Read the Conversation

EF: What opportunities and challenges are you currently facing in Spain this year, and what are the priorities on your current agenda? 

LJ:  Our corporate strategy relies on three pillars: grow, simplify, and empower. Being this a global strategy, we are also customizing it to Spain. As BD has grown, we have encountered numerous opportunities and challenges. Some of them are from the two significant acquisitions that BD has made in the past ten years. BD is increasing its portfolio by making these acquisitions, but not by buying identical products; rather, we are purchasing products that will bring us great opportunities and allow us to expand the scope of our offerings and provide our clients with better solutions. However, this is a challenge because various Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and financial systems will be used, and it also involves trying to convey the various firms' cultural values.  

One of our strengths is that we have great solutions that involve several BD businesses, which presents another significant growth opportunity -for its potential- and challenge -since it also means changing our ways of working-. From the patient's initial consultation with the doctor to diagnosis and treatment, we have solutions that respond to the needs of the different stages of the patient's journey. It is because we carry a wide range of items that we can assist patients in a big part of all the procedures they may undergo at the hospital. This is one of our strengths; I do not believe that any other company in the market currently offers a wider selection of products and solutions than we do.  

EF: The demands of Spain differ significantly from those of Colombia or Venezuela -other countries that you led in BD in the past-, for instance. How is the portfolio adapted globally to meet Spain's needs? 

LJ: While our products are practically the same around the globe, the main distinction lies in how we present them as solutions for our market. Most of the investments we are making right now in Spain are focused on showcasing the connectivity of all the products and equipment we have in the hospital, with a clear commitment to the sustainability that we can contribute to our healthcare system, offering comprehensive solutions, to add value by offering a personalized solution to each consumer rather than just selling products one at a time. In this journey, in which innovation leads the path - with a tendency toward connectivity- we also have a lot of work -some already done and a lot yet to be done- in artificial intelligence. AI is currently important, but above all, it represents an important milestone for the future. The primary innovation lies in the business model as much as the products and connectivity. Thus, we are now more concerned about doing it well. Primarily, we are creating and adapting internal procedures and gathering evidence…and in a second step, we will focus on customer solutions and product development. 

EF: How would you define Spain's strategic significance? 

LJ: In three concepts: talent, manufacturing, and customer partnership.  

First and foremost, our ability to find quality and availability of qualified talent, both from higher and professional education centers, for disciplines that are crucial to our work, such as robotics, mechatronics, and other growing fields closer to our manufacturing facilities.  

Secondly, we work closely with many administrations at different levels. Besides, our strategic presence within the Spanish territory (with three manufacturing plants and a fourth under construction and people distributed in different locations in the country) allows us to position ourselves with regional governments as an important employer for the area and generator of work, opportunities, and wealth. 

We can achieve some synergies of our significant presence in Spain. For example, we can leverage our current resources and expertise to support the different manufacturing plants that are obtaining great results. We are being recognized both internally and externally. As an example, our plant in Fraga received last year the award as Best Large Plant in our whole Organization due to its great results, obtaining the highest quality with the highest efficiency, also showing ongoing improvement. These are the qualities that attract investment. Our most recent acquisition is a smaller, different plant in Salamanca that focuses on software. 

EF: You are attempting to collaborate with several ecosystem players. In what ways are you making use of these shared areas, and what does membership to an organization such as Fenin mean? 

LJ: Indeed, we all share some needs, even if we belong to different sectors, and each of us has unique needs. For instance, we would all like to have the option to index the tender contracts in line with inflation increase, but this is not feasible in the healthcare sector at this time due to the current procurement law.  

Instead of acting as a single company, which would not have the same authority or support, Fenin is acting as an association on behalf of every member company in Medical technology, by outlining its needs with the decision-makers. Fenin is also highly skilled at this.  

What is developed in one sector might benefit others, and we are creating projects and studies as an association which have benefits as well for the healthcare system and the patients. 

After COVID-19, people have begun to recognize the importance of medical technology and devices. Our goal is to collaborate with the healthcare ecosystem, support them greatly with efficiency, and help them solve and prevent current and future problems. In addition to selling products, our goals are to actually contribute to the development of a sustainable healthcare system and to give patients the best possible health results. 

EF: How are you using technology to truly establish yourself as this unique company that can offer a customized patient journey? 

LJ: We are concerned about what, we believe, are the main pillars of any healthcare system: the patients and professionals who pass through them and the processes and workflows carried out in the Hospitals, as well as the problems and challenges they all face. To list just some of them, one of the most important ones is the shortage of doctors, nurses, and other healthcare workers. Another would be the fact that they must be efficient, sustainable, able to secure funding, and have clinical outcomes to provide improved patient care. Due to the large amount of money that was spent on COVID-19 and the universal access to the health system in Spain, we will be facing a challenge where medical technology can help. 

Thus, we have categorized our BD solutions into three pillars based on those needs and our portfolio. Patient safety is the first pillar. A critical aspect that impacts patient safety is medication errors, for which we have solutions aimed at preventing them. For example, we have a robot that helps the pharmacy manage its inventory. We also have all the equipment needed to safely prepare medications, administer and monitor them, and even aid with traceability. We assert that everything in between is secure for both the patient and the healthcare provider. By addressing patient safety, we also act in infection prevention, which ensures that patients do not become infected while they are in the hospital. According to the most recent data available from Europe, 8% of hospitalized patients have an infection, while 20% of patients in intensive care units have one. This is exceedingly expensive—not just for the patient but also for the system, as a result of repeated procedures, high antibiotic use, and other factors.  

The safety of healthcare professionals is the second pillar. This type of safety feature is present in the majority of our devices to guard against gas leaks and injuries… and we provide solutions that help minimize risk and exposure to situations that generate any kind of hazard. 

The final one is efficiency; we understand hospital procedures quite well and we can support them with automation. By using our consultative knowledge and our technologies to automate certain processes or perform them more effectively, we can cut down on procedural waste.  

EF: In terms of creating sustainable healthcare systems, the demand for healthcare is rising, and the available resources can never keep up, particularly in Spain, a nation with a long life expectancy. How would you evaluate this from your own standpoint? In what ways does BD build sustainable healthcare systems? 

LJ: Analyzing the requirements and processes of our customers -which includes budget, talent shortage, needs…- and working along with them to provide the best solution for the patient. Let me put an example of the type of analysis we do, for instance, with something like catheters and venous access. In some cases, HCPs or Hospitals may use the same type of catheter for all patients in all situations, but we tailor this because it's likely that in certain situations, they'll require a product more sophisticated and, in others, something simpler. Sometimes, the protocol of a hospital is changing the catheters daily, but with some more advanced products, you can keep it for several days with the right maintenance. This not only represents saving time for the person doing the procedure but also has an impact on the patient, who suffers physical harm due to multiple procedures. On the other hand, it is also cost-efficient to use a catheter that is slightly more costly but that can be used for a longer period. 

EF: How can BD attract and retain the best talent Spain has to offer? 

LJ: To support our vision of advancing the world of health, we must also generate a work environment to which talent - current and future - feel proud to belong. The work we do has a lot to do with being proud of what we do: we all know that our daily work has, as a final result, a positive impact on a patient's life. That is why it is so important that those who work at BD can show their best version of themselves at work, feel included, and have the freedom to express their thoughts and speak up. For us, diversity and inclusion are crucial. We strive for a diverse talent pool because diversity is vital.  

Our people are our strength, and that is why we are attempting to implement three key elements in talent management. The first is servant leadership. One of our core beliefs is to support and assist our people, and we truly strive to do so. We make an effort to get rid of their obstacles so they can grow. It is a growth mindset, secondly. We seek out challenges since that is how we will develop. This is what we're attempting to inculcate in the workplace culture. Individuals who enjoy growth and challenges have the chance to advance in their own development. The final one is intentionally fostering an environment where everyone is open and speaks up. We have a number of mechanisms in place to listen to individuals in all departments and at all levels of the organization. This provides a wealth of ideas and is the best method to solve problems. People get a really strong purpose and commitment from this.  

EF: When you think back on your tenure at the Company, what milestones or accomplishments make you feel most proud of BD? 

LJ: My internal and external customers are something that I have always found to be incredibly crucial to understand. I relocated to France when I first started working in marketing at BD. I spent two years there, which was great learning because I was employed in a European role and was, therefore, familiar with most of the European markets. It was fascinating to learn about the realities of different markets and provide the country’s commercial teams with resources that would benefit each one of them.  

Moving to Latin America was significant for me since it meant leaving behind my home country and culture and starting a new career and business that was different from my previous one. I was in charge of a business covering the entire LA region. I take great pride in having placed Latin America on the global scene. In just two years, we more than doubled the company's growth, which was quite remarkable. I gained a lot of knowledge not only in my professional life but also in my personal one.   

Then I came back to Spain, and now I am committed to all the solutions we are providing to the healthcare system, the healthcare worker and the patient.  

Diversity is a key element not only for BD as an Organization but for me as an individual: the different perspectives, learnings, cultures, and businesses that I have touched in these three decades at BD have truly taught me a lot and opened my eyes to different realities, which has made me grown as a leader with great accomplishments I’m proud of. 

EF: Given your significant career in the healthcare profession, what guidance would you provide other women in the field who aspire to hold leadership positions and have comparable experiences? 

LJ:  I found that taking a really proactive approach to projects outside of my area of responsibility was effective. For instance, there might be projects and tasks that are not inside of your comfort zone; therefore, even though the work involved may be slightly increased and you must still complete your own work, you will gain expertise and knowledge. As a result of doing this work, you will become more visible, get to know a lot of individuals in the organization, and, mostly, grow both personally and professionally.  

I don't know if it's something that is effective for everyone, but at least for me, it has been: being a curious and active learner has also been very important in my professional career. In addition to my role within BD and being involved in Fenin as its VP, I also belong to other associations that include CEOs from other industries and executive women. That's fascinating because it's teaching me a lot. 

And advice? Look for a mentor or sponsor as well; I was fortunate to have excellent ones throughout my career, and because they believed in me and recognized potential in me, I am here. 

EF: Do you have any final messages to our readers? 

LJ: We have talked about all the wonderful things in our product strategy, but let me say it: without the people, none of it would have been feasible. I am quite proud of my team because they are highly knowledgeable and committed. We are actively engaged in sustainability and social responsibility: we have very strict standards to meet by 2030 in order to comply with all of these objectives, but we will achieve them because we have these topics in our DNA. My aspiration is to continue serving our patients, the healthcare system, and society for another long life story of BD.

June 2024