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The ideal match

Marcel turned out to be the ideal match for the MEG for a couple of reasons. “I really know how things works in international wholesale. Of course, trade in flowers and plants is different from medicine and medical supplies. But they have a lot in common. For example, they are both products to which special quality and safety requirements apply. I know those laws and regulations well.” Marcel is also at home in trade with African countries. “The funny thing is that flowers and plants are mainly produced in Africa and sold in Western Europe and Asia. That is exactly the other way round for the MEG.”

Marcel is able to oversee all disciplines in a company and connect them with each other. That is important. The MEG particularly wants to take the overall service provision to a higher level structurally, says Marcel. “Due to the rapid growth of our company in recent years, the reliability of supply, for example, was under pressure. That doesn’t suit us and has also cost us market share. Don’t get me wrong: we are a very healthy company with satisfied customers, but we can certainly improve our performance even more in a number of areas.”

“We improve predictability throughout the whole chain”

Thus, several improvements have already been made. One of these is supplier management. “The sooner our suppliers inform us about deliveries and any deviations, the sooner we can anticipate them. This is how we work hard to improve predictability throughout our entire chain.” At the MEG itself, processes have also been optimized and arranged differently. “We have implemented tools that make our work more efficient, such as the ERP package Navision, and we will be implementing a CRM system in the coming months. Teams have been strengthened and reorganized. And we are investigating how logistics can be more efficient.”

Growing towards a turnover of 100 million

The improved performance must result in greater customer confidence and turnover. The goal: a revenue growth to at least 100 million euros. This is something the MEG wants to achieve by, inter alia, generating revenue from existing customers. Marcel: “We want to know what customers need sooner. So that we can respond to them faster than our competitors.” For some customers, the MEG is already quite successful in this. “For donor The Global Fund we advise local people to improve the quality assurance of their production facilities,” says Marcel. “We provide the equipment and products, but also the knowledge. This is how we distinguish ourselves. And we are responding to the changing course of donors who want to make countries more self-sufficient.”

“Donors are increasingly targeting diseases of affluence”

Another example is the supply of oncological products. “Donors are increasingly targeting increasing diseases of affluence, such as cardiovascular disease and cancer,” explains Marcel. The MEG has therefore expanded its range by, for example, cytostatics: drugs for chemotherapy. “Because these are toxic substances that fall under the ADR guidelines, we have also adjusted our logistics. As a result, we have been able to deliver the first orders. And we are ahead of some competitors.”

Opening local offices

The MEG also invests even more in building relationships with local authorities. “We see that NGOs are decentralizing. They want to give the authorities in the countries themselves more control over the funds. And the authorities will co-finance more,” knows Marcel. To claim this money, the MEG must know the decision makers well. “That’s why we have to be permanently present in the countries. For example, by working together with an agent or opening a local office.” Finally, Marcel sees potential for growth with new customers, such as NGOs with which the MEG is not yet cooperating. “It is important that we identify, approach and show these parties what we have to offer.”

The growth strategy is challenging in a number of areas, the CEO knows. “The market is changing at lightning speed. So we have to have a good knowledge of what our customers want.” The growing competition is also a risk. “There are suppliers who do business directly with our customers. And wholesalers who are expanding their range.” Furthermore, transparency in the chain is increasing. “The cost price to customers becomes more transparent, which brings about pressure on prices.”

Four business propositions

The ability to distinguish oneself has therefore become even more important. That is why the MEG has developed four business propositions. These solutions mesh seamlessly with the changing demand from customers and distinguish the MEG from competitors: project wholesale, providing kits, local sourcing and turnkey projects.

‘We are a total supplier for our customers’

Project wholesale has traditionally been the core business of the MEG. “We are and remain a total supplier. We are constantly adapting our range to the wishes of customers.” In doing that, the WHO Model List of Essential Medicines is the most important starting position. With medical kits such as the IEHK or cholera kits, the MEG has developed itself to become the market leader within this segment. “Through long term agreements (LTAs) we have been supplying dozens of types of kits to, inter alia, the WHO and UNFPA for years,” Marcel says proudly.

Local sourcing

A relatively new solution is local sourcing. This means that the MEG purchases from local producers. Marcel: “By doing this we are responding to the trend of the donors wanting to stimulate local self-reliance. The advantage of local producers is that they know the authorities better or sometimes have a better distribution network. So we try to tie local suppliers exclusively to us.” Thanks to local sourcing, the MEG has already won a number of tenders. The quality of the suppliers and products is checked and guaranteed by the MEG at the request of customers. “The advantage for these suppliers is that they get access to new markets as a certified supplier.”

With turnkey projects, the MEG wants to take complete responsibility for the customers’ needs. “Take hospitals or laboratories as an example. We supply products there and we take care of the installation of equipment. We also provide user training to the medical staff. And we remain involved afterwards for maintenance and service of equipment.” The 80 neonatal intensive care units (NICU) in Ethiopia for UNICEF are an example of such turnkey projects.

Preconditions

In the short year since Marcel has been in charge, first and foremost the preconditions for the growth strategy have been set up. “We’ve worked mainly on the inside of the company. Put people in the right places, strengthened and reorganized teams, shared points for improvement and successes,” Marcel sums it up.

He sees it as his task to clearly communicate the strategy and its progress. And to motivate and inspire his team. “In so doing, the following applies: what you do is more important than what you say. In everything we do we have to keep asking ourselves: what does this mean for the customer? Because offering added value for the customer; that’s what it’s all about.”

Questions? Please ask them

Medical Export Group