Medux is the umbrella name for a cluster of companies that supply healthcare and rehabilitation aids and support services to healthcare insurers, facilities, professionals and (local) governments. With an eye on the growing number of elderly people and their rising life expectancy, this NPM participation is in the process of reinventing itself, according to CEO Jop Pollmann and CCO René Martens. ‘We are leading the market, but we can lead it even better.’
Medux has been growing rapidly for years: last year by about 8%, with revenues rising to 400 million euros. Why consider a strategic reorientation?
Martens: “You are right that we have had our hands full simply managing the organic growth. But when Jop came in as the new CEO, it was a natural moment to take a fresh look at the future. This process has led us to redefine our ‘why’.” Pollmann: “We determined together that our market is going to double in volume over the next fifteen years. The combination of an aging population and a rising life expectancy will result in a society with a far larger group of elderly people, and hence also more people who will need healthcare aids of various types. Of course, that is an opportunity for us. But there is another side to this, because the labour market is tightening. Simply scaling up our current business model – doing more by hiring more people – is not an option. So we set ourselves the goal of working smarter instead, by investing more than before in digitalisation. This strategy has internal ramifications, such as digitalising our logistics, route planning, scheduling and various product categories. But we also want to become more digitally connected to our clients, through better customer portals, omnichannel service delivery, and digital invoicing for municipalities and healthcare insurers. Martens: “I might add that we are also adding a digital component to our medical equipment itself, allowing it to be connected to the internet of things. Soon, we will know exactly what items are stored where in a nursing home, and we will be able to monitor the technical maintenance status of mobility scooters from afar. That does not just improve the user experience of our products, but will also allow us to save costs.”
Will that require negotiating with your suppliers?
Pollmann: “In general, many of these solutions are already available on the market. Our main challenge is that our product range encompasses a vast range of medical equipment made by many, many suppliers. A certain degree of standardisation in the market would benefit us. To make that happen, we will have to assert our role as a market leader, in the literal sense. We may have been the market leader, in terms of market share, for some time. But we can be better leaders for the market. That is what we want to focus on now. It also means that we will be thinking along with suppliers throughout the research and development phase of their new products. Instead of buying something ready-made out of the catalogue, we want to try and influence the entire life cycle of the products.”