Read the Conversation

EF: In 2024, what are the main opportunities, priorities, and challenges for B. Braun?

CJ: In Mexico, B. Braun has been in the market for 60 years. Even without a local manufacturing site – our nearshoring arrangement is with the Dominican Republic- we are in a great phase and excited about the opportunities ahead. Our growth rate has been impressive, ranging from 10% to 50% annually, with a solid 40% growth last year. Although we are not the largest player in the sector, we have a vast portfolio of products, managing around 2% to 3% of the market share on average. We look to maintain our focus on growth and anticipate around a 20% increase in sales revenue for 2024. Due to the stable Mexican peso and our European consolidation, Mexico is gaining more visibility and importance within the group. This could impact future investment decisions.  

In the past year, our strategy has shifted towards offering comprehensive packages of products combined with services and innovation. For example, our infusion therapy is a complex process connecting patients to intern care. We provide pumps and consumables and offer various business models, allowing customers to buy, rent, or engage in traditional commodity business.  
We have also invested in clinical education, supporting the Aesculap Academy in Mexico and training up to 20,000 people annually. Our technical service is robust, and we have introduced a software solution called Space Online Suite to enhance pump safety and usage. This system provides a clear database, checks application speed, and even recognizes potential risks like reactions between medicines.

Mexico, especially in the private sector, is increasingly seeking better solutions, and we have witnessed a growing market demand. B. Braun is one of the companies with the broadest offerings in the MedTech field, spanning 15 therapies, from infection prevention to patient care at home. It is a dynamic and exciting environment to work in, where success is driven by offering solutions based on quality products, people in the field, and cutting-edge technology.

EF: How does B. Braun manage clients from both public and private sectors, and how do you create partnerships to serve both sides?

CJ: Firstly, we have adopted a unique company structure, organizing our marketing areas by medical indications rather than specific products. This allows us to tailor product packages and services to specific needs, requiring extensive effort and expertise. For instance, in patient care, we collaborate closely with healthcare professional associations and patient groups, such as the Asociación Mexicana de Diabetes, to customize educational courses and open meetings. Addressing complex issues like wound care has enabled us to reach around 400,000 affected individuals, mainly treated at home.

We also use modern marketing channels like Facebook to communicate. Our sales teams specialize in understanding different customer groups’ purchasing processes. These groups include the government, military, and other sectors, ensuring effective product positioning. Our complex structure involves various specialists in sales, product support, technical education, and more, all focused on delivering tailored solutions. Despite the challenges, we have successfully streamlined operations, ensuring each customer receives dedicated support aligned with their therapy area.

EF: What does B. Braun do to attract talent to the company?
CJ: Working at B. Braun is demanding, but those who stay find value, a good workplace, and a valuable learning experience. We aim to be a highly productive organization while maintaining a positive work environment. To make our workplace appealing, we have invested in top-notch facilities and technology and implemented a one-day-per-week home office, considering individual positions. We also introduced working hour banks, a system from European practices, to manage challenging times effectively. Fostering accountability in our daily operations and ensuring alignment with our values in everything we do is a central priority.
Additionally, communication is key for us. We hold transparent monthly town hall meetings, providing employees with all the insights, especially during challenging times. This ensures everyone is informed and feels supported. During COVID, we introduced a special bonus based on monthly company profits. This bonus, in addition to individual payments, encourages employees to see themselves as entrepreneurs within the company.  

We also prioritize leadership development through programs and surveys. Regular feedback helps teams grow and increases visibility and transparency. We believe in a challenging yet respectful work environment, valuing everyone's contribution. We are in a dynamic industry, and competition in Mexico City adds to the challenge of lowering turnover to our 14-16% target.

EF: How can we create more trust in the healthcare industry and foster better collaboration within the sector?

CJ: In a country like Mexico, having a clear framework for business decisions is essential. The MedTech industry must have a robust compliance program on paper and in practice. Being part of AMID, a transparent and democratic association, is crucial to me. I was proud to be its president, emphasizing the importance of values in our industry. We have diligently worked on our guidelines over the past decade, understanding their importance and benefits. We continue to adapt our code of conduct and ethical standards with European and global benchmarks. This development within our organization is vital for our brand's recognition and reputation in the market.

As part of B. Braun, I aim to influence positive changes in other industry associations, encouraging new standards and promoting intelligent compliance applications.

EF: Hypothetically, if you became the newly elected minister of health, where would you start to create sustainable healthcare in Mexico?

CJ: First, to give some context: AMID, as an association, has proactively engaged with potential candidates for various health-related positions, presenting our industry's proposals openly and transparently. Our agenda is part of the broader industrial proposal that will benefit the sector’s overall advancement.

Our proposal centers around strengthening the purchasing process. We advocate for transparent purchasing operations and longer delivery times to enhance the supply chain. The belief that immediate countrywide delivery is feasible right after winning a contract is unrealistic, as no one can meet such demands immediately. Preparation is key, requiring a more practical approach to business planning. Our primary focus is on including quality criteria in purchasing decisions. We aim to evaluate not only the product's specifications but also the provider's history and the technical aspects of the solution. For instance, choosing an intravenous catheter made from a softer plastic may cost slightly more but significantly reduces skin reactions and infections, enhancing the overall quality of life.

Collaboration with the associations is crucial to ensure fair and balanced proposals. Companies within an association should be able to present competitive offers, consider quality, reduce secondary costs, and anticipate project needs. For example, B. Braun, with a 12% market share in hemodialysis and 3% in other segments, strives for projects like intravenous catheters. Winning such a project requires a streamlined delivery chain and the preparation of promoters to educate hospitals on the proper application, ultimately reducing adverse reactions.

To answer the question: My main focus revolves around three key actions: emphasizing quality, engaging with associations for collaboration, and urging the government to provide sufficient time for reliable partnerships in the delivery process. These are essential components for effective operations. Rather than delving into topics like artificial intelligence, I advocate for addressing foundational supply issues in the government.  

Despite the challenges, B. Braun stands as a knowledgeable industry leader. We aim to set new standards and be a valuable partner in advancing our vision of enhancing global health, including within the Mexican government. Our commitment to sharing expertise is a powerful aspect of our philosophy. We encourage collaboration and expertise-sharing to contribute positively to healthcare, not just in selling products but in collectively improving the well-being of people worldwide.

February 2024