Read the Conversation
EF: In the post-Covid times, executives must deal with a complex world. How do you visualize 2023? Do you see it as a challenge or an opportunity?
PB: There are always challenges, but despite this, we expect growth. We have grown in Mexico over the last five years in double digits and think the trend will remain the same. We will have opportunities to reach out to the market.
EF: Last time you met with Executive Forecast, you spoke about your five-year strategic plan for Mexico to duplicate volume from 2018 to 2023. How do you assess the progress of this goal, and what are your plans for the next five-year period?
PB: Regarding the previous five-year plan, we accomplished our goal, doubling the volume since 2018. Now we have a new strategic plan –from last year till 2030 - which includes much more growth. We want to be one of Mexico's big players, we already are in some units, but we want to replicate this success in all the customer segments. We now provide integral services and work on growing that side of the business, finding new market areas to offer our services and knowledge –a complete solution around the devices. We have expertise in this area as we cover the whole chain of integral services we provide to hospitals: device production, servicing, consumables, and continuous education.
EF: Dräger is a world giant with a presence in about 40 countries, but what is the importance of Mexico to the global company?
PB: We have become much more important to the group than in the past. Our excellent results, company growth, and the Mexican market have demonstrated that we are worth the investment. We want to prove that Mexico has a market that the company can focus on at a global level. Over the years, we have got more and more support from the global company to achieve even bigger goals. What has been done in Mexico is replicated in other countries where Dräger has a presence, and We are exporting talents to other subsidiaries and headquarters. With all of that, We put Mexico on the map.
EF: Dräger has shifted to software and connecting technologies, but the slow adoption of the latest technologies in Mexico, particularly in the public sector, is a concern. What is your assessment, and how can it be enhanced?
PB: Yes, the adoption could be faster. Last year, we achieved our first two connected technologies projects with hospitals; we expect to grow but not as in other units. To introduce our connected technologies into hospitals, we need a certain IT infrastructure that many hospitals don't have. These shortcomings will improve in time, but not as fast as we would like.
EF: Supplying hospitals with the best technologies entails training and educating physicians on the effective use of the devices. Could you elaborate on Dräger's initiatives in this area and their impact?
PB: We do a lot of virtual training and education, which started during the pandemic, and we have kept it up. We offer online training sessions on using and managing our devices and technology. We organize congresses and include, for instance, training in critical areas which include perioperative rooms and intensive care areas (Neonatal, pediatric, and adult). Last year we organized a "Dräger Day" in Chiapas, showing the attendees the wide-ranging uses of our devices. We do this every year by going to different Mexican cities, always on a face-to-face basis. Usually, the devices are used at 50 or 60% of their potential, so we try to encourage doctors and technicians to use the machines at full capacity to help them in their professional activities. We are measuring on a bi-yearly basis the customer satisfaction index with more than 150 interviewed by a consulting firm, and for more than four years, our Academy Department has obtained the N° 1 position, which makes us really proud.
EF: In our previous meeting, you said Mexicans needed to trust the public health sector and hospitals. How do you assess progress in this area, and what steps must be taken to improve conditions and instil confidence in the 80% of the population that relies on the public healthcare system?
PB: We need more hospitals; public hospitals in Mexico are crowded with many patients needing services the public sector cannot deliver. The government has paid attention and is constructing hospitals where they are required. New hospitals are coming, both in the public and private sectors. But We need more partnerships between the private and the public sector to be able to cover in a more efficient way the population requirements.
EF: How do you feel about collaborative work among stakeholders? Is a collaboration between the government, MedTech industry, foundations, hospitals, etc., needed to advance the industry?
PB: We are affiliated with AMID, and there we see much collaboration between the industries. The industry collaborates with the government, although in some cases, there are delays in the approval of entering new products into the country. But we are working on it, and they are trying to speed up the processes, which can be considered collaboration, but more could be done in this area. It could be improved, but common spaces exist, and we are happy to have at least this much.
EF: Dräger has achieved impressive growth in Mexico. Which areas are driving the most growth?
PB: Service for all portfolios is our main focus. Our traditional service includes a contract with the customer whereby we maintain and repair the devices; we always encourage the maintenance and repair contract. The contract is important for the government because the machines are expensive. It is not a good idea to have the devices repaired by people who need to learn them well because they could end up with only eight of the ten machines working and losing on their investment. We can ensure a much longer life for the devices they buy. Three years ago, we started an integral services initiative, mainly with small private customers, to perfect our expertise and not take on too much in one go, a practice run, optimizing processes with an innovative approach to be more competitive.
We have started working with the government (public sector), providing integrated services for the operating room and the ICU, which is new for Mexico. We are the only ones who offer integral services for infants and adults. We bill the hospital for the days the patient stays in the ICU. The hospital benefits because they don't have to invest in devices, consumables, and the service and only pay according to the patients that need it. We have now started renting devices to hospitals when their demand peaks, for instance, more ventilators in winter or certain devices for their neonatal intensive care unit when it is full. We also offer consulting services for remodelling an area in a hospital; we have a team of architects who know all the Mexican hospital norms and regulations. Suppose a client is building a hospital or remodelling an area; our consultants can advise on a better hospital flow, where to put the operating room, or how to set up the ICUs, making it easier for the nurses to work.
We are looking to grow in areas where we can help hospitals. When working in small or public sector hospitals that need investment but lack the budget, we assist them by connecting them with institutions that organize donations. We work with non-profit organizations, and we can help in this area. Working with small private hospitals all over Mexico has worked well for us. We offer good financing options for the latest technologies.
EF: How do you attract top talent to your company and retain it in a competitive market?
PB: We offer a competitive package to people who start working in the company, although that is standard in our industry. Once in the company, we provide training programs and are transparent, informing what is happening. In Dräger, our staff can have a career in the organization; there are opportunities for growth in any of our two Mexican companies. Growth is a key driver that makes Dräger attractive, our people can fill different positions in services, marketing, or academy if they like training, or they can work abroad. We offer many opportunities for personal and professional growth; some employees moved last year to Canada, to Germany, and We have some collaborators that have taken roles in the Latin American region, So, We are exporting talent!
EF: Our feature is called Road map to the Future; if you had to create a road map for the Mexican healthcare industry for the next five years, what would be your three pillars?
PB: My three pillars would be the following:
- People: already a pillar for us today. Our personnel grows 15-20% yearly; we know we will need people in various areas, so we plan for what kind and how many people each year, making our HR very busy looking for new people and organizing training.
- Initiatives and projects: we have around twenty segmented initiatives dedicated to a portion of the market. Two people from different company areas lead the project and interact with the other departments to push the initiative and get results. The management team, myself included, meets monthly to hear what they have been doing, which is important for me as I receive information and knowledge about the people that work in the company.
- A customer-centric approach: we conduct surveys to determine if the customer is satisfied with our products and services. The surveys show our growth year by year and give us an idea of how Dräger and its competitors are perceived, giving us a chance to change things, not lose our clients. Recently we have started running a survey every six months, and after four years, we can affirm that the customers that buy products from other competitors and Dräger put us first in service and training. Our services have improved a lot over the last four years, and today we have the customers' trust; they know that if there are problems with the product, we will solve the issue in less than a week. Customers want to rely on the company's offerings, and we listen to our customers and give them what they need.