Going evermore global

Posted by: on Aug 5, 2014 | No Comments

This summer has so far been absolutely wonderful in Sweden. I have never experienced so many sunny, warm days in my life (at least from what I remember). Day temperatures of 30 degrees or even more; night time temperatures of 20 degrees or more. Apparently a ‘tropical’ night is defined as a night when temperatures do not fall below 20 degrees, and there have been quite a few of these nights this year in Sweden.

As many of you know, I am now based in Sweden and spend a large part of my time commuting to the corporate office in Munich or beyond. My wife and daughter wanted to move back to Sweden again after five years in Munich. My daughter wanted to go to a ‘normal’ Swedish school in the area where we live just outside Gothenburg. My wife wanted to get closer to her parents who are getting older and wanted to see their only child on a more regular basis. Therefore we moved back last summer to Gothenburg. I do believe there was initial angst amongst the Diaverum people in the Munich corporate office that I would not spend much time in Munich anymore but I believe I have proven people wrong. But as the company continues to grow and enters new markets, there is more need for me to be travelling around the world. This means spending less time in Munich (and in Sweden).

We are growing very fast as a company. By the end of this year we will be 9000 employees and present in 20 or 21 countries. As far as I know, there is no other healthcare service provider in the world with a more global direct presence than Diaverum. I obviously do not include product manufacturers in this statement, only 100% service only providers. Renal care is a rather standardised segment within healthcare and therefore easier to globalise than, for example, acute care. A renal patient has the same overall needs whether he is a patient in Sweden, UK, Russia or Uruguay. Therefore there are clear economies of scale and scope when entering new markets.

One of the challenges when entering a new market is to find the right people to recruit (management and clinic staff). Typically we enter a new market by acquiring one clinic or a few clinics belonging to a private owner. Finding an excellent Country Manager or Finance Director for a small business is naturally a challenge. Excellent people do typically already have a job and they are seldom prepared to move to a smaller company or business. So what we need to offer is the international opportunities and growth opportunities in general which we can offer as a company. As we grow in a country we increasingly attract top talent. In a few instances we have acquired larger businesses and then it is of course much easier to attract top talent from early on.

Another solution to offset the challenge of attracting top talent in the beginning of a market entry is to use our own managers from another country or countries to spend a certain amount of time in the new country. This would secure that integration of new clinics, recruitment of staff, introduction of medical and financial procedures are successfully implemented.

Every year we enter one new market (at least) and I find it absolutely fascinating and a great learning experience to acquire businesses in countries where there is a great need to grow renal capacity and improve the quality of care of the patients. There are enormous differences between good and bad providers and the impact this has on the patients is also huge.

Renal patients are chronic patients. A renal patient is a renal patient for life. There is no cure, no way back. What one can do is to help the patient to choose the very best treatment therapy (in-centre dialysis or home dialysis) and possibly delay the entry in dialysis whenever we can work preventively with patients who have damaged kidneys but where the kidney is still functioning to a certain degree.

This is what we do at Diaverum — and will continue to do evermore globally.

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Foto på Dag Andersson