Video Quick Take: Christian Salvans on the Challenges Companies Face in Overcoming Market Access Today

Video Quick Take: Christian Salvans on the Challenges Companies Face in Overcoming Market Access Today

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JULIE DEVOLL, HBR

Welcome to the HBR Quick Take. I’m Julie Devoll, Editor for Special Projects and Webinars at HBR. And today, I’m joined by Christian Salvans, Senior Director of Global Market Access at UL. Christian leads a global team employing market data and digital innovations to support customer needs. Christian, thank you so much for joining us today.

CHRISTIAN SALVANS, UL

Thank you very much. Nice to be here.

JULIE DEVOLL, HBR

I want to start by asking, “What are the biggest challenges companies are facing in overcoming market access today?”

CHRISTIAN SALVANS, UL

I can see two main challenges today. The first one is really time to market, especially today when the manufacturers need to expand quicker than before. This could be due to multiple reasons, with one of them being unexpected regulatory activities happening at the very end of the product lifecycle before launching the product into the market.

A good example is the appliances or the lighting industry getting into the internet of things space, which has forced them to really start to use wireless technology, a technology that has never been used in the past by the appliances industry. So this is something that’s adding requirements that may delay the time to market. Another example is the environmental concern. This is considered by the governments by developing new requirements in the areas of sustainability and chemicals.

The second challenge I can see is once your product is already regulated, how you stay in the market, how you maintain all regulatory approvals of thousands of products, ensuring that you have the very, very last requirement applied to your product.

JULIE DEVOLL, HBR

Are the challenges the same for large, medium, and smaller organizations, or what’s different between the three?

CHRISTIAN SALVANS, UL

Most of the challenges for the small and medium organizations remain on the resources to keep all that knowledge, knowledge related to certifications in the EMC area—radio, wireless, chemicals, environmental, sustainability, safety, etc. For the big companies, the main challenge is in keeping those thousands of products certified for hundreds of countries and ensuring that they fully understand the potential regulatory changes from the future to keep those devices safe and secure.

But overall, there are three main elements that remain the same independent of the size of the company. Number one, wherever you sell one product or 1,000 products, in most of the countries, you will have exactly the same requirements. Number two, companies need to have a clear strategy on compliance to avoid extra time and extra cost in going into the market. And the last one, number three, they need to have a really good supply chain to reduce the risk of noncompliance into the final product.

JULIE DEVOLL, HBR

How has that changed over the past 18 months?

CHRISTIAN SALVANS, UL

Very important point. We can see a couple of changes. Main reason, the world has changed. The world is more digital today. The world is more connected. There are more concerns on the environment. It’s more software-driven, as well as there are thousands of millions of personal data impacting our privacy.

Clearly, as the world has evolved, the regulatory world has adapted to that change as well by the adoption or even increase of number of requirements that the authority requires for the products to be sold into their countries. As an example, over the last 18 months, we have identified 1,300 changes impacting the electrical and electronic industry, its components, or raw materials. This equals more than two changes per day. So, this is an unprecedented level of change that we have never seen over the last couple of years.

The second big change has been with the supply-chain disruption because of the raw material crisis. This is clearly adding complexity to the manufacturers to really design and produce their products.

JULIE DEVOLL, HBR

What are some of the more innovative approaches you’ve seen companies use to overcome some of these challenges?

CHRISTIAN SALVANS, UL

Let’s review the challenge first. Manufacturers need to, number one, know the requirements that apply to their products. Number two, they need to understand those requirements. And number three, they need to assess the impact of those requirements on their products. So all the above, if you think about thousands of products certified for actually hundreds of countries, means a huge amount of data. The same challenges that the manufacturers have are from our side as well on the testing, inspection, and certification companies.

To give that context, in UL, we have 350 GMA handlers working on certification of products, plus 60 GMA experts located strategically close to the authorities to better understand the processes we have to follow to help our customers certify devices. This means a huge amount of data. So we have come up with a solution which is called UL Go, which is a solution developed for our own staff as well as to offer to our manufacturers consolidation of all that data to make it understandable.

Number one, it helps the manufacturers to understand the requirement of their particular products. Number two, it helps the manufacturers understand the requirements and the impact on the product design. Number three, it facilitates the component and material sourcing. Number four, clearly, as a result, it improves compliance on cost on time. And number five, it reduces the risk of recall. And finally, it provides a really good certification portfolio management to ensure that products keep compliant with the future regulation changes.

JULIE DEVOLL, HBR

What should leaders be looking out for as they move products into new markets?

CHRISTIAN SALVANS, UL

My recommendation for leaders is about planning and strategy. I mean, leaders should have a really holistic overview of the markets they would like to enter—the regulatory and program compliance requirements they will have to apply, the time to get those approvals, the cost of those approvals.

Even if you sell the same product into 10 different countries, that does not mean that you will have the same standard to apply. Actually, for different countries, you may have different testing requirements. And even in some cases, you may have to test in-country in a lab owned by the government or in a lab approved by the government, which is adding complexity to the language, the time zone, the culture. So, you will need to provide a lot of documentation for the different countries—label, user manual, etc. Clearly, certification is not a box checking, and the companies that have a really good strategy are working with world partners to ensure that they can manage that in an easy and effective way.

JULIE DEVOLL, HBR

Christian, thank you so much for joining us today. This was a great discussion.

CHRISTIAN SALVANS, UL

Thank you very much for inviting me. A pleasure.


To learn more about how your organization can address global market access challenges, visit www.ul.com/marketaccess.

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