Teleflex Medical

Institutionalizing VOC to Boost Innovation


  • Inadequate front-end work to understand customer needs
  • Feature creep resulting from poorly defined requirements


  • Organizational alignment around evidence-based customer value
  • Elimination of debate about product direction
  • Establishment of common ground between product managers and engineering managers


  • Market-Driven Product Definition (MDPD®)

Teleflex Medical, a global provider of medical devices used in critical care and surgery, worked with PDC on its Total Customer Insights (TCI) project to develop a new ligation family of products. The project, which incorporated PDC’s MDPD principles,  yielded greater innovation in the product portfolio and a template to guide future development. 

In 2012, Jay White, then VP and general manager of Teleflex’s surgical division, engaged PDC to assist with creating and institutionalizing a voice of the customer (VOC) process. In early 2013, the company embarked on a project using the new process, which it calls Total Customer Insights or TCI, to develop a new strategy to grow the ligation portion of the business.

Teleflex’s previous process for gathering customer information was often inconsistent and relied on one-off interviews. White’s aim in working with PDC was to help align everyone on the cross-functional development team around a common understanding of customer challenges.

In February 2013, the team kicked off with a boot camp to gain an overview of the MDPD process, after which they identified the team’s mission and timeline, developed the interview guides, and trained team members. Over the next seven months, the core team, led by Upvan Narang, currently the VP of Global Marketing,

  • conducted more than 110 interviews in four global regions,
  • completed nearly 600 quantitative requirements survey  in 12 countries,
  • selected solutions,
  • and finalized strategy and requirements.

In 2014, the core team grew from nine to fourteen members and Teleflex introduced TCI in three business units.


Alignment is a key benefit that has arisen from the TCI. According to Narang, “The project has helped bring organizational momentum and alignment. There is less conflict around whether a project is valuable—we eliminated all the debating. Now the product manager and engineering manager speak the same lingo. We’ve used TCI to paint the big picture for people.”

The TCI process also helped the team identify needs that could be fulfilled by initiatives that go beyond the ligation product line. “We learned that we need a broad portfolio to meet the needs we identified,” says Narang. The company also identified initiatives such as improving brand awareness and developing customer advocacy that could also support the strategy.

White is enthusiastic about the project’s results. “We work with some of the best surgeons in the world. But we used to wonder: is that really who we need to be talking to? Or do we need to be talking to the average surgeon, and understanding from them? This process helped us optimize the way we gather information from our customer base.”

White continues, “I’m excited that we’ll have a template that will drive innovation and multigenerational product plans. For the first time, we’ll have a document that helps us fully understand what the user needs are.”

In 2017, White reports that TCI has become a requirement at Teleflex and is making an enormous difference to the company's innovation process.