TBY talks to two industry heads on the operating environment and demand trends.
What is the history of your presence in the region and the significance of Dubai in terms of your regional operations?
WACLAW LUKOWICZ Siemens has been present in Dubai for over 40 years. Our presence here is geared toward providing better healthcare services to the local population, and this is in line with Siemens Healthcare’s strategy. We have been here for a long time, and have a strong commitment to the region. Dubai is an important market for us, as it is a regional hub and serves as our regional headquarters, enabling us to provide a broad range of healthcare solutions catering to the needs of the neighboring countries, including offerings for the high- to low-end markets.
DR MICHAEL HEUER We have been active in the Middle East for many years. Via our partners and distributors, we take care of distribution, customer support, and logistics across the region. The organization that supports these distributors across the world is located in Mannheim, and the marketing support, service support, trainers, and applications are directed from there. The extremely good experience we have had with the development of our business in the Middle East region led us in 2011 to change the setup of how we distribute our products here, and how we can become a company that is closer to its distribution partners and customers in the region. We have therefore decided to open an office and management center in Dubai. This center will take over marketing responsibilities, service, support, training, logistics, and quality management, as well as all other necessary activities to be closer to our customers in the region.
What major trends have you seen in terms of demand for your projects and services?
WL We cater to a very diverse market in the region, ranging from very developed markets in various parts of the Middle East, where residents have access to the best and latest in medical technology, to less developed markets such as in South Asia which include countries such as Afghanistan and Pakistan, where the doctor to population ratio still needs to be determined. In places such as Dubai, which is at the forefront of technological advancements, we see a growing need for increasing accessibility to healthcare, improving coverage, and disease prevention. A young population still exists, and the developed world topics which many European countries and Japan are facing have yet to surface. However, there are specific diseases, such as diabetes, which are more prevalent. Siemens is driving the trend for prevention, and we aim to focus on early detection.
MH The strongest demand is for fully automatic central clinical laboratories. What many are looking for are platforms that cover the broadest possible parameter spectrum, in order to consolidate the workload of many different instruments into one central laboratory. We are very pleased with the outcome. We also see that the medical and healthcare systems in hospitals are becoming increasingly interested in adopting point-of-care solutions in order to be closer to their patients.
How has the geopolitical situation in the area affected your operations?
WL We have seen a degree of instability in the political situation. However, the UAE has enjoyed clear, absolute stability. I’m very proud of our team because they have continued to service the equipment located in tumultuous areas, demonstrating how being locally-based benefits our customers. Throughout the revolution in Egypt, our teams have worked to support medical facilities. Basic service is needed for the equipment, and if we are to achieve excellence and patient focus, we had to continue our operations. There has been a small amount of hesitance in the private sector, but growth has still been possible.
How large will your new base in Jebel Ali be?
MH By 2013 we will have approximately 50 people working in different areas: marketing, marketing support, quality management, safety, training, technical services, IT, and finance. We believe that this is just the beginning because the potential here is great, and customers expect their suppliers to offer them the latest products. There is no compromise here on quality. There are no differences between what we offer in the Middle East and what we offer in the US, Japan, and Western Europe. Customers want to build their own solutions now. The customer indicates his improvement needs, and we discuss together the specifications of the new clinical laboratory, and we build it, first as a concept, then in reality. We call it “Dreamlab.” In Abu Dhabi we are currently building one of the largest highly-automated laboratories in the whole region. It is a top-of-the-line laboratory that can be showcased globally.
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