and suggest ways to minimize disruptions and slowdowns, according to a recent Workflow article.

From strategy development to data management to technology solutions, Dynamic Technology Solutions provides a broad portfolio of supply chain services designed to anticipate and mitigate internal and external risks. Review our technology supply chain management case studies and learn more about what we can offer your company.