Active, Not Aggressive
According to Leendert Santema,
CBI expert for the medical industry, many companies in DCs have a website, but
acquisition is passive. Suppliers in DCs often do not actively search for new
contacts, leaving it to the buyer to contact them. Very few suppliers in DCs
will contact EU buyers by email. “DC suppliers must become more active in
acquisition”, says Santema. “They should, however, be careful not to be too
aggressive as this is not appreciated by EU buyers”.
E-business literally in the sense
of selling your product directly through your own website is a less feasible
option in the medical devices sector. Most products are of such a complexity in
procurement and usage that a high level of pre-and after sales service is needed
to satisfy the customer. Exceptions are made perhaps for consumer products of
relatively low complexity, like for instance blood pressure devices for the home
care market, as these require a minimum level of pre- and after sales support.
Online invoicing and electronic
settlement techniques are of ‘medium importance’, according to the EU buyers and
experts approached for this survey. Sending the bill online is convenient and
appreciated, though not essential. EU buyers still require the original invoice
for custom clearance. As electronic settlement techniques for large sums of
money pose security risks in many DCs, many EU buyers are avoiding them.
Electronic settlement techniques are expected to grow in importance. Only 18% of
the ECP participants use e-business practices for payment. Advantages they
observe are that e-paying produces more orders and saves time.
Product Service Delivery (PSD)
Shipment notifications and
tracking and tracing are quite important in the medical industry, according to
EU buyers and experts, as buyers like to know the status of their shipment.
Just-in- time delivery is an important logistics service. Because of its
complexity, EU buyers and experts tend to doubt whether DC suppliers can provide
this service. They’re not far from the mark either. Of the exporters enrolled in
the CBI’s ECP, only 27% use shipment modification, 18% use tracking and tracing
and only 9% offer just-in-time service. The general intention among ECP
participants, however, is to appropriate these methods more actively in the
Most digital customer service
applications are appreciated by EU buyers and experts in the medical industry.
DC suppliers should pay special attention to the advantages of email
newsletters, as these are not yet used very widely in this sector but considered
of ‘high importance’ by buyers- provided they are not general, but either sector
or company specific. Buyers are interested in updates on new products. Email
newsletters, they say, should neither be too long nor sent too often: a maximum
of 2 pages every two months is plenty.
Online FAQ forms (frequently
asked questions) are a good way of presenting general company information and
are appreciated by EU buyers and experts. Voice-over IP is a cost effective
means of personal contact with a company, provided you have a good dial-up line
or internet connection.
Web-based collaboration, already
common in the EU, is given medium to high importance by EU buyers and experts.
They consider it as a good way of sharing information (e.g. product sheets). One
expert points out that it should be part of the quality management system of a
company. The possibility of checking online status of product that is being
produced is given medium importance. Some EU buyers prefer personal contact for
this purpose, as online status checking is less controllable and can be
unreliable. On the whole, however, DC suppliers should realize that EU buyers
are interested in web-based collaboration. Only 18% of the ECP participants
currently use web-based collaboration, 9% offer online production status.
For more information: download
‘E-business in the medical and medical laboratory industry’ from
Reference : CBI News March ,