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EF: If you had an opportunity to address a business community investing in Healthcare, what would your message be?
PB: We need to get back to normal levels of health checks and diagnostics. In the last two years, hospitals and people stopped doing health checks as they were not considered a priority during the pandemic. As people feared getting Covid, they stopped going to hospitals. Moreover, hospitals had to eliminate specific procedures to increase capacity for covid patients. Now, there is a situation where the population has not yet been diagnosed, which might lead to a late diagnosis. As diseases are better to treat with an early diagnosis, we need to focus on health checks and diagnostics.
EF: Can you elaborate on Dräger's role and impact in Mexico these past few years?
PB: Our main role was to anticipate and participate in the provision, servicing and education of mechanical ventilators. Our Mexican affiliate delivers products, services, and trains people to use surgical and ICU devices. To keep up with the demand, service, and take care of our machines, we increased our headcount and inventory in the servicing department.
As our products need to be delivered, repaired, and serviced on time, we sped up our machines' repair and maintenance time without compromising their quality. For safety precautions, we used our disposable respirators and suits. Utilizing the protection gear ourselves, we showed that our equipment is safe and is accessible to everyone through our online platforms.
EF: How have you solved the supply chain and distribution challenges?
PB: The company increased the capacity for disposable respirators globally threefold, which increased the number of factories for disposable respirators across the continents, increased our ability, and met the demand for our products. Many companies bought our surgical and ICU products simultaneously, and it has been a challenge as now there is a microchip shortage. If we plan and execute the planning very well, we can work around these issues, which is precisely what we are doing.
We ordered inventory ahead of time to deliver to our customers on time. The other situation we had were with logistics and transportation. The transport needed for inventory was scarce and hard to come by. And on the logistical side, our storage space was limited. That is why we had a daily fight, and we continuously plan ahead of time to overcome it.
EF: What role does the healthcare infrastructure have in the future of Mexico?
PB: There are now more investors than before, which is seen through new hospitals. Our role is to aid them with the best technology and show them the best arrangement of the devices to create a better workflow. In the past two years, the government’s focus was on addressing the pandemic, which decreased the purchasing of medical devices not related to the pandemic. We hope government hospitals will grow and their funding increase in the following years.
In the past two years, all the standard medical procedures had halted. The government had a backlog of health issues not dealt with that they are beginning to address. This backlog will create demand because of public service. Therefore, they need to be strategic and plan for this demand ahead of time.
EF: What message would you give investors to get them to invest in healthcare?
PB: If we want to see the future and keep going as a nation, we need to be healthy. We cannot have a workforce that does not get treatment because hospitals cannot treat them in time. As a country, we need to get to a point where we can trust hospitals and the public healthcare sector with our conditions. If people need to get surgery or get checked with devices like MRIs, they need not be on a long waiting list. Therefore, we need to have a comfortable quantity of hospitals around the country that can meet and maintain the demand. We need to invest in health again and make Mexico a health hub. We need to have more robust and sustainable technology to reduce the waiting time and provide accessible healthcare.
EF: Can you elaborate on Dräger's shift to software technology?
PB: Dräger has a unit of connecting technologies. Our devices can connect to each other and get information from different devices that improve the information delivered to the physician to improve clinical outcomes. We have a clinical application that hospitals can use to gauge information about their device usage. An example would be how much gas a device uses per procedure and its capacity; it also tells them if they are using it correctly and at what level they should be using it. Doctors can also access patient files on their phones through our apps connected to each hospital's network. All the information from the devices syncs to the hospital's network, leaving an electronic record of all the patients' findings, results, and analysis.
The key is solid patient interaction. We are working on new platforms and applications that will improve how we help our clients and hospitals. We have developed a new app that allows hospitals to see how efficient their device arrangement and connectivity are. If they need to look for a device, they can locate it using our technology. In the past, we thought Mexico was behind regarding this type of technology. However, we realized it was not the case because private hospitals have already started to implement this technology.
EF: What skill sets do you look for when hiring?
PB: When Covid-19 started spreading in Mexico, we changed from physical to virtual offices. The people we hired needed to work virtually and physically with the rest of the teams and employees. We want responsible people that work with objectives, know their targets and pursue those targets.
We need people eager to learn consistently and continuously in service jobs because our devices are constantly changing and upgrading. In Covid, many occupations had to be at the frontline. For example, our technicians who service the machines are passionate, brave, and know how to solve problems. When a machine is malfunctioning, they need to assist at the frontline. We look for people that are ethical, honest, and responsible.
EF: How do you keep your team engaged?
PB: We have a comprehensive strategy. First, we use surveys to see our employees' general likes and dislikes. Then, every business quarter, the meetings keep all the employees informed and updated with what is happening. Thirdly, we conduct breakfasts with the directors where employees can approach them. As for the salary and the benefits, we have a competitive edge. We assign people to initiatives to research the market. We meet every month to see how the initiatives are going. These initiatives give employees exposure, which allows us to see how people work, and leaves room for promotions. Our priority is to save lives, so it is a vital engagement position.
EF: What would you like to be remembered for five years from now?
PB: I hope the Mexican team does their best to become a benchmark for the rest of the Dräger subsidiaries. We want to be remembered for taking care of everything we worked on. When the company in Germany asked us to show what we were doing in Mexico to the rest of the global companies, we were delighted. This is because they can see that we have made several changes in our proposal in customer value. We work hard to progress in Mexico, and there are many examples they can take and reproduce in other countries. Our company focuses on how we can protect people's lives and how we can prevent death. If we know that and are innovative year on year, we are delighted with what we are doing.
EF: Which countries would benefit the most from your experience?
PB: What we are doing can be taken by everyone. It is easier to reproduce in Latin America because we are more connected with them. I am proud when someone from the other Dräger subsidiaries asks our team to read a summit from our company and explain how they can get this achievement. This gives them more exposure, and it can open up more opportunities in the future. I like that the Mexico branch is on the map and that others look for how to copy some of the initiatives and achievements we have made. We also look at other global companies to see what we can copy from them that we are not doing in Mexico.