Top 5 Takeaways from Oliver’s “Shared Experiences from Healthcare Packaging Engineers” Webinar


Whether you’re new to the healthcare packaging industry or an industry veteran, Oliver’s most recent webinar “Shared Experiences from Healthcare Packaging Engineers” had insightful takeaways for all. Being new to the industry, I found this conversation to be very enlightening. It was personable and all panelists were very knowledgeable in their field. Here are my five top takeaways:

  1. More Than Just Packaging

As panelist Kat Olson, Sr. Engineer - Global Packaging with Teleflex, said, “packaging isn’t just trash.” In many medical settings, the package is ripped open and eventually finds its way to a disposal bin without the healthcare professional having a second to give it another thought. But what if the packaging could be used as more than just a protective layer and could help aid in the procedure? For example, could a tray be used to mix fluids together, or hold instruments? In this case, packaging could become part of the product and clinical workflow. To do this, we, as packaging engineers, need to work to understand the entire workflow. This will help to make both the packaging and product easier to use for healthcare professionals.

  1. Get Involved Early

All three panelists agreed that there is a need to get involved early in the project and be vocal about the overall time needed for each step of the process. Being persistent about being included in meetings regarding the project from the very start can help ensure packaging engineers learn crucial information and build relationships. More often than not, engineers are brought in towards the end, which can result in a lot of rework needed. The key takeaway—solidify a place at the table by being proactive.

  • Project Management Imperative Skills

The more knowledgeable you are about each step in the project, the better chance you have of influencing others. Programs like Project Management Institute (PMI), Six Sigma, and Project Management Professional (PMP) are good courses to help you learn more about how a project functions.

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Another element to making the whole development process more effective when working with cross-functioning teams is to understand who you are communicating to and what they care the most about. For example, if you’re speaking to someone in quality, the conversation might lean towards complaint review and what can be done to improve. Whereas when speaking to someone in project management, they likely would care most about lead times and deadlines.

Additionally, panelists shared that learning everything they could about statistics has been critical in their roles as medical device packaging engineers. For example, Y=F(X) has been helpful in understanding how every different input impacts the output.

  1. Sustainability Remains One of the Biggest Challenges

The medical packaging field continues to face challenges around sustainability. Currently, there isn’t much that can be recycled downstream, so the change has to start upstream. Examples of where change could take place are through implementing regulations to enforce recycling which would help to maintain costs and minimize supply constraint fears. Another approach would be to design out the waste through the initial package creation.

  1. Essential Traits for Effectively Managing a Team

First and foremost, know your team—understand what drives them, their skills, and their passions. Knowing who you are working with will help immensely when assigning projects and tasks. You also want to make yourself present and available to your team. They need to know and feel comfortable coming to you with any questions or issues. Trusting your team also goes both ways. You want to trust them and feel confident that their work will be accurate. But they also need to trust you and know that if there is a concern, they can come to you for help. Lastly, your employees should understand that everything they do impacts the business.

Shared Experiences from Healthcare Packaging Engineers

Watch the full webinar below. 

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