We continued to serve our customers with top-notch after-sales service and it still remains one of our key differentiators in the markets that we serve
Q1. Congratulations for an excellent 2019, Please let us know your key achievements in 2019?
2019 on the business front was a roller coaster ride. The first six months were strong however the second phase of the year saw some headwinds owing to the contraction of India’s GDP and overall gloom in the economy. I am glad that we were able to perform well even in these turbulent times.
For us, 2019, was about bringing inefficiencies and cutting down on redundancies in our system.
The intent has been to ensure every process at Midmark India is designed such that it perfectly fits our long term vision. Midmark India has been focused on improving our bottom line by undertaking cost optimization initiatives, and at the end of the day, I am pleased by the contribution made by our leadership team towards their respective divisions.
Internationally, in 2019, we have been able to open our markets to four new countries and now have a presence across 31 countries. We also participated in International tradeshows such as Arab Health 2019 in Dubai, Africa Health in Johannesburg, FIME 2019 in the United States & Medipharm Expo in Vietnam. We, at Midmark India, believe that Innovation is the only way to win and being the leaders in our industry we consider it our responsibility to take the industry forward through bringing in revolutionary products. In 2019, we launched our first-ever Hospital bed and stretcher with a column-based architecture. I am very proud of the work that our Innovation & Engineering team has done on the product portfolio aspect and currently, our product portfolio is robust and unmatched by any other competitor.
Happy Customers are your ‘Best Sales Team’, and even in 2019, we continued to serve our customers with top-notch after-sales service and it still remains one of our key differentiators in the markets that we serve.
For me personally, I was humbled to be a recipient of the ‘Outstanding 50 Asian Americans in Business Award’ by The Asian American Business Development Center, Inc. and was also conferred with the ‘Global Achievement Award’ by the Eller School of Business at The University of Arizona. A leader is only as good as his team and hence I attribute these achievements to the extensive support from my team at Midmark India.
Q2. Please share a few disappointments in 2019?
I think one of the major disappointments, which I believe every organization would agree, was the slowdown in the economy that critically impacted the revenue growths. India Inc. has suffered extensively due to the lower GDP growths. In fact, recently I read on one of the investment websites that over the last four years, India Inc.’s PAT has grown at an anemic rate of 1.6 percent that is much lower than the inflation rate. 2019 further impacted the industry performance and it was yet another year of consolidation for most business houses triggered by a series of regulatory events in the last couple of years. The impact of economic slowdown was more felt in the Q4 with a shrinking pipeline due to delayed buying decisions by the customers and slipping project timelines. Increasingly customers are seeking value through profound price discoveries and, at times, turning brand agnostic. The slowdown impact was also felt on recovering our dues.
Another area where we did well but could have done even better is exports. Though we were able to penetrate many new markets and open up new touchpoints across the globe, I think we could have done even better on the export aspect.
The low volume of procurements done through the Government e-marketplace (GeM) was also a bit disappointing for us. GeM portal is highly transparent and also helps in tracking, monitoring and realizing our monies fairly quickly from the buyers. We expected higher movement on the portal and the slow adoption by the state governments was a bit disappointing.
Q3. Key challenges to overcome in 2020?
Midmark India is the leading manufacturer and supplier of patient care & patient positioning equipment in India, having the most in-depth sales and service network with a legacy of 68 years of customer centricity and product quality of global standards. This confirms customers’ faith in our brand. However, the competitive landscape in our industry is changing constantly and, the competition has grown intensely. We have taken this challenge head-on and we continue to build our efficiencies and come up with innovative products to maintain our pole position in this market.
Another challenge for us is the regulatory requirement. Currently, the regulations do not provide any leverage to the manufacturers who manufacture in India over firms that import the products. This allows importers further advantages on the price front and counter-impacts the government’s efforts to promote ‘Make in India’. Competing against these imported products remains a challenge as well.
In our industry, the consumers are constantly evolving and the expectation is to keep innovating and coming up with new design and aesthetics along with the infusion of digital technology. We are making constant efforts on this front and reducing the turnaround time for novel ideas to make it to the market is something that we intend to address in 2020.
Lastly, timely collection from the public sector is a bit of a challenge and if improved, can help the entire industry to improve its CAPEX cycles.
Q4. Way Forward for 2020?
According to the industry leaders, even with the current turbulence, the long-term outlook for the healthcare sector remains positive. It is also expected that the Government should take measures to boost its healthcare spending. Ayushman Bharat is a potentially game-changing scheme for Indian healthcare; however, the government and private hospitals have to reach a common ground if it is to turn successful. The Crisil study covering 41 leading domestic hospital firms revealed that the bed additions in tier II cities would be higher in the future, resulting in the better materialization of latent demand and adoption of Ayushman Bharat schemes. Crisil expects 60-70 percent of bed additions to come up in tier-II locations in the next 2-3 fiscals.
For us, the targets for 2020 will be a challenging one, and penetrating into Tier 2, 3 & 4 cities remains our essential objective. Looking at the growth prospects there, my belief in our strategy of focusing on the lower-tier towns will not only allow us to discover new markets and build income but shall also benefit us to sustain our leadership position in the hospital furniture space.
In our endeavor to build quality and market-leading products, we will continue to employ advanced technology and best manufacturing practices that meet customers’ needs for more efficient and effective patient care. Our way forward in 2020 is to deliver designs that are durable and more aesthetically pleasing for the customers. Introduction of digi-tech into the hospital furniture to make them smarter is the next frontier and we are well-positioned to capitalize on it. Our teams are working on groundbreaking ideas that are intended to deliver out of the box solutions to further enhance the patient and caregiver experience.
We are focused on becoming the preferred partners for medical furniture supply for all national and regional hospitals across India as well as several international hospitals in Asia and Africa. Export is one of our most important objectives for 2020 and we working diligently to become the hub for the supply of medical furniture across the globe.
On the management front, creating a meritocratic culture is another focus area that we at Midmark India are committed to and all our efforts will always be to ensure that the best performers are rewarded. We have entered 2020 with the same resolve!
Q5. Message for Healthcare Industry?
I think there are broadly two things that I feel the Healthcare Industry needs to work towards in 2020. First is focusing on primary healthcare. Even today the gamut of both private and government insurance schemes covers only secondary and tertiary care. However, the majority of the out of pocket expenditures are in the primary care space. High cost at the primary care bleeds the common man and pushes a lot of people in poverty. If we are able to get the primary care network rationally under the insurance schemes it will be a big game-changer.
Second, I think the entire Healthcare industry should now rally behind developing Electronic Health Records and work on inculcating data intelligence into their working. Adopting the latest technology and using data mining and artificial intelligence in healthcare will help us achieve a higher level of efficiency and will work as a catalyst in delivering the best healthcare experience to everyone. With the help of data analysis and AI, we can identify key areas to focus and spread awareness among the masses which can help us reduce the increasing lifestyle diseases.
The focus of the entire healthcare industry in 2020 collectively should be to keep the patients out of the hospital as much as possible and these two initiatives will be a step in that direction!