By Ashley Goldie, Sales & Marketing Director, Kallik ‎

I don’t know if you’ve noticed it yet, but there’s a quiet revolution going on. I think it’s about a fundamental shift in the way organisations deal with change and make innovation happen. I’m calling it ‘the roadmap to automation’ – and I hope you will agree with me once I explain a bit more.

Let’s start with the public sector. We’ve seen enough big project disasters there in the past – often IT-related ones.

But we’ve not been reading about anything like that for a while now. If you ask people in the sector why that is, they’ll probably point to the insistence by the Government on the use of the ‘Agile’ project management and system creation approach.

What’s Agile about? It’s about stepping away from the Big Bang/‘let’s change everything even if it takes three years’ approach that’s been the hallmark of failure in the past.

Agile – with its insistence on breaking big problems down into small, tractable ones and on working with customers to deliver quick, easy wins on a regular basis, that get everyone on board to achieve transformation together – says, ‘Let’s get to the future in achievable increments, not by a huge, dangerous leap.’

You see the same thing in the private sector. After all, Agile itself is a spin-off of a management technique called Lean Manufacturing, which you may well have come across. You may also have seen a sharp, recent increase in interest in Six Sigma, a fantastic quality-improvement technique, which is also akin to Agile.

Let’s stop biting off more than we can chew!

The trend that Agile in the public sector and Six Sigma in the private one support is the same thing.

That’s a commitment to stop trying to ‘boil the ocean’ in one go – or, as it’s also sometimes pithily put, ‘eating the elephant.’

All these approaches can be summed up in the useful Japanese phrase kaizen or ‘continuous improvement’. Kaizen’s all about small steps – but steps that all go in the right direction.

We’ve seen this really take off among our customers – this kind of pause in the Big Project mindset. People are fed up of three year ‘change’ projects that either never finish – or finish by delivering something that is no longer very useful, as times have moved on.

This is a very positive trend and one that all businesses should look at. It’s also very much what we encourage at Kallik, by the way.

We are very comfortable helping customers start small with the Kallik AMS360 (Artwork Management System). There simply is no need to leap forward dramatically if you don’t want to – although we will also support you if that’s your intention.

We call this a roadmap to full automation – and hope you agree this incremental approach to business change could be right for you, too.

By Neil Gleghorn, CEO, Kallik

Last time, we laid out a set of big drivers of change in the medical devices context that will impact your business in the next few months.

Let’s switch tack now and start talking less about problems and business context and more about the practical help a company like Kallik can offer. To remind you, we talked about legislation, industry consolidation, coping with mergers and acquisition and dealing with a globalising market. Let’s look in turn at what you can start thinking about in connections with these drivers.

When you look at increased legislation, the solution we can provide is all about giving you the level of agility you will need to be able to change labels and packaging quickly. Why would this be helpful? Remember that legislation is coming in so fast – and across more and markets – you simply have to be able to deal, and deal correctly, with all the requisite requirements from the legislation or regulatory bodies. To be blunt, if you clustered two or more countries or regions together on your packaging (i.e. North America & Canada) and changes in legislation in the United States drives an amendments to that pack labelling, in two months time, you may have to change for Canada as well – but you may not have been aware of that. So it means you are changing your labelling twice.

By working with Kallik, because we drive change straight into your artwork, it allows you to move a lot quicker and react to those changes in an efficient manner.

When you look at the rising rates of healthcare provider market consolidation, what’s emerging out of that is that cost is being driven down. For example, the US is changing the game here to tax suppliers not on profits, but on turnover! Medical device players need to plan to do more with less, essentially. We can point you to situations where Kallik has delivered just that, with anything from 60 to 95% efficiency savings across the labelling process. In other words, we are a good bet to help you drive out cost, which may be the only way to make that ‘higher quality but lower cost’ equation work.

When it comes to all the merger and acquisitions activity in the sector, the key is transparency. Whenever one medical devices firm buys another, it becomes legally responsible for the labelling. So if the labelling is wrong and a product recall is initiated, then it is the parent company that is legally responsible.

In this context, our system offers you a truly global web-based system that brings transparency to your processes, especially crucial labelling change processes, and thus also brings you visibility around compliance. Thus if there is ever an issue, the parent company can easily show the authorities that the labelling was done correctly, share all audit reports and so forth.

And finally, when it comes to making the most from all the globalisation taking place in the market, having a solid platform like Kallik in-house means that the parent company can see what is happening across the business, in all divisions of a global whole, in the labelling process. Plus, when it comes to diving into emerging markets, Kallik has the ability to manage the content and translations right across every label set, as well as offering the ideal foundation to manage the increased volumes and complexities experienced when expanding into those new markets.

Why do we think that? Each market has different legislation or regulation that refers to what messaging goes on the pack, which means the central Regulatory Affairs and Labelling department in head office are always trying to work and understand this, while sales are driving into new markets. The workload either builds to a crisis and something falls over (e.g. there is a major recall and all the focus is on that) or smart managers put in solutions to start using technology to do things the right-first-time, enabling the firm to work in a much more friction-free way.

I hope you agree that effective use of technology is going to be your best friend when it comes to prepping for all 2014 is going to throw at you.

I also hope you agree that Kallik is ideally placed to supply that help – and that you join other great companies, like Unilever, Mary Kay, Integra, Coloplast and BSN medical, who are doing just that.

 

 

by Ashley Goldie, Sales and Marketing Director, Kallik

There’s huge debate at the moment in software, especially in the public sector, about new, allegedly faster and better methods for getting useful systems in the hands of customers, the idea being to get away from the clunky approach sometimes called ‘the waterfall’

This new method, called Agile, is all the rage now but it’s actually not very far off one we’ve used for years here at Kallik.

Only we call it the ‘Adam Ant’ approach. In other words – stand and deliver!*

Picture this: once a week the technology guys meet with the business people and they have a face to face dialogue on requirements, current understandings of that in tech terms, and what we have got for you so far.

Out of the Adam Ant session, agreements are struck to break work down into weekly chunks so the techies never end up going away and getting disconnected from the real world for six months in development Shangri-La.

The Adam Ant meeting is also where our sales and marketing and implementation teams working and training clients can also get a reality check on all current issues. I have never seen, frankly, a better way to join up the technical and business sides of the organisation, so that both sides always know what our customers’ problems and successes really are.

In other words, we are Agile, all right – as a business. We have the ability to flex internally very quickly, for example – which clients love, because they are used to dealing with vendors who go, ‘Well, this is what we have got, we have no plans to do anything else’ and they just don’t listen to you after you’ve signed the PO.

Adam Ant may have not been everyone’s cup of popular entertainment tea. But his ‘Stand And Deliver!’ catchphrase is still one that has resonance for us as a supplier determined to actually deliver useful systems – not just stand around earning interest on your cheque.

If this all sound too Post Punk and not enough about business-benefit, here’s how our methodology helps you. A lot of software companies have a very transparent way of listening to their customers: ‘Tell us what you want.’ But very few of your requests for change get delivered – or if they do get delivered, it’s a process that typically takes too long and the moment of opportunity gets lost.

By contrast, we actively encourage our clients to pass on ideas for new features and functions, and we review them every week: and they get feedback on their idea very quickly. More often not, the changes get actioned. We have customers who have requested 30 or 40 new things, and 50% of those have made it into the next release within 12 months.

What’s more, because of this Agile approach, we can turn things around in three months. Indeed, if we didn’t have this method of working then we couldn’t give back to customers in this way.

Sound like music to your ears? Hope so!

* PS If I have lost you on the Adam Ant reference, he is a pop star most famous in the 1980s. Check this link out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4B2a6l6wM2k