Read the Conversation

EF: Could you elaborate on the context and landscape of medical technologies in Brazil? 

RM: Post-pandemic, we assumed that the Brazilian government would turn its attention to local production to improve weaknesses in the supply chain for the public health system, which proved to be overly dependent on external suppliers, both for products as well as components and raw materials. Almost all countries faced this reality, and since Brazil is a nation with such an extensive industry, the reaction was to adopt a path to solve the challenge, with more local production and guaranteeing a productive chain and sustainable and high-quality raw materials in the long term. 

Governments generally seek to stimulate local production for their domestic markets and to qualify their industries as international commercial players. Globally, the interest in growing economically and developing technology is present in all fields. This is important for the reasons mentioned above and the need to reduce social differences by creating jobs in more valued areas that generate a greater impact on social well-being. 

In Brazil, we face significant logistical challenges due to the vast expanse of land and extensive borders, resulting in increased costs associated with cargo handling. To this adds the complexity of the tax system that requires the employment of a considerable team of collaborators who can follow all the determinations that govern the subject. Ultimately, this leads to putting effort into non-productive areas that raise production costs. Therefore, the tax system for the health area needs to be simplified, and an investment policy for the health sector is defined to have sustainable management of health costs. 

Finally, Brazil's cost of capital is high, and the structure that generates this cannot be easily alternated. However, the fact is that we need changes to be able to face the competition, which increases every year. Companies, together with universities and research institutions that envision the future develop new concepts, ideas, and products. FANEM, as a family business entering its fifth generation, has always faced these challenges with competence and is prepared for the future. 

EF: How do you balance your domestic and foreign markets? 

RM: We make the same products for local consumption and export. We started exporting in the 1970s, but since the 1990s, we have been putting more effort into international markets. Although the production line is the same, we take due care to meet the specificities of the products' destination markets. 

As we are specialists in neonatology, we seek to focus commercial efforts on supplying markets with high birth rates, such as the majority of the Middle East, Asia, Latin America, and Africa. 

EF: Could you elaborate on the Brazilian market? 

RM: Brazil is the largest market in Latin America, and we hold a good market share. However, the size of the beds in neonatology is decreasing. We work in both the public and private sectors, with the latter being our biggest business because of their faster technology adoption. In some parts of the public sector, there is a lack of technology since the hospitals are obliged to buy at the lowest nominal price. 

Our big market share results from the products that ease difficult moments for babies and support their lives properly. Our philosophy is to have robust, easy-to-be-used, easy-to-maintain, and easy-to-clean products. 

The preference for our brands stems from the comprehensive range of products and services we offer, which means supplying good and smart solutions. Alongside our products, we provide our customers with extensive training and post-sale support. 

Our products have been used successfully by customers for a long time. Moreover, our exceptional distributor network undergoes rigorous training for the external and internal markets and receives constant supervision from us. Usually, we access the hospital through the distributors. We have forged partnerships with our distributors and established mandatory contracts outlining the implementation process, which has proven highly successful. In both our internal and external markets, our success lies in the exceptional follow-up services we provide. Our winning formula combines great after-sales support with a high-quality product. 

EF: Could you tell us more about the field of neonatology and the products you produce?  

RM: Usually, companies make products for adults and dedicate a small portion of their portfolio to neonates, but in our case, it is devoted almost 100% to infants. For mothers giving birth, we developed a special bed for labor delivery, but our main focus is still on the babies. 

We protect infants during their ICU stay and know that the right resources can decrease infant mortality rates. 

Governments, societies, and corporations need to actively seek solutions to address the lack of adequate post-birth support infrastructure in numerous locations. This issue can be readily identified, localized, and tackled. For instance, it is crucial to provide local training for professionals in baby resuscitation techniques and ensure the availability of essential infrastructure, devices, and medications for newborns in their critical first moments of life. While urban areas may have access to advanced technology and devices, many remote regions in Brazil lack even the most basic equipment and infrastructure necessary for proper care. 

FANEM is proud of bringing many solutions to the market for the population´s benefit. Our training and devices reduce newborn mortality and improve the patient experience journey for mothers and babies in the ICU. Technology must be more accessible to all people. One of our priority goals is to have robust and durable products available to many more people. 

EF: FANEM will celebrate its 100th anniversary as a family-owned company next year. What are you most proud of achieving over the last century? What are the key milestones you want to celebrate with your team?  

RM: FANEM is a family-owned company success story that has exported its solutions to more than 140 countries. Our primary focus is to maintain a strong market presence by investing in national and international certifications to ensure the quality of our products. We are dedicated to staying at the forefront of technological advancements, striving to keep pace with larger organizations. Our employees take pride in their work, sharing a common purpose and understanding the significance of their contributions. Being part of FANEM instills a deep sense of pride, particularly in our sector, where we can save and improve lives. As we prepare for modernization and new governance, we recognize the importance of equipping our company with the necessary skills and embracing technology and effective leadership. 

In the early 20th century, scientists were driven by the possibilities of electricity, and FANEM successfully developed numerous electric-powered products for treating diseases and laboratory purposes. However, the current landscape is vastly different, with rapid changes and advancements occurring at an unprecedented pace, involving more different specialties. 

We must focus on new technologies, communication, artificial intelligence, and building new skill sets for the future. 

June 2023