Interview: Challenges for Medical Equipment Businesses in Emerging Markets

The Manufacturer Chief (Deepak Gala) & Blogger (I) had a conversation about the Medical Equipment Business. He spoke about the changes, challenges, and sales. Also, technology and production as an age of emerging market growth.

Delta Medical Corporation

Delta Medical Corporation is a company, which manufactures medical machinery for surgeons and physiotherapists. The company owns a factory for production purposes, which handles the manufacture of medical machines. Deepak Gala is the owner of the company.

KR: All business owners start their proprietorship. But they’ve got a personal story before that. Could you tell me a little on how the company came up? Or about the idea of getting into this business?

DG: Before entering this business, I specialized in another area. It was after many days of thinking, which began Delta Medical Corporation in 1983. It began as a mean for all hospitals to treat their patients on time.

KR: What about DELTA? I mean, the reason for the name?

DG: D for DEEPAK! D for DELTA! Isn’t that great? (LOL)

KR: That’s actually funny. Could you tell me about the company’s work? And challenges faced?

DG: Yes! Delta Medical Corporation (DMC) makes and sells machines to hospitals and surgeons. We rent them to clinics. Other than that, there are dealers, who we communicate with and take orders from. These are mostly for small components, which are needed for our machines. They either get them imported or manufactured.

KR: So communication is a challenge here?

DG: No! Communication is not a challenge here. However, convincing a customer is the challenge here. For every business in town. It’s more about loyalty, which we acquire after giving a demo of our machines.

KR: Who are the participants or employees?

DG: Delta Medical Corporation has assistants, technicians, and vendors. The technicians do the most important work of running around for repairs and service. The technicians move from factory to hospitals and clinics. There is also a sales team. Talking to dealers and vendors, tie ups take place here.

KR: What about advancement? Are you working on anything?

DG: The medical equipment industry or medical manufacturing industry is expected to grow by leaps and bounds owing to the rising aging population, increasing health concerns, and sky-rocketing health care costs. As a result, medical device manufacturers are undertaking new product development projects at breakneck speed. Especially in the emerging markets such as China and India. However, a key point to remember here is that the medical equipment manufacturing companies would require a proper execution strategy. And to address the needs and concerns of the key stakeholders in the market. At the moment, Delta Medical Corporation has developed the advance print circuit board through which our machines work. In fact, the machines we make will be supplied to vets soon.

KR: What about budgets in emerging markets?

DG: In the emerging markets, medical devices and surgical equipment are often looked down as cost drivers for limited budget hospitals, although they offer long-term cost saving opportunities, create effective healthcare practices and offer improved patient outcomes. Despite the trends and developments, medical equipment companies should take the necessary measures to overcome the challenges pertaining to product quality, regulatory compliance, and data security among several others.

KR: Wow! That’s interesting. I never really thought that medical companies could do that. I always thought it would be a different category.

DG: I know. I’ve seen companies, who are masters in this field. But talking about machines, be it for an animal or man, the doctors always prefer them from outside India. It is because the machines are advanced. My machines may not be as good looking as theirs. But the same results are given. In fact, the foreign machines stop working; the call centres charge such a price, where listening to it the doctor turns into a patient. It is only then; the machine is brought to up for repairs to us. It is the next machine needed that turns into a power of purchase with most of the doctors and clinics. But there is no fuss. We all have a certain amount that can be paid.

KR: What about sales? Is there a certain month or season to increase sales?

DG: No! We don’t do such things in the medical business. But there are customers, who end up making a price for one machine. However, the foreign companies attract them. But still, the customers, who are dealers and doctors. The sales are not up to the mark. But OK!

Plus, the prices, they don’t change that often. But it does depend on the rates at which we get the materials. Furthermore, the addition of extra features creates a rise in price. For a machine sent to a doctor outside Mumbai. It is (payment) 100 per cent transfer in advance. But it is 50 per cent transfer for a doctor or dealer in Mumbai.

KR: What about new dealers and deadlines? What do you do?

DG: New dealers, they are new in the market for us and have to develop trust and loyalty. That gets us to take a 100 per cent transfer for about a year. The dealer succeeds. We know that the payment will be on time. Deadlines on the other hand, there’s never really a day, where we’ve missed. DMC has always delivered fast and has done well. I make the employees work over time sometimes. I received an order for 400 machines. But the time frame structured delivery, in one month. It (the order) was completed. In fact, the days we had to spare were 8 and the client was satisfied. It gets difficult. But it is how you manage it.

KR: Let’s talk about a product in store?

DG: One of the products that’s taken the most is the Combinotherapy Unit. It’s like the world’s best selling book for me. The Combinotherapy Unit (IFT+TENS+MS+Russian Current) – It’s one machine that’s got a combination of four most important currents in Physiotherapy, which is IFT, TENS, MS and Russian Current.

Combinotherapy Unit

KR: Tell me a little bit about the working environment at DMC?

DG: Delta Medical Corporation, this is one company which has always had a good working environment. Our workers are not treated as workers. But as family members, who’ve got the right to talk to us about whatever required. But there’s no fooling during work. Losing a client is not allowed. But suggestions, we keep ourselves open to a lot of them.

KR: What about the company’s future?

DG: Yes, there is a future here. In fact, taking the company into the overseas market turns out to be our mission. Our machines have been exported to African Countries. It is the US and Europe, where we wish to make our mark on.

KR: How do you plan to make it happen for these 2 countries?

DG: United States, it requires US FDA. Only then, they accept the machines. The European countries, they need EU CE. For this, time and funds are needed. It certainly will help me accomplish these goals.

KR: Is there a message for the public?

DG: Change the Plan. Not the Goal.

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