Category: Thoughts

cosmetic packaging

Used Cars Market – An Important Segment of the Automotive Industry

An action-packed industry, the automotive sector is always on a look out for ways in which it can innovate and reach out to its customers. And the market for used cars is perhaps one of its most sought-after segments. Even though there are several challenges in the used cars market, a thorough understanding of the industry will go a long way in better procurement processes.

Useful details on used car market

Contrary to popular belief, the demand for used cars is rather huge. The reason for such a growing demand is rather simple. Cars are no longer seen just as a means of transport; rather they are now a status symbol. This explains how frequently the cars are being brought and sold. Five years back, the ownership cycle of a car was around 7 years. Today the ownership cycle has come down to 4 years, and market analysts believe that by 2021 the period might come down to 3 years. Decreasing ownership cycle also means that quality of used cars is rather good, and buying it is a total value for money.

The overall quality of the cars which are being produced, has also improved drastically. Customers find the used cars to be far more reliable, making it easier for them to invest on it. The third and perhaps the most vital factor behind the growing market for used cars is the emergence of an organized group of players who see a lot of potential in this area of the automotive industry. Major names like eBay Motors, TrueCar, and Alibaba Group have made it easier for customers to buy used cars and thereby contributed to the overall growth of this market.

Lastly, today, there is a growing acceptance for used cars that is driving this industry.

Important place for used cars in the automotive industry

Despite being dominated by small dealers, the used cars vertical has emerged as a very strong segment in the global automotive industry. Though the United States is the leading the market of pre-owned cars, the demand for used cars is gradually catching up in Europe and APAC regions as well.

Customer Engagement

Why Actionable Insights are a Prerequisite in the Modern Agrochemicals Market?

Agriculture in contemporary times is a tough job indeed. As part of a multi-billion dollar industry, the chains of demand and supply must be strategically managed to turn in a profit. All the while, being keenly aware of the variables – unpredictable weather, availability of water, human resources and importantly, the quality of the final outcome. A good harvest is the culmination of an intricate and painstaking dance. And, a good harvest boils down to how well the standing crop has been insulated against pests, bugs, weeds and other such ailments.

The changing face of the global agrochemicals market

Until recently, a string of toxic chemicals was an effective counter against such nuisance as pests, insects, weed and fungal maladies. Insecticides, herbicides, pesticides and fungicides are easily available, cost effective and highly effective. However, their wide and indiscriminate usage has put forth some pressing concerns.

  1. Large scale damage to the local flora and fauna, prompting the governments to clamp up with a series of regulatory and limiting protocols.
  2. Long term usage of chemical deterrents has rendered them ineffective against a more resistant progeny of pests and insects. Naturally, agriculturists have gradually abandoned the usage of such agrochemicals.
  3. A popular wave of health consciousness that has consumers looking for healthier food options. In the wake of this, organic farming and the concept of ‘farm to fork’ have gained rapid popularity.
  4. The counterfeit market for the aforementioned agrochemicals is working overtime as there isn’t an authoritative monitoring of these criminal activities. This severely impacts profitability from the farm.

While the problems are clearly defined, an effective strategy to challenge these concerns could be highly individualized and demand an expert understanding of the local market, the competition and the local climatic and ground conditions. Information is the key here, alongside the need for a quick realignment of core business strategies in line with the emerging market conditions.

Agrochemicals manufacturing: Horses for courses? 

In light of the various acute challenges listed above, agrochemicals manufacturers must adapt or watch the competition overtake them. The solutions are mostly of a pacifist nature- bowing down to the massive demand and finding solutions that are in line with the popular expectations.

  1. Introducing bio-agrochemicals that are derived from plants, bacteria, fungi, and certain minerals and aren’t prodigiously toxic to the local flora and fauna.
  2. Educate and implement the tenets of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) wherein the agrochemical manufacturer and the agriculturist work together to enforce a comprehensive pest repellent system.
  3. Invest in R&D to find newer and safer chemical options that might see an immediate demand right out of the gate. Companies could also merge to offer the agriculture market a wider choice and variety of products.

Predicting future moves today, with spot-on market insights

With a competent understanding of current trends in the agrochemicals market and what that might entail in the near future, Infiniti Research can help your business understand the advantages of innovation and quick action. With actionable insights, your agrochemicals business will be primed for the future, and beyond.

Connected Car Technology

Unbreakable: Examination of the Pain Points in the Global Flexible Glass Industry

The worldwide market for flexible glass is still in its nascent stage. Challenges galore, and the inscribed technology demands a heavy impetus of research and development. Mostly, whilst trying to keep up with the fast-evolving platforms wherein flexible glass finds an application.

As a vendor, have you taken a step back recently and skimmed the market before you,

  1. Think glass, the first image that conjures up is that of smartphone displays. Each new year brings forth a number of contenders who are perfecting the quality of the display glass. The competition is intense here with Corning’s signature Gorilla glass 5 ruling the roost currently.
  2. Emergence of new technologies such as that concerning plastic substrates and metal substrates, for example Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET), may emerge as cost-effective and popular replacement for flexible glass. This could morph into a case of the total abandonment of a technology in favor of a more durable and cheaper alternative.
  3. Consumer electronics, the medium that makes copious use of flexible glass, is getting smaller, faster and more integrated. Can the global flexible glass industry keep pace with the blistering speed set by the consumer electronics industry?

The aforementioned concerns need an immediate resolution from the industry’s perspective. How can flexible glass fight back? Are there other avenues, still unearthed, wherein glass of this specialty may find a specialist usage?

Smartphones equal limitless opportunities

The single biggest market for flexible glass is the smartphone industry. The demand for smartphones is on the rise and the same hasn’t slacked even when markets have been hit by recessions and economic uncertainties. Currently, smartphone manufacturers are concerned with the cutting-edge AMOLED technology and talks are rife about foldable smartphones available for retail as soon as 2018. Innovation, combined with an expert understanding of the competitive landscape will ensure that the vendor stays relevant and carves out a solid and reliable slice of the market.

Shifting gears: Low cost solutions reflect maximum potential

Until recently, flexible glass was the holy grail of the glass manufacturing industry, thanks to its sensitivity and mass producing the same was an enormous challenge. Currently, the reliable roll-to-roll process is utilized to manufacture the same, while additive and substrate process is employed to fabricate flexible glass in a continuous fashion. The latter is cited for its cost effectiveness and propensity for a higher output, thereby feeding the colossal demand for flexible glass. Low cost manufacturing aided by increased durability looks like the ideal equation to beat the competition.

One thing that is certain though is that the market is shifting gears constantly and the prudent move in such a fast-paced environment is to- a) Access loads of current and predictive industry information that will help the resourceful vendor predict the shifts and turns of the market and roll accordingly, and b) Realign, quickly, the company’s business objectives in line with the changing ground conditions.

Infiniti Research is an experienced campaigner when it comes to helping companies be competitive in a rapidly morphing market. Actionable insights ensure that your setup is properly acclimatized with the available competition and your business leaders are executing timely, informed and profitable decisions.


Digital Marketing: The Latest Disruptor in the Chemicals Industry

The chemicals sector is one of the strongest performers in the global value chain. Yet, industry experts are quite cautious when it comes to predicting the future of this industry. Several surveys reveal that the names which figured as the ‘big players’ in chemicals industry a decade back no longer exist in the list. Following the traditional ways of reaching out to the client base is one major reason behind this development. Therefore, it becomes more important for chemicals companies to make drastic changes in their sales and marketing strategies, to remain relevant in the competition.

How can going digital improve the chemicals industry?

Going digital is not about just setting up an IT team and getting a couple of infrastructure requirements in place. Rather, digital transformation is a process which involves the adoption of mindsets, skills, and tools, which are driven by technology and touch every aspect of the business. By going digital, be it in terms of marketing or sales, chemicals companies gain:

  1. Better market access
  2. Improved growth prospects
  3. Ability to execute data-driven decisions
  4. Ability to offer better customer service

Though traditional marketing and sales strategy do help in capturing new markets, digital marketing has opened avenues of growth in markets which were inaccessible till date. By overcoming the geographical barriers, digital marketing enables manufacturers to connect with new prospects and turn them into long-term clients.

Along with providing market access, digitization also boosts the chances of organic growth throughout the chemical’s value chain. Right from raw materials to end-consumers, digitization makes cross-functional integration of the R&D, marketing, and the sales team quite easy. And, as most of the decisions can now be data driven rather than based on the rule of the thumb method, what the businesses achieve is a clear-cut vision and direction.

Infiniti examines the effect of digital disruption on the chemicals industry

Well, to begin with, it’s not that the entire chemicals industry will be revamped once companies go digital. Right from huge amounts of investment, and navigating barriers like government regulations, digital transformation will certainly not be a cake walk for manufacturers in this sector. At the same time, as governments are coming up with new policies, digitizing the commercial operations and backing them up with advanced analytics and machine learning tools, conversion to a digital platform is sure to enhance the overall performance of the global chemicals industry.


Emerging Markets – The Next Pharma Challenge

There was a time when the EU5 nations (Spain, UK, Italy, France, and Germany) were regarded as the hot spots by pharma majors. But as the developing countries increased investments in the healthcare sector, pharma manufacturers see immense potential in these markets as well. The interest in the emerging markets was further grown by the fact that governments here have increased the investments in healthcare infrastructure and insurance. The BRIC nations along with Mexico and Turkey are the major markets which most pharma companies are focusing on.

Developing Economies – What makes them the hotbeds for pharma players?

The fact that over the past few years the developed countries have experienced a consistent decrease in the funding for healthcare, forced many manufacturers in the pharma industry to expand their market base. Developing economies already have a huge set of health-related maladies which are either underdiagnosed or undertreated. This situation gives a lot of scope for growth and expansion to the big names in the pharma industry.

Also with growth in purchasing power, the shift of population to the urban areas, and high prevalence of lifestyle-related diseases like diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and cancer, the developing economies provide huge opportunities to global pharma companies. All these factors have worked together to convert the developing economies into the hotbed for pharma players.

From land of opportunities to a pharma challenge

As the hype surrounding the developing nations being the next ‘BIG’ thing in the pharma industry has subsided, industry experts realize that the developing nations have their own set of inherent challenges. Unlike the developed countries, where pricing and meeting the local demands were the major game changers – the emerging markets pose challenges at multiple levels.

Apart from market access and addressing the local diseases, pharma companies must also comply with the regional regulations, focus on pricing and reimbursements, and most importantly battle out the infrastructure issues. The situation becomes even more challenging for Western pharma companies as they lack the local client base and understanding of the drugs which suit the local demographic’s profile. The absence of local data is another significant barrier that the pharma industry is yet to overcome.

Infiniti’s take on turning challenge into opportunity

To make an impact in the emerging markets, it is crucial that local authorities, pharma companies, and other stakeholders in the industry be considered. Research has already shown that different population groups respond differently to the same drug. Therefore, good amount of research is required before launching a drug in these markets.

However, challenging the situation seems, local expertise backed with a global perspective is sure to give an edge to the players in the emerging markets.

semiconductor industry

Health Economics and the Reimbursement Landscape in Healthcare

The uncertainty in the United States healthcare market has made it rather imperative for the medical practitioners and service providers to understand the nitty gritty of the evolving reimbursement landscape. While traditionally the focus of manufacturers remains on getting regulatory approval to push their products in the market, the scenario has changed hugely in the past five years. Today with an increase in patient access, it is not just the physicians but other stakeholders like health care organizations as well as the insurers who decide the future of drugs and medical devices.

Influence of the latest trends in the healthcare landscape

The emergence of bundled payments, tiered narrow networks, along with high demand for price transparency from the patients’ end are some of the major trends which the healthcare sector is witnessing now. These trends are sure to impact reimbursement programs like ASC (Ambulatory Surgical Center) Payments. It is therefore critical for ASCs to optimize their payment strategies to protect their financial footing.

Similarly, patients are no longer just a group of end-consumers in the healthcare industry. Rather the patient community has emerged as a financial class which demands transparency in pricing and are forming pressure groups to prevent surprise billing. Only last September, the California Health, and Safety Code was approved which mandates the providers of out-of-network at in-network facilities to treat patients as if they are part of the network itself.

Another critical element which is changing the face of the reimbursement landscape is the bundled payments system. According to one of the latest studies conducted by ORC International, by the year 2021, 17 percent of reimbursements will take place in the form of outsourced bundled payments system. This means that reimburses like ASC must collaborate with the third-party providers of the payments system to stay relevant in the competition.

Infiniti’s take: Health Economics to the rescue

The basic premise on which health economics works is improving the overall delivery of the healthcare services without any major spike in the health care costs. One of the best ways in which this can be attained is by integrating the healthcare services and the reimbursement process seamlessly. The therapies, be it traditional or innovative ones, should be aptly targeted to improve the clinical outcomes as well as optimize the healthcare costs.

Experts in health economics believe that changes in the commercialization strategy by integration of new therapies is sure to improve the overall reimbursement landscape. This can be possible only if there is a nuanced understanding of the clinical conditions, related treatments, and the most appropriate healthcare delivery model.

Market Intelligence

Top 5 Healthcare Breaches… So Far

Year 2017 is half way through, and internet security breach is perhaps one of the topics which has made the maximum headlines – of course after the usual news on political bickering. Just like the past year, this year too hackers have made the most of the fragile online infrastructure of the healthcare industry. In fact, the healthcare sector has emerged as one of the easiest targets for hacking due to its rather weak and obsolete security systems.

In the past six months, the top five healthcare breaches which shook the medical fraternity throughout the globe are:

1.    ABCD Children’s Pediatrics

The San-Antonio based healthcare center was the target of the recent ransomware attack, which breached data of as many as 55,447 patients. On investigation, it was found that Dharma virus, a variant of the Crisis ransomware, had afflicted the files.

Medical records are often used for dark web dealings, pediatric patient records are high commodities in the dark web. The files which were affected by the recent attack included details like medical records, lab results, social security numbers, as well as procedure technology codes.

2.    Harrisburg Gastroenterology

In March 2017, Harrisburg Gastroenterology noticed suspicious activity on their system which led to the compromise of 93,323 patient records. The incident pointed out the loopholes in the website maintenance, which made the Pennsylvania-based institute to notify its patients regarding the breach in data. Critical diagnostic, clinical, as well as insurance information was compromised in this case.

3.    The National Health Service in England and Scotland

In case of hospitals under The National Health Service (NHS), it was the ransomware variant Wanna Decryptor which breached the private information. Wanna Decryptor is one of the most lethal ransomware variant on the dark web, which is why the damage caused was rather huge. The attack crippled the delivery of healthcare services in at least 16 organizations under the NHS. Patients were warned to avoid certain departments, ambulances were diverted, and worst of all, in many cases the hospital staff were unable to access patient data.

4.    Molina Healthcare

Another major Medicaid and Affordable Care Act insurer, Molina Healthcare, had to shut down its patient portal due to security flaws. With a simple change in the URL, the portal provided easy access to all the medical claims data of patients. The breach made news due to the fact that the basic Security 101 flaw was not taken care of. Thus, even though the exposed data did not contain social security numbers, other details like disease, diagnosis, and other medically critical patient information were compromised.

5.    Airway Oxygen

It was in April, that the ransomware attack hit the home medical equipment supplier Airway Oxygen. In this case, the hacker gained access to the network and hacked it in such a way that the employees were shut out from the system where the personal information of the patients was stored.

All these attacks only highlight the need for the healthcare sector to move towards better security measures and a proactive IT department which keeps a close watch on suspicious cyber activities. The time to act, is now!

Market Assessment

Chemicals Renaissance in US and Transportation Bottlenecks

The dramatic growth in the chemicals industry has caught the fancy of industry experts, investors, as well as the public. Especially the chemicals market in the US has witnessed a whooping investment of $161 billion in the past 7 years making industry experts predict a renaissance for the chemicals manufacturing industry. Abundance in shale gas, along with low cost of feedstocks are two major factors which has triggered the growth of this market in the US.

Chemistries which has pushed the industry on the verge of renaissance

Methanol, polyolefins, and olefins are the three chemistries which has ushered in renaissance in the specialty chemical industry. For instance, olefins are regarded as building blocks for products like propylene and ethylene. Methanol, on the other hand, is a chemical that is heavily used in manufacturing other chemicals as well. The high availability of shale deposits in the US has not only brought down the cost of production of natural gas, but has also led to immense technological innovations in this area.

The US basically has a cost-advantage over the other producers of shale gas. This is the reason why, even though shale deposits are found in other regions as well, it is in the US that this natural resource has been used in the best possible manner.

How transport infrastructure is critical for the growth of chemicals industry?

As far-fetched as it might sound, the growth in the chemicals industry has highlighted the lacunas in the United States transport infrastructure. Industry experts predict the cost of delays due to transportation to come up to $22 billion. The loopholes in the primary modes of transport like rail, sea, and roadways, will also result in high operational costs which is sure to affect the manufacturers in the chemicals industry in a negative manner.

Roadways is the primary mode of transport adopted by the chemicals industry in the US, followed by the railways and then the seaways. The major bottleneck emerges in the form of regulatory requirements which the drivers for the chemicals industry must adhere to undergo. When it comes to the sea ways, the major problem is that the gulf ports are not regarded as ideal locations by players in the chemicals industry. The non-gulf ports on the other hand often face problems due to disputes between warehouse unions and maritime associations.

The need of the hour is to address the transportation issues by bringing all the stakeholders – chemical manufacturers, shippers, as well as policy makers – on the same platform. Only when the transportation related issues are addressed will the renaissance in the chemicals industry come in full bloom.


Single-Use Technology – Taking Biopharmaceuticals to a Whole New Level

Largely used in the biopharma industry, the single use technology (SUT) has emerged as one of the foolproof methods to bring down contamination and improve the overall quality of the pharma products. Industry majors like GEHealthcare, ThermoFisher, and VWR, have already made major investments in this technology. Cleaning validation is critical in the biopharma industry, and this is what single use technology offers – right from biosynthesis to the formulation process, this technology reduces the risk of cross-contamination, is eliminating the need for cleaning validation altogether.

How single use technology will help the biopharma companies?

Regarded as one of the most important trends in the biopharma space, Single Use Technology helps in:

1.     Bringing down negative impact on the environment

When compared to the carbon footprint created by wastewater, energy, and chemicals, the plastics used in the SUT process are relatively safer. In spite of being incinerated, the carbon footprint contributed by this technology is negligible.

2.     High productivity and low cost

Being used just for a one time, the need to clean and reuse the utilities have come down. This not only saves time, but also reduces the cost of the entire operation. Also, the amount of energy consumed is brought down. When it comes to productivity, Single Use Technology helps in increasing it, as the time spent by the labor on changing the disposable systems, and sanitizing the traditional stainless steel system.

3.     Efficient manufacturing and sustainable process

Sustainability is a major goal which many biopharma companies are working to attain. And this is exactly what is attained through the single use technology process. Also, by making significant reductions in labor, not only does single use technology speed up the manufacturing process, but it also makes product changeovers easier to achieve. Not to forget, adherence to high quality and safety makes it easier for biopharma companies to manufacture products which meet the requirement of the regulatory agencies.

It is due to these advantages that industry experts regard the single use technology as a major game changer in the biopharma industry. With growth of the global market for biopharmaceuticals, the demand for SUT is also on a rise – which is good news for both the producers as well as consumers of the biopharma products.

semiconductor industry

Top 3 Strategies Pharma Companies Must Employ to Mitigate Risks in Emerging Economies

The rapid economic growth in the emerging economies did give a lot of hope to the western pharma and health sciences companies for growth and expansion. But in the recent years, as the fizz around the emerging economies being the land of opportunities has waned out, major names in the pharma industry are having a tough time finding a hold in these unsteady markets. Competition from regional players, fall in commodity prices, complying with the regional laws, and importantly, hiring the right talent, and building a productive workforce, have emerged as major bottlenecks for a majority of the pharma companies.

How do you bell the cat?

Industry experts at Infiniti Research believe that the emerging markets will witness a positive turn in the upcoming years. In fact, there are huge prospects for the pharma revenues to almost double in the next ten years. Therefore, even if the mature markets in the Americas and Europe seem to be a better option now, pharma majors should concentrate on building a full-fledged business strategy for the emerging economies.

The three major ways in which pharma companies can make a lasting impact in the emerging markets are:

1.     Going beyond the commercial model

The basic commercial model is largely hinged on sales and marketing strategies. Perhaps this is where most pharma majors are going wrong. One major error, which many pharma companies commit is not going beyond this model. To make an impact in the emerging economies, one must adapt to the local conditions and come up with solutions which meet the local demands and constraints. Building a supply chain which is attuned to the local licensing nuances is sure to provide a competitive edge to the manufacturers. This is especially true in the case of pharma markets in Africa and the Middle- East.

2.     Expansion of Patient Access

Most emerging economies are constantly struggling with undertreated and underdiagnosed diseases. This situation provides a great platform for the pharma companies to launch their drugs as well as expand their patient access. At the same time care needs to be taken that the drugs manufactured are easily available to lower-income patients in these regions. Pharma heads should work towards striking a fine balance between pricing strategy and market access. Usually opting for voluntary licensing deals play a critical role drawing incremental revenues, broadening patient access, and most of all building goodwill.

3.     Not letting go of innovation

For some reason, pharma majors do not think of emerging economies as suitable hubs for innovative programs. However, there is a lot of scope and need for innovation in this geographical area as well. With a huge number of undertreated diseases, countries in Africa and Asia can, in fact, be converted into a test bed for innovative technologies and drug solutions. Right from digital health, to providing local solutions to health problems – the emerging markets provide a huge scope for experimentation to the pharma manufacturers. The winner in the long-run is going to be the company which leverages these advantages to disrupt the existing market.