Category Archive: OEM Playbook

Competing in Medical Device Design: Gain an Edge with a Smarter Look at TCO

Medical System Development Costs are Better Defined by Lifecycle Management, Last Time Buys, and Long-Term Component Availability

In the challenging and diverse realm of medical system design, not only do regulating agencies demand quality and compliance, but patients and doctors expect smart, connected health strategies. Systems must perform reliably in the spectrum of mission-critical healthcare environments, which may mean hospitals, doctors’ offices, in the home, or emergency settings. Global factors such as an aging population and the need for healthcare anywhere create even greater impact, keeping the market dynamic and continually evolving.

For manufacturers of healthcare medical devices, delivering on the promise of availability is just the beginning. Keeping systems in the field as long as possible is crucial for patient treatment as well as market leadership. Strategies for longevity must include both a design and support perspective and may require original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to challenge the status quo.

Use Case: A start-up medical manufacturer scales change management

One medical design start-up, a developer of systems for fluorescence image-guided surgery, recognized smarter change management as a way to compete and win. Cashflow and reduced costs were critical to success, driving its focus on components with a strong balance of performance and longevity. In this scenario, the product lifecycle had to prove viable for long-term medical deployment by offering cost-effective, FDA-validated performance that would interest a buyer for the overall company.

This OEM recognized that any conversation around lifecycle management must also include total cost of ownership (TCO) and how it is defined. Once the team established a timeline for system development, they evaluated TCO as a complete picture. In this case, the OEM prioritized the need for insight into when component replacement should be expected and the associated cost.

This is a shift from a traditional look at TCO. Instead of simply outlining upfront system costs – and bidding supplier against supplier for pure component costs – the OEM sought proposals based on lifecycle management, last time buys, and long-term component availability. Newly empowered to evaluate system TCO over a full ten-year period, the OEM chose suppliers committed to meeting long-term needs and offering the best total cost.

To optimize planning and align its hardware Bill of Materials (BOM) with program needs, the OEM considered which software elements were right for its stack. This critical step acknowledges the software stack must not only accommodate the application software but must also be managed in the same way as the hardware stack. In addition, the OEM considered the lifecycle of each operating system (OS), which may affect system functionality and add validation cycles to system design.

In this scenario, the OEM recognized that evaluating and choosing an OS is equally as important as choosing ideal hardware components. Making a change to a piece of hardware impacts system certifications, but the OEM went further and considered whether it also affects the software image that goes on that device. Because upgrading and re-validating the software image presents a significant undertaking, this OEM embraced and anticipated the challenge, planning for it at the early stages of design. As a result, changes to hardware and software were slated to occur in tandem in the design or upgrade cycle. Re-validation is still significant but orchestrating it as a unified effort played a role in streamlining costs and engineering resources. The OEM saw competitive value by avoiding multiple re-validations that add cost and time to overall product resources.

Going Beyond Device Repair: Strategic Support Takes Ownership of Product Performance

For OEMs, a competitive service model yields longer lifecycle and reduced costs

Developing high performance computing systems for the long haul is a powerful tenet of embedded design and manufacturing. In today’s industrial PC landscape, a service department within the Original Design Manufacturer (ODM) is more than just a repair center, and extended support is more than lifecycle management.

A more strategic program of extended support and service – characterized by Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) as a deeper level of partnership with the ODM or System Integrator – recognizes that embedded systems are often just too costly and too critical to tolerate downtime.

Strategic Support

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These relationships are vital in keeping systems deployed and performing flawlessly, demonstrated by the use case of a global healthcare OEM, leading the industry with sophisticated surgical tools and systems. Its key platform was passing the 12-year mark in its worldwide deployment. As the manufacturer of the computing system, Dedicated Computing recognized the near-end-of-life for the product, and proactively reached out to the OEM to determine potential failures as well as preventative measures.

For example, one test demonstrated a ‘sluggish response’ from the computer, quickly confirmed as CPU performance being degraded by high temperature. A proactive course of action was recommended, including the replacement of fans in all deployed systems, an activity conveniently added to every routine service call. Costs and downtime were minimized – not only was this a low-cost part, but the replacement pre-empted more serious and more expensive failures from occurring. Dedicated Computing also worked closely with the organization’s repair depot to develop protocols for consistent verification of repairs: using remote diagnostics, test packets were downloaded and run onsite, testing devices at the repair depot with guidance from the manufacturer.

Successful partnerships between OEMs and ODMs require that service and support go “beyond the repair” and is considered integral to the design and manufacturing process. OEMs requiring mission-critical systems win big with this approach, reducing downtime and ensuring a path to longer product lifecycle.

As part of DC OEM Playbook series, Going Above & Beyond for System Support: Strategic Support Takes Ownership of Product Performance” provides a deeper view into how an ODM support program can extend the life of your device and the embedded system powering your device.

For greater insight and to empower a strategic approach to extended support and service, connect with Dedicated Computing.

System Selection: Smart Hardware Choices Enable a Cascade of Value

Lifecycle Longevity, System Performance, and Reliability

Smarter hardware choices and system selection enable a cascade of value for embedded systems, including cost savings, system performance and overall total cost of ownership (TCO).

OEM Playbook

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OEMs and ISVs who live in a software-first world, can save big with deeper conversations and planning sessions with their ODM around the overall systems design. With early collaboration built into the design process, OEMs can combat unforeseen hardware challenges, while creating significant opportunities to improve their TCO.

As OEMs search for hardware partners for traditional contract manufacturing, evaluation criteria such as performance and longevity are often overlooked or sacrificed for price. Reliability and longevity for embedded computing systems are key. If not “baked in” early can lead to vulnerabilities throughout a long-term product roadmap. Field support and ongoing product changes can be anticipated and planned, eliminating costly surprises and creating a clear understanding of price versus performance.

Early Collaboration is Key

By seeking a purpose-built PC for their application, software-centric OEMs can rely on the competitive value of right-sizing a system for specific performance. Often, however the first communication between the OEM and their contract manufacturer is a high-level look at an existing bill of materials (BOM) or last-time buy. Preconceived notions about hardware could lead to potential issues, above and beyond cost and performance, creating impact in terms of longevity, parts availability, and ongoing maintenance. In reality, a strategic hardware supplier, or ODM, can help combat these issues early in the design process – recommending new products ready for smarter customization, or new technologies to consider based on a deeper knowledge of sub-technologies and their progress in the market.

Ultimately, with more collaboration as a best practice, a broader view of the hardware requirements can enable the OEM to bring just the right amount of technology to the table — meeting the application-specific needs for the long term.

As part of the DC OEM Playbook series, “System Selection: Smart Hardware Choices Enable a Cascade of Value,” provides six questions for OEMs to evaluate when aligning hardware to their application requirements. Click here to download the System Selection white paper. If you’re exploring a new standard for a PC Supplier partnership, click here connect Engineer-to-Engineer with Dedicated Computing.

Smart Design and Market Leadership: Go Hand-in-Hand as Requirements for Powering the OEM/ODM Relationship

How and when to capitalize on ODM resources for a competitive-edge with embedded computing

Leading Original Design Manufacturers (ODMs) of embedded computing systems work diligently to protect the OEM from making costly mistakes that could occur along the way within the OEM’s product development process. ODMs focus on solving the unknown and unpredictable challenges common with on-going R&D.

Powering the OEM / ODM Relationship

Click image to download Powering the OEM/ODM Relationship white paper

This approach enables the OEM product development team to focus on their mission critical application and holistic product design, not the performance of the hardware. ODMs drive improved system performance, reduced time-to-market, and market leadership.

“Smart Design and Market Leadership: 2 Requirements for Powering the OEM/ODM Relationship” provides OEMs a simple road map for how to get more out of your industrial PC supplier. OEMs requiring embedded computing systems with components off the shelf (COTS) should be leaning on their partner relationship for in-house capabilities such as engineering, system design, and tolerance testing for thermal, electrical and acoustic performance.

Engineering product success starts early in the design process. ODMs can add a unique development perspective – a holistic approach that is both collaborative and engineering-focused, helping OEMs meet end-user goals on day-one and throughout the entire life of the OEM’s product.

With awareness to the product requirements such as performance targets, environmental challenges, quality expectations, and time to market, ODMs can value-engineer with smart off-the-shelf components as well as decades of supply chain relationships to handle extended product life and change management. When off-the-shelf is not an option, ODMs offer in-house electrical, mechanical, and software engineering expertise to meet otherwise impossible needs with custom designs for enclosures, electronics and applications.

ODMs focus on solving these kinds of problems with ongoing R&D – continually asking themselves ‘what computational needs are the OEMs going to require before they know they need it?’ Value-added relationships are the result, protecting OEM resources, enhancing system performance, reducing time-to-market, and creating market leadership.

Click HERE to read more. Then connect Engineer-to-Engineer with Dedicated Computing if you’re exploring the new standard for a PC supplier partnership.

Swing by our LIBRARY Section for additional captivating content for Global OEMs.


4 Great Questions To Ask When Choosing Your Industrial PC Supplier

When choosing an industrial PC supplier for your mission-critical product design, consider these four questions before you pull the trigger.

4 Key questions to ask when selecting a supplier for embedded computing:

  1. Can they prioritize smart purchase lifecycles? Choose a partner that understands the long-life demands of embedded, compute-intensive design.
  2. Proactive Change Management – Can they speak to best practices for eliminating unnecessary, and costly changes?
  3. Collaboration – Do they offer the design expertise and personal attention to help get your product to market?
  4. Do they understand the mission-critical value of your product — offering market that fuels a time-to-market advantage?

Build For Life

If you’re an OEM developing life-improving and life-saving devices, each computing problem you solve directly impacts the quality of your product and customer satisfaction. Partnering with an ODM will save you valuable resources that you can apply to developing other critically important products. Strategic partnerships with ODMs offer:


PC Supplier Checklist
Download the Build for Life white paper to read more
  • Intelligent lifecycle management: Choose ODMs that anticipate embedded technology availability for up to 7–10 years in the future, serving the long-life demands of highly regulated medical and life science–related systems
  • Proactive change management: Distinguish ODMs by their proactive change management strategies  that reduce risk and eliminate unnecessary or costly changes by providing product modularity and easier design adaptation for future iterations
  • Smart, collaborative design: An ODM should configure and validate systems early in product design, helping OEMs avoid issues later on and smoothing out production issues in the long run
  • Application-specific value: The ODM should work with the OEM to provide comprehensive hardware, software, and service solutions for each specific market vertical

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Dedicated Computing

Choosing the right ODM partner to develop your specialized products can save you time, money, and headaches throughout their life cycle.

Contact us to discover how Dedicated Computing can help launch your products and manage ongoing change in ways that will benefit your bottom line and ensure great customer experiences.

What’s Secure Today, may not be Secure Tomorrow. Driving a security-first mindset for OEMs.

As an OEM, how are you ensuring that your devices are secure? Read our latest white paper for establishing a security-first protocol.

Embedded Systems & Security

Click image to download the Embedded Systems and Security white paper

In volatile embedded environments where security threats are constant, how are you ensuring a security-first mindset?

According to the Symantec Internet Security Threat Report, supply chains were attacked every month in 2017, compared to an attack every four months in 2015. With the amount of cyber-threats constantly increasing; equipment manufacturers (OEMs) need to secure their devices and systems, but don’t necessarily understand how to maintain protection for the long-term.

By embracing security implementations and proactive risk management, OEMs can prevail in many ways – protecting systems, distinguishing their services, and driving new opportunities to create long-term profit centers from security services.

Click HERE to view our white paper about the Security-First Mindset for OEMs.