Dr. Andreas Silber

Andreas is a Senior Director and a member of the European Medical Technology Competence Center within the global Life Sciences division of Simon-Kucher. He is based in Cologne.

After an apprenticeship at Siemens Healthcare, Andreas received his degree (diploma) in Industrial Engineering at the TU-Darmstadt (Germany). His studies focused on marketing, international project management, controlling and electrical engineering.

Following his studies, Andreas worked as an external assistant professor in the department for Management of Technology & Marketing at the TU-Darmstadt (Germany). In this position he supported the development of a global CRM program for GE Industrial Systems and led its successful implementation at GE Fanuc Automation Europe. In his doctoral thesis he designed a CRM-Process interface management concept for industrial sales.

At Simon-Kucher, Andreas is specialized in Pricing Excellence and Customer Relationship Management Programs for engineering, medical device and equipment companies. Andreas has managed several international projects and programs for leading suppliers in Europe and North America. 

The medical technology sector is characterised by innovation. This is true not just of how technologies are developed and manufactured – it extends equally to how products are distributed. Having observed this sector for several years, I have seen a running battle between manufacturers and distributors for control of inpatient and outpatient distribution channels. The power of some distributors is growing – so how should manufacturers respond? Certain medtech distributors have been building their bargaining power through mergers, acquisitions, and internationalisation. Some are gradually taking over roles usually played by manufacturers, such as marketing, customer support, product education – even launching their own brands. The resulting increase in their flexibility and negotiation power has caused uncertainty as to who is really in charge of serving the customers and patients. In response, growing numbers of medtech manufacturers are now thinking of expanding their direct sales activities, which often means a radical change in their business model.However, I have identified many ways to significantly improve the traditional distributor management approach without taking the enormous risks associated with changing how manufacturers operate. Terms & conditions: Steer order, payment and after-sales service behaviour through well-defined standard terms and conditions. This is often an effective starting point to implement a broader distributor management improvement program. This can be done swiftly and offers the prospect of some ‘quick wins’. Distributor discount structures: Develop and use consistent national discount schemes in line with the role and performance of each sales partner. It is important to determine whether the distributor is just a ‘box mover’ – providing logistics only – or if it is a real sales partner contributing to sales, marketing, and service. Too often I see manufacturers struggling with overly complex or inconsistent discount systems that lack steering and differentiation between different types of distributors. International...