industrial diagnostics

Strategic Consulting Expands to Meet Needs of Industrial Diagnostics Market

Strategic Consulting, Inc., has added Robert J. Ferguson as Managing Director as it continues to expand to meet the growing demand for market intelligence and business strategy in the industrial diagnostics market.

Strategic Consulting, Inc. (SCI), the leading knowledge resource for business strategy and market intelligence in the industrial diagnostics industry, announced in advance of the International Association for Food Protection (IAFP) Annual Meeting that Robert J. Ferguson has joined the company as Managing Director. Founded in 1996 by President, Tom Weschler, Strategic Consulting focuses on microbiology-based, quality and safety testing in the food, beverage, pharmaceutical, and personal care product industries, and in environmental and industrial process water.

“In our 20-year history, we’ve seen tremendous growth and change in the industrial diagnostics industry, particularly in the food safety sector,” Mr. Weschler said. “With Bob Ferguson’s expertise in all aspects of the market, plus extensive experience in business management, strategy development and international business, SCI will be expanding its services and offering our clients an even deeper skill set and knowledge base.”

Market research is vital to the development of the industrial market, and continues to be in demand. In 2017, we anticipate delivery of new editions of our report on Microbiology Testing in the Global Food Industry as well as the Food Contract Lab Report.

With more than 30 years in industrial and environmental diagnostics and laboratory businesses, Mr. Ferguson has expertise in accelerating growth, international business development, business turnarounds, M&A, and new product development in businesses ranging from start-ups to Fortune 500 corporations. Prior to joining SCI, Mr. Ferguson was Worldwide Vice President and General Manager for Becton Dickinson’s (BD) Industrial Microbiology and Clinical Media Business Unit; a $350M global business serving the clinical and industrial diagnostic markets in food safety, pharmaceutical, personal care and medical devices, with customers in more than 100 countries around the world.

Ferguson, Managing Director, Strategic Consulting, SCI

Robert J. Ferguson, Managing Director

“Having worked with Tom and Strategic Consulting for many years, I am well aware of SCI’s reputation as the leading market knowledge and strategy resource for industrial diagnostics, “Ferguson said. “I’m pleased to be joining SCI, and I look forward to contributing to and building on its outstanding work.”

In its 20-year history, SCI has built a reputation as the “go to” source in the industrial diagnostics space, in part through its 19 well-researched market reports, which are widely accepted by leading diagnostic manufacturers and investors as highly credible analyses of the industry. “SCI market reports having been developed through literally thousands of interviews with production companies worldwide in the food, pharmaceuticals and personal care industries,” Mr. Weschler said.

“Market research is vital to the development of the industrial market, and continues to be in demand,” Ferguson said. “In 2017, we anticipate delivery of new editions of our report on Microbiology Testing in the Global Food Industry as well as the Food Contract Lab Report.”

IMMR—4 is currently available online at www.strategic-consult.com, and a new edition of “Global Review of Microbiology Testing in the Industrial Market”(IMMR-5) will follow Food Micro—9 and FCLR—2, Mr. Ferguson said. SCI also will be expanding its capabilities to provide market research projects specific to individual client requirements.

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Strategic Consulting, Inc. (SCI) provides market reports and business consulting on microbiology-based quality and safety testing for food, beverages, pharmaceuticals, personal care products, environmental water and industrial-process water. With more than 100 combined years of international management in the food safety testing and industrial diagnostics marketplaces, SCI’s principals have proven success in working with venture capital backed start-ups, publicly traded companies, technology acquisitions, and transformation of underachieving companies. For more information on Strategic Consulting and its current market reports, visit www.strategic-consult.com or call +1 443 244 5245.

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Where Has the Growth in Food Safety Testing Gone?

Recent earnings reports from large industrial diagnostic companies in the food safety sector indicate a slowing of growth in this typically robust market. What’s going on? Has growth in the food safety testing market peaked, paused with the economic downturn, or just moved elsewhere?

Strategic Consulting (SCI) has just released our 19th market research report on the industrial microbiology market. Industrial Microbiology Market Review: Global Review of Microbiology Testing in the Industrial Market (IMMR-4) examines the industrial diagnostics market, which includes the food, beverage, pharmaceutical, personal care products, environmental water and industrial process sectors. You can read more about IMMR-4 here.

In addition to a detailed analysis by test volume, market value, organisms tested and methods used, IMMR-4 also provides a thorough discussion of market trends, drivers, and regulatory and topical issues specific to each sector. IMMR-4 also includes a business review of competition, consolidation and key success factors, and profiles 20 leading test manufacturers serving the industrial diagnostics market.

Extensive Primary Research in the Industrial Market

industrial market, primary research, strategic consultingIMMR-4 is based on extensive primary research into all aspects of the industrial microbiology market, including detailed interviews with producers, regulators and diagnostics competitors. SCI conducted more than 650 interviews in 23 countries around the world, with close to one-third of those interviews conducted in Asia (China, India, Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore and Vietnam) due to the region’s economic importance, in both production and consumption, in the industrial market sectors.

Interview data and other information were analyzed using a combined bottom-up and top-down approach. For example, overall market estimates were derived from the test volume numbers given by production companies, and then triangulated with other information gathered through SCI interviews and pubic information research.

In hundreds of interviews over the last two years, when QA/QC managers in production plants were asked about test volume growth, the general response was “yes, growth”. The drivers for test volume growth, such as new regulations and ongoing customer demand, are not consistent across all geographies however. North American and Asian/ROW plants report growth in test volumes, while test volume in European facilities remain flat. Although somewhat diminished, growth in micro test volumes continues even in the face of world economic issues.

In fact, the total market for industrial microbiology tests is projected to increase 25.7% over the next five years, from 2.0 billion tests in 2014 to 2.5 billion tests in 2019. This represents a 4.7% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) in test volumes, which is slower than over the past 20 years. In other words, testing is increasing but not as robustly. With many production companies implementing process improvements over the last decade, growth in test volume may be tied to increased consumption alone going forward.

What’s Up with Recent Financial Reports from Diagnostics Companies?

Given the test volumes and projected growth reported by food production companies, I was a bit surprised by the financial reports of some key companies in the food safety testing market. Roka Bioscience had no new sales of its Atlas System last quarter. Neogen reported that their food safety business grew only marginally (3%) for the current quarter. And although we can’t isolate the food safety business of industry giant bioMérieux, overall their industrial business was flat for the first nine months of the year.

With leading businesses showing little or no growth in the sizeable food safety testing market, are we seeing a market that has become overcrowded, with little or no growth remaining? Based on financial reports, it’s hard to know specifically where growth remains and where things are flat or declining, as these large companies do not report on a geographic or product basis.

Is it time to recalibrate expectations for the traditionally robust food safety testing market? Has the food safety diagnostics business reached its peak in spite of major drivers such as continued media coverage of foodborne outbreaks, ongoing implementation of FSMA, industry-wide efforts such as the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI), and the increased consumption of food that is sourced from all over the world?

Perhaps it’s time to recalibrate expectations for the traditionally robust food safety testing market.

I’m going to venture an uncharacteristic answer and say “perhaps”. Perhaps the increased focus on industry testing over the last ten years means that for the most part, major food producers have their testing programs (and thus volumes) in place. Perhaps the five-year economic malaise that has impacted so many countries and businesses is now affecting the until now unmatched growth engine of food safety diagnostics? Or perhaps it is all of the above.

Food Contract Labs Taking Market Share

One other possibility comes out of SCI’s recent review of a particular segment of the market, contract test labs. Over the past few years, there has been a shift in where analysis is performed with some sectors sending a greater percentage of samples outside to corporate facilities or contract testing labs. The Food Sector, driven by lab accreditation requirements among other factors, is utilizing contract labs more heavily in certain geographies.

Is competition for diagnostic manufacturers coming from businesses that had previously been among their best customers? Eurofins reported 15% growth in revenues for the first nine months of 2014. As food contract labs grow their market share in food safety testing, they are able to increase their influence over the test methods and products in use, and their purchase patterns can be different from food plant labs.

Stay tuned. As 2015 approaches, we’ll continue to watch, report and comment, here and on Linked In and Twitter.

And in the meantime, let us know what you think. Are the days of double-digit growth in food safety testing a thing of the past?

 

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Insight into the $6.5 Billion Global Industrial Microbiology Market

New research from Strategic Consulting, Inc. details microbiology testing conducted by companies around the world to ensure the quality and safety of products in the food, beverage, pharmaceutical and personal care markets, and in environmental water and industrial processes.

Strategic Consulting, Inc., the leading information resource for industrial diagnostics companies, has published a comprehensive new market report on microbiology testing in the global industrial market. Industrial Microbiology Market Review, Fourth Edition: Global Review of Microbiology Testing in the Industrial Market” (IMMR—4) tracks and compares past, current and future (projected) microbiology test volumes, market values and test methods for six sectors of the industrial market (Food, Beverage, Pharmaceutical, Personal Care Products, Environmental Water and Industrial Processes) in North America, Europe, Asia and the rest of the world (ROW).

industrial microbiology, market research, safety, quality

The industrial microbiology market is large and growing, the second largest diagnostics market after clinical diagnostics in test volume and market value. More than 90,000 industrial plants worldwide conduct close to 2 billion tests each year, which represents a market value of $6.5 billion. Because the demand for consumer products is growing as the world’s population grows, increases in product quality and safety testing appear to continue undaunted by current worldwide economic problems.

The global industrial market is complex, however, with varying testing requirements and regulations resulting in variations in growth across market sectors and geographies. According to Tom Weschler, president of Strategic Consulting, the rate of growth in the broader market is slowing when compared to previous years. “Numerous drivers for industrial testing, such as public and regulatory concern about product safety, continue to offer pockets of opportunity, but not in all areas. One example is rapid microbiology methods, which have seen significant adoption in certain sectors and geographies, and little or no uptake in others,” Weschler said.

Numerous drivers for industrial testing, such as public and regulatory concern about product safety, continue to offer pockets of opportunity, but not in all areas.

Industrial Microbiology Market Review (IMMR-4) provides detailed analysis and insights into the complexities of this market, including:

  • Past, current and projected test volumes and market values, with breakdowns by market sector, geographic regions, test methods and organisms tested.
  • In-depth views of the six market sectors, including market trends and drivers within each sector.
  • Test methods and technologies, from “traditional” to newer, rapid methods such as immunoassay and molecular methods.
  • Organisms of interest in “routine” microbiology testing including TVO, Coliform/E. coli and Yeast/Mold, as well as testing for specific pathogens.
  • Detailed business reviews, including profiles of 20 leading diagnostic companies such as bioMérieux, Neogen and Merck Millipore.

For many diagnostic companies, industrial microbiology is one piece of a larger diagnostics portfolio. As a result, market metrics can be difficult to ascertain. IMMR-4 fills this gap, and provides more than 200 pages of detailed discussion and 150 charts and diagrams. Importantly, these data and insights are based on extensive primary research into all aspects of the industrial microbiology market, including:

  • Detailed interviews with 650 production plants conducted in 23 countries in North America, Europe and Asia/ROW
  • 200 interviews in six countries of Asia (China, India, Vietnam, Indonesia, Singapore and Thailand)
  • Discussions with key opinion leaders, regulators and senior management at contract testing labs and diagnostic companies.

IMMR-4 offers five additional appendices with further detail on Organisms and Methods, the Food, Pharmaceutical and Personal Care Product sectors, and a completely new Review of Microbial Identification practices and technologies in the industrial market.

For more information about Industrial Microbiology Market Review, Fourth Edition: Global Review of Microbiology Testing in the Industrial Market(IMMR—4) download a prospectus or contact Strategic Consulting.

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Pathogen Diagnostic Platforms and the Jam Study

The explosion in the number of food safety pathogen diagnostic systems is confusing the customer and hindering change.

What a great IAFP (International Association for Food Protection) Annual Meeting last week in Indianapolis! It was bigger and better than ever.

A couple of things made a huge impression on me:

There were more than 25 pathogen diagnostic platforms on the exhibit floor.

While not an official accounting, someone who was counting as they walked the floor told me they quit at 30. This represents a dramatic increase from even five to ten years ago. Maybe all of these companies are reading SCI’s market reports extolling the size and growth of the pathogen testing market.

pathogen diagnostic, food safety testing

Too many choices and too much risk are hindering change.

On the IAFP exhibit floor, I had a conversation with a long time contact who is director of quality at a national food company. We talked about the proliferation of pathogen diagnostic choices and how it is inhibiting rather than fostering change. He sees no significant benefit in switching from his current platform, which not only works well but is well established in his plants. Changing to save $.50 or trim a few hours of production time is not worth it to him.

He was frank in admitting that he is afraid of the risks involved in change, and overwhelmed by the choices. In essence, he said: Who knows, in six months something newer and better might come along and I will have wasted time, effort and money in switching. Plus my boss will be upset with the money spent on the instrument.

Has the pathogen testing market become like the 24-flavor jam table?

There is a classic study on choice known as the jam study. In 2000, Sheena Iyengar and Mark Lepper published “When Choice is Demotivating: Can One Desire Too Much of a Good Thing?” which examined the consequences of having limited versus extensive choices. The research involved a field experiment in an upscale grocery store in which customers encountered either a table with a limited choice of six Wilkin & Sons jams or a table with an extensive choice of 24 jams from the same company. Everyone who approached the display table was invited to taste as many jams as they liked, and was given a $1 off coupon to purchase a Wilkin & Sons jam.

The key finding was that the 24-flavor table attracted more attention yet it resulted in fewer buyers: Just 3% of people who stopped at the 24-flavor table went on to buy jam, while 30% of shoppers who visited the 6-flavor table left the store with jam in hand. And while it seems logical that people who had more options would sample more flavors, that was not the case. People able to sample from 24 jams tasted an average of 1.50, while those who could chose from six sampled an average of 1.38 jams.

Has the pathogen testing market become like the 24-flavor jam table? Are there just too many choices without significant differentiation, and is that causing hesitation to change?

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Tweeting About Food Safety

I’ve been using Twitter for close to two years now. For me, tweeting about food safety has been a natural addition to a process that I have followed for my 30+ years in food safety and industrial diagnostics—tracking on the latest food safety news, issues, regulations, technologies, etc.

Staying current in the field of food safety diagnostics is a passion of mine. It also makes good business sense given that many of my clients are industrial diagnostics companies.

So it was great to be acknowledged in a recent blog post on the Sample6 website, 15 Best Food Safety Twitter Accounts. And to be counted in among some of the best blogs addressing the myriad of issues related to food safety.

My specific area of focus relates to food safety trends and drivers—changes in regulations, food chain practices, public perceptions, etc. that will impact food safety testing in the global food industry. read more…

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Comparing Food Safety Testing Practices in the US and Europe: How Fast Is Fast Enough?

US food producers are moving more quickly to new, rapid technologies for their food safety testing programs, while their European counterparts remain more faithful to traditional microbiology test methods, according to Food Micro—7, a new market research report from Strategic Consulting, Inc.

Woodstock, VT October 2, 2012 — A new study comparing food safety testing in the United States and Europe points to key differences between these two large food producing regions, and projects continued but differing growth in the size and value of their respective food microbiology testing markets.

Food Micro, Seventh Edition: Comparison of the Food Microbiology Testing Markets in the US and EU (Food Micro—7) from Strategic Consulting, Inc. (SCI), compares total test volume, market value and growth in food microbiology testing, including the organisms tested and the technologies used for food safety testing in each region. read more…

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Full of Thanks

It’s been some time since I’ve been able to post to this blog, in part because we’ve been so busy here at Strategic Consulting. The activity in the industrial diagnostics market, and the new technologies entering the food safety space in particular, are at a level that I’ve rarely seen in my 30+ years in the business.

It’s exciting, and I feel lucky, to be working in a field that continues to innovate and improve the quality and safety of our food, water and other products important to our health and well-being.

read more…

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