Submitted by Gloria Ferris on Fri, 08/17/2007 - 11:44.
I posted the following letter to my blog yesterday per Jim Moran's request if the Plain Dealer had not run it by Thursday. They didn't, I did. George Nemeth at Brewed Fresh Daily posted an excerpt and linked to the original post. Today, my site is down. I can count the number of times my blog has been down in the past year,exactly once. Today. Thanks to Norm for sharing RealNEO and thanks to George for posting the letter in its entirety.
I'm in the medical device business and per the following I don't think the Medical Mart is a good idea. I submitted this to the PD Forum section last Friday but I do not know if it will ever see the light of day. I thought you might have some use for it.
“The Plain Dealer contends that a Medical Mart proposal from
New York validates the concept. Unless you think Field of Dreams was a documentary the only credible validation is commitments by device manufacturers to exhibit. Here is an evaluation of the Medical Mart concept from a manufacturer’s perspective.
The Medical Mart will have permanent and temporary exhibit space. The permanent space is supposed to draw shoppers, but medical device customers are used to a higher level of service. Products are brought to them for evaluation, not the other way around. Institutions like the Cleveland Clinic have an office whose sole purpose is to control the army of vendors who are in its facility on a daily basis. Customers have no incentive to invest time and money in a trip to Cleveland when they see company repsdaily or can pick up the phone in the morning and have four reps in their office that afternoon.
Medtronic claims to have a representative in the operating room every time one of its devices is used. Often the presence of a rep is required to answer questions about use of instrumentation or to provide assistance ifunusual complications develop. The manufacturer uses this one-on-one customer contact to explain the benefits and advantages of its new products without the distraction of a competitor doing the same thing. Manufacturers have no reason to incur the additional cost of showing their products in a medical device bazaar.
What about large capital equipment? A company plane will fly customers to the manufacturer’s facility for a plant tour, a meeting with technical specialists, product demonstration, and a sales pitch. Large companies like Medtronic also have tractor trailers outfitted with their products so they can take capital equipment on the road. Smith & Nephew has the MOBILAB that can accommodate 24 surgeons and includes a conference room with plasma televisions.
In regard to the temporary space, foot traffic is always an issue on the exhibit floor. It would be even more of a problem at an off-site location no matter how close. If forced to choose between the main conference center
meeting hall and Medical Mart space, no exhibitor would choose the Medical Mart, nor could they justify the expense of placing an additional exhibit off-site in Medical Mart space.
The potential number of meetings that could be drawn to Cleveland appears grossly inflated. Downtown Cleveland only has 4,000 hotel rooms. The number of convention attendees alone routinely exceeds that number. Many meetings draw 15,000 to 50,000 attendees and exhibitors. A primary draw of many conferences is that they are always held in warm locations during winter months. Some conventions are held in the same city every year. There are reasons certain medical meetings are not being held in Cleveland already, and the presence of a Medical Mart is not going to address any of those reasons.
Treat this like any other business proposal. What unmet need does this address? There is already a sales network that presents products to the customer in the customer's own office. Permanent display space duplicates one of the main draws of the national meetings; a chance to see all of the latest technology in one place. What is the financial benefit? It actually costs companies money to set up and staff an exhibit that duplicates existing capabilities. What is your competitive advantage? Minneapolis would be a better location than Cleveland. They have a larger medical device manufacturing base, the Mayo Clinic, and less snow. How do you protect your position? There is no way to protect it - any city could duplicate the concept any time they want.
Do not buy into a false sense of urgency; there is no way for Cleveland to lock up a Medical Mart. Sign a petition to put the sales tax to a vote. Demand details from your elected officials and make an informed decision on Election Day.
Even if Cleveland isn’t destined to be a medical convention Mecca, if the same money were used to make it the cleanest, safest city in America, people might actually move here instead of just visiting to attend conventions.