Take time and listen. Pick up speed once implementation starts. And boldly chart new courses. CEO Josef Hackl and CTO Wolfgang Warum explain in an interview how the WILD Group has succeeded in becoming a serious contender in medical Technology.

WILD has held pole position as contract manufacturer in the medical technology market for almost 50 years. How do you manage to keep the pace at a such high level for such a long time?

Wolfgang Warum: “We are never satisfied with what has been achieved, we always look towards the future. For instance, the fact that we recently passed the FDA audit without any ‚observations‘ is not an invitation for us to stand still, but instead motivates us to reach the next level. Thanks to this fundamental approach, the WILD Group has been able to develop from an Initial precision manufacturer to a consultant and expert in the development and process validation of complex products.“

Josef Hackl: “It has also been important to shape the individual companies of the Group into a complementary system with homogeneous processes. Moreover, the WIN partner network gives us a real technological edge.“

The market is growing rapidly and innovation is abundant in different areas. How do you know you are backing the right horse?

Warum: “This is only possible if we broaden our horizons and precisely monitor new technologies that are now emerging. We analyse such trends as part of our Technology Roadmap. By focusing on selected target segments, we specifically build up application and industry expertise, which is important in order to understand the requirements relating to current products. We listen very carefully to our customers and constantly react to changing demands. In addition, the close collaboration with external experts as part of the WIN partner network broadens our perspective and allows for true innovation leaps.“

Don‘t the tremendous bandwidth of Technologies and the profound specialisation contradict each other?

Warum: “No. The WILD Group‘s USP is precisely this combination. We bring together state-of-the-art knowledge in optics, mechanics, electronics and software. We developed the term ‚optomechatronics‘, which best expresses this uniqueness.“

Why do you think demand for contract manufacturers in medical technology is growing and how do you see things developing in the future?

Hackl: “For today‘s medical technology manufacturers, it is quicker and more economically efficient to enter at a know-how level which is as high as possible with the help of a systems partner than to build everything from scratch themselves. In our volatile business world, the demand for partners in development and manufacturing will continue to grow. After all, implementing every trend in your own ranks entails significant risks. In addition, a short time to market has a significant impact on the success of a product. This is why you need solid Partners who can show you the way forward.“

Have the increasing regulatory requirements intensified this trend?

Warum: “Absolutely. Especially small and medium-sized enterprises benefit from not having to develop all manufacturing processes and their evaluation and validation in-house, and instead from being able to resort to established players like the WILD Group. In addition, it makes sense to keep internally developed products stable through external process validation, so as to avoid any future recall campaigns.“

Hackl: “Regulatory systems pose barriers to entry especially for newcomers in the medical technology sector and regrettably they also slow down the speed of innovation because they require a very high level of organisation. As partners, we can provide massive support to our customers in this respect.“

WILD maintains long-standing partnerships with many customers. Why are the requirements today different from the past?

Warum: “The drastic changes in the regulatory regime in Europe alone is causing uncertainty among many companies. We see ourselves as a kind of sparring partner for our customers. This already makes the bond stronger and more intensive.“

Hackl: “At the same time, medical technology products are becoming smarter and more connected. Despite a higher level of complexity, they offer better usability. To achieve that, it is becoming increasingly important for a contract manufacturer to become involved in a customer project already during the development phase. Our development expertise, further boosted by the WIN partner network, has been given completely new status as a result.“