Editorial: Industry Without Borders

By Len Monheit

All too often, businesses in this industry marginalize themselves by posting mental barricades at national borders, forgetting that so many of industry’s ‘issues’ transcend these lines. Industry’s agenda too, when described as participating as a healthcare solution contributor, must be considered on an international scale.

It’s natural for companies to focus on business, legislative and regulatory environments that are close at hand. In these areas too, one can sometimes operate and be relatively unaffected by developments elsewhere in the world. For the purposes of this argument, let’s classify these aspects as operational issues.

Those with a broader perspective of the world know that operational issues are only half the battle. You can do the operational ‘stuff’ entirely right and be grossly unsuccessful or at best non-sensational in business. There is an entire series of strategic or visionary issues that must be recognized and put in context and then the chances of success are dramatically improved. As it turns out, many of these issues transcend geographic borders.

On a national level we often moan about the treatment of our science and the criticism of the media. We might even be aware of the gaps in our ability to communicate with other professional groups (on an equal footing) and be a part of the healthcare solution universe – on a national level. We may be aware that managing our value chains has become a significant business issue, but often limit our perspective to how it impacts our regional business.

All of these issues above transcend national boundaries and that’s where consideration becomes a strategic opportunity. With the pace of information exchange, news is global and sensational stories are international headlines. Value chain management not only has national implications, industry leaders and visionaries are realizing that international relationships and decisions will make or break the business five years from now – or sooner. When a supplement in Asia tests positive for a drug ingredient, the ramifications impact us all – rightly or wrongly.

This essentially means that support of and belief in our industry can be eroded from anywhere in the world. Conversely, this means that efforts to both fix and build these areas can and perhaps needs to be done from anywhere in the world. Whether we’re talking value chain management through analytical method sharing and process analysis, or pooling of scientific expertise to both manage negative coverage and generate rational, sound substantiation – companies have got to think global.

Those on the forefront are tracking international developments and / or playing active roles as these developments unfold. Chances are that these are the companies and organizations that will be among those ‘left standing’ when roll call is announced ten years from now.

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